Fresh from Test and ODI series wins in Australia, India went 1-0 up in the five-match one-day series against New Zealand, thrashing the hosts by eight wickets in Napier on Wednesday.
Chasing a revised target of 156 to win after sun stopped play for a while, the Indian cricket team made the necessary runs with 14.1 overs to spare.
Shikhar Dhawan was in fine form for India, top-scoring with 75 from 103 balls. He put together a 41 run stand with opening partner Rohit Sharma before stitching together a 91-run stand with skipper Virat Kohli.
Dhawan didn’t need to be at his attacking best given the total at hand but his stay at the crease consisted of six boundaries and his return to form after some average showings in Australia will be welcome news for the team management.
But while it was the southpaw who shone with the bat, the win was set up by India’s bowlers, with Mohammad Shami (3-19) and Kuldeep Yadav (4-39) shining brightest.
It was Shami who provided India with a brilliant start as he got rid of both openers for just 18 runs – with the wicket of Colin Munro a particularly excellent one as he got one to swing back in and rattle the top of middle stump.
Shami also came back in his second spell to trap Mitchell Santner and his spell played a key part in setting up India’s first ODI win in New Zealand in over a decade.
Kuldeep was also in fine fettle and it was the Chinaman bowler who removed opposition skipper Kane Williamson, who was the only batsman who showed some fight even as wickets kept tumbling at the other end.
Kuldeep was also top notch in the field. In the 24th over of the innings, Henry Nicholls looked to flick Kedhar Jadhav towards midwicket but Kuldeep took a wonderful diving catch to his right.
Kuldeep’s spin partner Yuzvendra Chahal also had his moment in the field earlier. He sent Ross Taylor back to the pavilion with a sharp caught and bowled, a dismissal that eventually saw the hosts collapse for a paltry 157.
Chahal also ended the match with two wickets of his own, meaning it was another good day for the spin duo that India will no doubt rely on heavily in the World Cup.
The teams move to Mount Maunganui for the second match on Saturday (January 26).