Dominant India brought about their A game at a batsman friendly Dharamshala pitch to comprehensively beat New Zealand and go 1-0 up in the 5 match series. Winning the toss, MS Dhoni, back in action after 47 days, chose to put New Zealand in on a pitch “that was a road” according to Sunil Gavaskar.
His bowlers were on point from the start of the innings, and each bowler chipped in with useful contributions to dismiss New Zealand for 190 inside 44 overs. Chase master Virat Kohli, who has been in sensational form since forever, took it upon himself to take India home. India ended up winning the match convincingly, with just under 17 overs and 6 wickets to spare.
Earlier, Umesh Yadav, who was making a comeback to the limited overs squad, was highly impressive with the new ball and had the New Zealand batsmen in a tangle generating swing and bounce, while hitting the corridor of uncertainty. He accounted for New Zealand’s best batsmen Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor off a golden duck.
Hardik Pandya was handed the new ball by MS Dhoni, and the debutant repaid the faith, being the pick of the bowlers- accounting for 3 Kiwi batsman. Pandya generated impressive pace- early 140s during the majority of his 7 over spell and was also successful in rattling the batsmen early on from his accuracy.
He had Martin Guptill nicked behind and beat Luke Ronchi and Corey Anderson for pace. New Zealand further slumped to 65-7 after part timer Kedar Jadhav picked wickets off consecutive deliveries. As expected, the Kiwis found it very difficult to fight back.
Tom Latham, New Zealand’s highest run scorer in the test series, became the first Kiwi opener to carry his bat in an ODI in his unconquered innings of 79 in which he looked in total control throughout, especially during the tough periods early on where he caressed both the Indian new ball bowlers effortlessly for boundaries while they made inroads at the other end.
Unfortunately, he only found able support in Tim Southee, New Zealand’s premier fast bowler and No.10 batsman, who blazed his way to an aggressive 55. The duo added 69 runs for the penultimate wicket, giving New Zealand’s final score a hint of respectability. Amit Mishra was the chief destroyer of the lower order, scalping 3 victims for 49.
In reply, India were never really under pressure, despite the early loss of Rohit Sharma. Kohli came in assured at the crease, and took complete control of the proceedings, with his supreme timing and placement. He shared useful stands with Manish Pandey, and MS Dhoni, who looked comfortable in his innings of 21 before he was unfortunately run out. Kohli played some delectable shots en route his unbeaten 85, and ended the game with a stylish six, just like some of his cover drives.
A confident Indian team now heads to Delhi for the second ODI scheduled on 20th October, and the Kiwis have but a few days to iron out their flaws and chinks in the line-up. This victory would be extremely satisfying for the Indians, as the bowling line up, without Ashwin, Jadeja and Shami, won them the game.
Hardik Pandya was untested in the longer format and didn’t have particularly impressive domestic numbers, while Umesh Yadav was coming back to the squad. India will further be bolstered as the series progresses with the return of stalwarts like Suresh Raina, Ashwin, Jadeja and Mohammad Shami.
Brief Scores- New Zealand- 190 all out in 43.5 overs (Latham 79*, Southee 55, H Pandya 3-31, A Mishra 3-49, Yadav 2-31) lost to India 191-4 in 33.1 overs (Kohli 85*, Rahane 33, Neesham 1-40, Sodhi 1-34) by 6 wickets.