Shreyas Iyer’s first international century turned out to be in a losing cause as New Zealand defeated India by four wickets in the first One-Day International in Hamilton on Wednesday, finishing the high-scoring match at 348/4.
The hosts completed their highest successful run-chase* with 11 balls to spare.
Veteran batsman Ross Taylor scored an unbeaten century as the Black Caps notched their first victory against Virat Kohli’s India on this current tour, after suffering a 5-0 whitewash in the Twenty20 International series.
India’s bowling card:
Jasprit Bumrah: 10-1-53-0
Mohammed Shami: 9.1-0-63-1
Shardul Thakur: 9-0-80-1
Ravindra Jadeja: 10-0-64-0
Kuldeep Yadav: 10-0-84-2
Indian bowlers, apart from Jasprit Bumrah, came for some severe treatment from Taylor (109* off 84 balls) and New Zealand’s stand-in captain Tom Latham (69 off 48 balls). The New Zealand batsmen were brilliant but it is also worth noting that the Indian bowlers conceded as many 29 extras in the match: 24 wides, 4 leg-byes and one no-ball. It was going to be hard to defend any total with such a performance.
The Kiwis were quite comfortable in their chase but lost wickets Latham, James Neesham (9) and Colin de Grandhomme (1) when they were close to the target. Taylor ensured that the host do not snatch yet another defeat from a strong position.
Earlier, Iyer (103 off 107 balls) scored his maiden ODI century, while KL Rahul (88 not out) and skipper Virat Kohli (51) made fine fifties in the first match of the three-game series.
Asked to bat first, India posted a mammoth 347/4 but it did not prove enough against a Taylor-inspired New Zealand side.
Later, the tourists’ bowling attack failed to prevent a match-turning innings from Taylor, who scored a 73-ball century, his 21st in ODIs. He was supported well by Latham and Henry Nicholls’ hard-fought 78, although three late wickets gave India hope of rescuing the match.
“It’s been a long time between drinks,” said Latham, whose side suffered a 3-0 Test series defeat in Australia before the T20 drubbing on home soil.
“It’s nice to get over the line and we managed to keep our composure at the end and get there.”
Kohli was gracious in defeat, saying India produced a “decent” performance that was not quite good enough on the day.
“You have to say that the opposition played better than us because they were more intense,” he said.
Iyer, Rahul’s knocks go in vain
New Zealand started their chase well, reaching 147/2 after 25 overs as Taylor and Nicholls developed a promising partnership.
It took a piece of fielding brilliance from Kohli to break it with India’s skipper swooping on a stay ball and tossing it underarm with skill in mid-air to run-out a diving Nicholls.
But Taylor continued his assault with Latham to take New Zealand to 292 for three with 10 overs remaining and the 35-year-old remained at the crease to hit the winning run.
While Iyer’s 103 from 107 balls was the highlight of India’s innings, debutant opening batsmen Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw also performed solidly, bring up an opening partnership of 50.
Iyer rode his luck at times – dropped on nine and 83 – but made the most of it while battling pain on his elbow.
The ever-reliable Kohli cruised to his 58th ODI half-century in a 102-run partnership with Iyer that ended when spinner Ish Sodhi clean bowled him on 51 with a deceptively flighted ball.
It was a rare highlight for the New Zealand bowlers, whose inaccuracy proved expensive on the small ground.
Tim Southee was the best performer with two wickets, but he conceded 8.5 runs an over taking them.
The second ODI will be played at Auckland’s Eden Park on Saturday.
India: 347 for 4 in 50 overs (Shreyas Iyer 103, KL Rahul 88 not out, Virat Kohli 51; Tim Southee 2/85).
New Zealand: 348 for 6 in 48.1 overs. (R Taylor 109 not out, H Nicholls 78; K Yadav 2/84).
*Clarification: New Zealand scored 350 while chasing Australia’s 346 in 2007 and 348 while chasing India’s 347. So, even though they scored more in the match against Australia, the target was higher against India.
(With PTI and AFP inputs)