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Kohli’s Men in Blue seal eight-wicket victory over Kiwis, take 1-0 lead
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Kohli’s Men in Blue seal eight-wicket victory over Kiwis, take 1-0 lead

Agency News

Napier, Jan 23 : India registered a comfortable win over New Zealand by eight wickets in first One Day International (ODI) of the five-match series here at McLean Park on Wednesday.

After bowling New Zealand out for a paltry total of 157 runs, India chased down the revised target of 156 runs with more than 15 overs to spare.

The match was stopped for 30 minutes due to bad weather and play was reduced to 49 overs. Chasing the target, India started cautiously as the opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma put on 41 runs off 56 balls.

Right-arm fast-medium pacer Doug Bracewell gave the New Zealand their maiden breakthrough of the series as he dismissed Sharma for 11 runs in the 10th over. Captain Virat Kohli replaced Sharma and stitched together a partnership of 91 runs with Dhawan for the second wicket, helping India to get past 100-run mark.

The short ball strategy had finally worked for the Kiwis against Kohli as he fell off a Lockie Ferguson's bouncer for 45 runs. The 33-year-old Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu (13) made sure that India did not lose further wicket.

The visitors were 41 for no loss when they went to the dinner break in pursuit of 158. Earlier in the day, New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat in the opener of the five-match series.

New Zealand got off to worst possible start as Mohammed Shami dismissed both the openers early. Martin Guptill was the first to go for five runs, followed by Colin Munro for eight. New Zealand captain Kane Williamson came out at number three and held one end firmly, while wickets kept falling at the other end. Ross Taylor, who appeared comfortable at the crease, was dismissed by for 24 runs, reducing the host to 52/3 in 14.3 overs.

The Kiwis kept losing wickets at regular intervals and folded for 157 runs in 38 overs. Except for the Kiwi captain, who scored 64 off 81 balls, no batsmen could face the fierce Indian bowling attack.

Williamson was caught by Vijay Shanka off Kuldeep Yadav in 34th over immediately after the drink break. Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav took four wickets for 39 runs in his 10 overs quota while Shami bagged three for 19 runs in his six overs. Yuzvendra Chahal and Kedhar Yadav also chipped in with the ball as they got two and one wickets, respectively.

This was India's first win in New Zealand in 10 years. The last win came in Hamilton back in 2009. Between Hamilton 2009 and Napier 2019, India played in New Zealand in six ODIs and lost five of those. One was tied (2014).UNI