The Men in Blue started-off their New Zealand series campaign with a comprehensive win, defeating the hosts by 6 wickets in the first T20I of the 5-game series. Skipper Virat Kohli and KL Rahul played a crucial knock to lay the foundations of India's victory. Chasing a target of 204 runs at the Eden Park in Auckland, team India recorded their highest successful overseas chase in the shortest format of the game.
Virat Kohli and KL Rahul added 99 runs off 58 balls for the second wicket. Opener Rohit Sharma, who shined in the last ODI against Australia back at home, failed to create magic in Auckland today. The player was made to walk back to the pavillion with a mere score of 7 runs after he was caught by Ross Taylor on a ball by Mitchell Santner.
However, with the wickets of Virat and Rahul coming down, the hopes of India winning the game too started deteriorating. But, it was Shreyas Iyer who kept the spirit alive and led India's sinking ship to the shore. Scoring 58 off 29 balls, Iyer became the highest run-scorer for India in today's match.
The game started with India winning the toss and opting to bowl considering the pitch's nature of supporting the bowlers more. Australia started off strong with openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro adding 80 runs for the first wicket, scoring 30 off 19 and 59 off 42 balls, respectively. Other players including skipper Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor added big scores to the team's total in order to put up a considerably defendable tally on the scoreboard.
However, as luck may have had it, it was a day for the Men in Blue who ended up winning the game despite all the odds. While Rahul, Virat and Iyer crossed the 40-run mark, Shivam Dube and Manish Pandey had to settle for 13 and 14 runs respectively. In the bowling segment, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shivam Dube and Ravindra Jadeja picked 1-wicket each while Mohammad Shami had to settle for no-wicket.
Weak-fielding by New Zealand
One of the significant reasons behind New Zealand's defeat in the series opener in Auckland can be said as their weak-fielding. While the batting and bowling from the hosts was a power-packed performance, their fielding was a shaky-pillar that led to their fall. Mis-fielding big wickets like that of Virat Kohli cost them a fortune in terms of the match.
Man of the Match
Shreyas Iyer was announced as the Player of the Match for playing a crucial knock of 58 off 29 balls, leading the visitors towards the victory end.
Next Game Details
The next match will be played on January 26 at the Eden Park in Auckland starting at 12:20 PM IST. The hosts will look forward to amending their first match mistakes to come back strong in the upcoming match while team India will look to continue their winning streak.