Ross Taylor’s unbeaten century, skipper Tom Latham and Henry Nicholas’ crucial half centuries help New Zealand outclass India by 4 wickets in the first ODI and take 1-0 lead in the short three-match series. Batting first, Shreyas Iyer (103), KL Rahul (88*) and skipper Virat Kohli’s (51) brilliant innings powered India to a mammoth score of 347, but thanks to brutal knocks from Ross Taylor (109*), Tom Latham (69) and Henry Nicholas (78), New Zealand chased it down comfortably at the end with 11 balls to spare.
Earlier in the day after being put to bat, India’s new young openers Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal made a brisk start as the duo added 50 runs in just eight overs. All-rounder Collin de Grandhomme provided the first breakthrough to Black Caps with Prithvi Shaw's wicket. Mayank too followed Shaw in the next over, putting India on the backseat but skipper Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer took the charge of the reigns and led a 102-run stand.
Kohli was dismissed after making an effortless half century but Shreyas Iyer continued to blaze the Kiwi bowlers at the other side. Iyer, on the way, got to his maiden international century off 101 balls before KL Rahul's onslaught completely changed the complexion of the game. The duo added 136 in no time and Kedhar Jadhav's handy cameo at the end powered India to a magnanimous total of 347.
New Zealand, in reply, got off to a decent start as Guptill and Nicholas kept the asking rate in control. The pair added 85 runs for the first wicket before Guptill got outdone by Shardul Thakur’s bouncer. Tom Blundell too joined Guptill soon after, but a crucial partnership between Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholas steadied the Kiwi ship. But just like in T20Is, India found a way to get back into the game this time through a brilliant run-out from skipper Virat Kohli.
Nicholas' dismissal gave India a sniff, but Taylor led the chase along with stand-in captain Tom Latham and collared Indian spinners in the middle overs to take New Zealand close to the target. However, three quick wickets at the end gave New Zealand a scare, but Taylor and birthday boy Santner held their nerve and sealed the win.
India and New Zealand will now head to Auckland for the second ODI scheduled to be played on February 8th at Eden Park.