A large crowd of Hamilton saw a feast of runs as well as a mammoth chase by the hosts. The home team despite going down 0-5 in the T20I series at home, came back strongly and chased down a massive total of 347-run and crossed the victory line in the first ODI. The hosts were tagged as chokers after some poor finishing in the last three T20I, but on this day, Ross Taylor put his experience to a good use and stood like the rock of Gibraltar scoring an unbeaten 109 off 89 balls as blackcaps defeated men in blue by four wickets and took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Two debutants open innings in ODI
Earlier, New Zealand won the toss and invited team India to bat first on the placid wicket of Hamilton which was full of runs as it was written on the wall since the start of the match. The new Indian opening pair Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal stepped on the ground and scored a decent 50 runs partnership. After the departure of both, the debutant openers in quick succession captain Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer steadied the Indian ship with a 102-run partnership.
Iyer’s century goes in vain
After the wicket of Kohli, the man of the moment KL Rahul came to take charge of India’s batting. At present, he is in a tremendous form and has been batting very well. But credit must be given to Shreyas Iyer for playing a mature inning of 103 runs off just 107 balls. It was his maiden ton in ODI. Rahul remained unbeaten at 88 off 64 balls in which he hit six-sixes and three-fours. He batted as if it is the easiest thing to do. His breathtaking strokes not only entertained the crowd rather the fielding side was also enjoying his spectacular shots but the ticking scoreboard had been increasing the heartbeats of the Kiwis. In the end, India set a huge total of 348 runs for the hosts.
Latham plays a cameo
Chasing seven runs per over is like a mountain to climb for a side which was down the barrel. But the hosts accepted the challenge. Both the openers Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls never allowed the Indian bowlers to settle down. They kept the scoreboard ticking and added a valuable 85-run opening partnership. At one stage, New Zealand was reeling on 171 for 3 in the 29th over. Then makeshift captain Tom Latham and Ross Taylor mesmerised the Indian attack and they were scoring runs at will. After the departure of Latham, Taylor kept one end intact and in the end, New Zealand chased down the Indian challenge without any hiccups. Ross Taylor was the architect of the Kiwis victory and rightly adjudged player of the match.
Kohli praises the hosts
After the match, the India skipper Virat Kohli said “An outstanding performance by New Zealand. We thought 348 was good enough, especially after the start we got with the ball. I think Tom’s innings took the game away from us. Ross and Tom were unstoppable in the middle overs. We were decent in the field, we dropped one chance. We need to improve though”.
Latham stresses on partnership
The jubilant New Zealand captain Tom Latham said after the match, “A great performance from the guys. It was nice to keep our composure at the end and get across the line. For us, it was about building partnerships. The total was a little more than what we would have liked to chase. But we managed to get off to a good start and keep wickets in hand”.
Victory keeps Taylor happy
The man who turned the match in New Zealand’s favour was Ross Taylor, he said “ It was nice to get across the line. Restricting them under 350 gave us a chance. We were fortunate with the left-right hand combination and we were able to target the short boundary. Tom came in and took the pressure off me. It was nice to be there at the end after I got out thrice towards the end in the T20 series”.
Team India needs to do some homework. Victory and loss are part and parcel in sports. Kohli and his troops recently bounced back strongly against Australia and other teams at home series. Today was a bad day in the office, cricket fans of India are looking forward to a splendid performance in the remaining two matches from the men in blue.