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India cruise to victory and take a 1-0 lead in the ODI series against New Zealand.

India scored 194-4 in 33 overs to chase down New Zealand’s weakA190 and win the first ODIAwith 6 wickets to spare. India’s man of the moment,AVirat Kohli scored an unbeaten 85, whileAdebutant Hardik Pandya took 3-31

Chasing a paltry 191 both the openers, Rohit Sharma (14) and Ajinkya Rahane (33) got off to a comfortable start and put on 49 runs for the opening wicket. Then Sharma was lbw’ed by Doug Bracewell in the 10th over. While his partnerAat the other end,ARahane hit four fours and smacked two over the boundary, as he took India past the 50 run mark. But he was caught behind off James Neesham, 2 overs after his strike partner walked back.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni reacts after being dismissed
Mahendra Singh Dhoni reacts after being dismissed

It was a eerily similar story forAManish Pandey (17) as well, who along with Kohli, addedA40 runs for the third wicket partnership. His innings also ended with a loose shot, caught at midwicket off Ish Sodhi.AKohli however, brought up his 37th ODI half-century on his 55th ball of the match and finished with nine fours and a six.AHe also put a 60 run stand for the fourth wicket with the skipper. They were doing so well, that it looked like they would end up finishing the match themselves. But unfortunately fate had other ideas, and a miscommunicationAbetween them led to Dhoni being run-out in the 29th over.

Kedar Jadhav (10 not out) and Virat Kohli then made sure there were no further hiccups, and took theirAteam to victory withAa little less than 17 over remaining. MS Dhoni was clearly very proud of his bowlers and even said so in a interview, ‘It was a fantastic performance by the fast bowlers. We had no clue that the wicket will help them so much early on. Despite the small total, it was also good that I got to bat in the middle’

Hardik Pandya celebrates after dismissing MJ Guptill
Hardik Pandya celebrates after dismissing MJ Guptill

For the debutantAHardik Pandya however, this match was a dream come true. First he was handed his ODI cap by the former Indian captain and legend himself Kapil Dev and then he proceeded to take 3 wickets to dismantle a brilliant New Zealand batting line up. Before finishing it all up with a man of the match award! ‘It is good to be back and I was a bit nervous. But I have been bowling a lot of late, and therefore was able to bowl today with a good rhythm. The ball was doing something in the early overs,’ said Pandya, who has made his way back after poor performances in the 2016 World T20.

Earlier, the Black Caps lost theirAfourth consecutive toss of the tour, and at one point were reduced to rubble by the Indian bowlers.APandya caused absolute mayhem in his opening spell, dismissing Martin Guptill (12), Corey Anderson (4) and then Luke Ronchi (0). His bowling partner at the other end, Umesh Yadav dismissedAKane Williamson (3) and Ross Taylor (0) off successive deliveries. But then again, only Guptill and Taylor got out to good deliveries. The rest of the line up were all guilty of playing badAshots which led to them returning back to the dressing room. Kedar Jadhav added to their misery when he dismissed James Neesham (10) and Mitchell Santner (0) off consecutive balls in the 19th over.

‘We needed to weather the early storm a little bit. It was tough to bat at the start with the ball moving a lot. They bowled some good spells and there were some soft dismissals too. It was disappointing with the bat today,’ said the New Zealand skipper Williamson.

Tom Latham
Tom Latham

Thanks to Tom Latham (79 not out) and Tim Southee (55) who scored half centuries, New Zealand managed to reach a decent total,Afrom a ratherAembarrassing position. While Latham became the first New Zealand opener – and tenth in ODI history – to bat throughout an entire innings,ASouthee was rewarded withAhis maiden 50 with the help of six fours and three sixes.

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