India 204 for 4 (Iyer 58*, Rahul 56, Kohli 45, Sodhi 2-36) beat New Zealand 203 for 5 (Munro 59, Taylor 54, Williamson 51, Jadeja 1-18) by six wickets
The last time India and New Zealand met, in the World Cup semi-final last year, Martin Guptill pulled off a memorable direct hit to run MS Dhoni out and seal India’s fate. Six months on, in the T20I series opener against India at Eden Park, he pulled off a similarly memorable diving catch at deep midwicket to dismiss a well-set Virat Kohli for a 32-ball 45 in a chase of 204. On the night, though, it wasn’t enough as Shreyas Iyer finished the chase off in uber-cool fashion, with an over to spare, and put India 1-0 ahead in the five-match T20I series.
When Iyer had joined Manish Pandey, who had been picked ahead of a fit-again Rishabh Pant, India still needed 62 off 40 balls. Iyer took charge, making 48 in the unbroken stand with Pandey, and pressed on to a 26-ball half-century, thrilling the sea of blue in the stands.
After New Zealand had been asked to bat earlier in the evening, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor reeled off quicker fifties – off 25 balls each – and Colin Munro hit a relatively sedate half-century. When India batted, KL Rahul cracked a 27-ball 56 and Kohli almost got to the mark too, but it was Iyer’s contribution that proved decisive in a match that produced an aggregate of 407 for 9.
Full report to follow…