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IND v NZ, 1st T20I, Review: India steamroll New Zealand by 53 runs, draw first blood in the series

Ashish Nehra bowed out on a high and also bowled the last over of the innings.

Ashish Nehra
Ashish Nehra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

India defeated New Zealand by 53 runs in the first of three-match T20I series and gave Ashish Nehra a winning farewell in his final game. It was also the maiden victory for the Men in Blue against the Kiwis in six encounters. The spectators at Ferozshah Kotla were treated to some wonderful hitting on a flat surface. The home side surprisingly handed a debut to the newcomer Shreyas Iyer as the Kane Williamson decided to field first citing the dew threat in the night.

Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan strode out to the middle with an aim to provide a trailblazing start. After a couple of overs early on, they both started to play their shots albeit off bad deliveries. Both were dropped within the powerplay which didn’t help the cause of the Kiwis either. The latter especially was animated than Rohit who struggled to time the ball at the start. Dhawan played some beautiful strokes which were pleasant to the eyes and thumped the visiting bowlers.

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Just after the left-hander reaching his half-century, Sharma opened his arms aloft and welcomed the freebies dished out by the bowlers. They punished each and every delivery after once they crossed their respective milestones and eventually broke the record of the highest opening stand. New Zealand picked the first wicket finally in the 17th over courtesy Ish Sodhi who scalped Shikhar for a well-made 80 and soon sent back Pandya for a duck in the same over. But Virat Kohli came out with intent and smashed 26 off just 11 cherries he received. India posted a mammoth total of 203 runs as Rohit too scored 80 runs off 55 balls.

The figures of the New Zealand bowlers were not looking good apart from the spinners who did a stupendous job. Their frontline seam bowlers, Tim Southee and Trent Boult conceded 93 combined in their eight overs for a solitary wicket. But Ish Sodhi bowled his variations superbly and went only at 6.25 per over and also scalped a couple of crucial wickets at the death. Mitchell Santner supported him pretty well by conceding only 30 off his quota of four overs.

The chase which never got going

New Zealand needed 204 runs and had no option to go for the kill from the word go. The openers Colin Munro and Martin Guptill walked out to do just that but the discipline of the Indian bowlers never let them off the hook. However, it could be said that Martin Guptill wasn’t dismissed by the bowler and it was the spectacular, mind-boggling catch of Hardik Pandya at long-off that got rid of him. Then Munro was undone by a snorter of a delivery by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and then there was no way back for the hosts.

Williamson and Tom Latham formed a decent partnership but they could never up the ante and match the required run-rate. The wickets continued to tumble as the bowlers bamboozled the batsmen with their variations. The hard-hitting Tom Bruce too was foxed by a loopy delivery of Axar and could only hand the catch to Rohit. Only Latham held one end but he was never able to score boundaries.In the end, they could only muster 149 and lost the game by 53 runs.

The bowlers enjoyed their outing as they were prepared for the worst as there was the possibility of the dew. But despite its presence, there was no trouble for the Indians as they were never challenged by their opponents. All bowlers were amongst the wickets but Axar Patel was the pick of them as he returned with the figures of 2/20. The crowd cheered for Ashish Nehra who famously bowled the final over of the innings and his career. He bowled beautifully and just conceded only 7 runs.

Ashish Nehra and the team went on a victory lap as the emotional cricketer bid goodbye to the international cricket. Though he didn’t pick up a wicket in his last game, his bowling was like an old wine which even got better as he bowled his full quota of overs. It would be interesting to see now if he starts with the coaching in his life after cricket.

Brief Scores

India 202/3 (R Sharma 80, S Dhawan 80); (Ish Sodhi 2/25)

New Zealand 149/8 (T Latham 39); (A Patel 2/20, Y Chahal 2/26)

Result: India won by 53 runs.

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