Twitter Reactions: Shreyas Iyer's 58* guides India to victory after Kohli-Rahul blitz in Auckland

Earlier, Williamson, Taylor and Munro scored half-centuries to propel New Zealand to 203.

Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer. (Photo by DAVID ROWLAND/AFP via Getty Images)

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India have won the opening the game of the five-match T20I series against New Zealand at the Eden Park in Auckland. They chased down the target of 204 runs with an over and six wickets in hand. KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer slammed impressive half-centuries and even the skipper Virat Kohli played his part in the chase with his 45-run knock. It rained boundaries in Auckland as a total of 30 fours and 20 sixes were hit in the game.

As far as the Indian innings is concerned, the mammoth chase of 204 runs began on a sour note for them with Rohit Sharma getting out in the second over. Mitchell Santner bowled cleverly after going for a six and the Indian vice-captain fell in the trap. However, from here on, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli took control of the proceedings. Both of them smashed the ball into the stands regularly and it was all about timing in their batting. The Kiwis were also guilty of squandering a run-out chance early in the innings and they cashed in.

Among all, Rahul’s majestic flick shot off Tim Southee which went for a six topped the list as India looked on course in the chase at the halfway stage. The Karnataka batsman also got to his half-century but was dismissed soon after by Ish Sodhi as he tried to up the ante. A tremendous partnership of 99 runs which came off just 50 deliveries was broken.

Kohli too looked good for his 45 but Martin Guptill’s amazing catch forced him to go back to the pavilion. His dismissal brought the hosts back in the game. India promoted Shivam Dube but the experiment didn’t work. The left-hander could only score 13 runs off 9 balls and at 142/4 in the 14th over, things looked tricky for the visitors.

At this stage, Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey joined hands and sort of resurrected the innings for a couple of overs before churning out 14 runs off the 16th over to bring the equation to 39 off the last four overs. In the next couple of overs, Iyer and Pandey did well to hit timely boundaries. And when it came down 18 off the last two overs, the former smashed a six down the ground to Southee to seal the deal.

It was a cakewalk from there on for the tourists as Shreyas Iyer proved his mettle batting at four once again with an unbeaten half-century. Manish Pandey also played his role well as India chased down the target with an over to spare. The duo remained unbeaten with a partnership of 61 runs between them.

Williamson, Taylor and Munro score half-centuries for New Zealand

Earlier in the day, New Zealand made the most of the batting conditions after losing the toss. Their openers Colin Munro and Martin Guptill got the team off to a brilliant start. They targetted Shardul Thakur, in particular, to churn out runs at a quick pace. The duo added 80 runs in less than eight overs before Shivam Dube, of all the bowlers, provided the much-needed breakthrough.

Rather it was a splendid catch from Rohit Sharma which undid Martin Guptill who was looking dangerous. However, Munro continued his good run against India in the T20Is and slammed another half-century. He scored 59 runs off 42 deliveries before getting out in the 12th over with 116 runs on the board. Kane Williamson was set in the middle by then. But Colin de Grandhomme bagged a golden duck and this is where the run-scoring came down a bit.

However, the veteran Ross Taylor walked out and after an over or two of consolidation, both he and Williamson took a liking to the Indian bowlers. It was pleasing to see the Kiwi skipper taking up the slam-bang approach as he generally depends on technically perfect shots to accumulate runs. New Zealand’s most experienced duo added 61 runs in just 28 deliveries and at one stage, threatened to go past 220.

Both of them got to their respective half-centuries but got out at the wrong time. India came back well in the last three overs and after getting rid of Williamson and Taylor, dried the runs conceding only 25 runs off last 18 deliveries. New Zealand finished on 203 runs for the loss of five wickets with all the Indian bowlers apart from Mohammed Shami picking up a wicket each.

Unfortunately for the home side, the score wasn’t enough with India pacing the chase really well and winning the game in the final over to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

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