New-look India beats New Zealand by 5 wickets in 1st T20

·3-min read

JAIPUR, India (AP) — Suryakumar Yadav scored 62 off 40 balls to help India beat New Zealand by five wickets in their first T20 match on Wednesday, giving a winning start to the newly appointed captain-coach duo of Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid.

India finished on 166-5 in 19.4 overs after winning the toss and making New Zealand bat. New Zealand scored 164-6.

The three-match series marks a new era in Indian cricket after a poor performance at the T20 World Cup. Dravid takes over as coach from Ravi Shastri, while Sharma leads on the field as captain. Virat Kohli, who has been rested for the series, announced before the World Cup that he was standing down as India’s T20 captain at the end of the tournament.

“The ball was coming on nicely to the bat, came on a bit slow later, but (I am) happy to be on the winning side,” said Yadav, who was named man-of-the-match for recording his third T20 half-century.

“I try to bat the same way in the nets and replicate the same in the game,” he continued. “If I get out, I go into the dressing room and think what better I could have done.”

Chasing 165, KL Rahul (15) and Sharma got off to a great start by putting on 50 runs in 31 balls. After Rahul’s wicket, Yadav carried on the scoring pace as he added 59 runs with Sharma for the second wicket.

Yadav notched his highest T20 score for India, including six fours and three sixes. Sharma also hit five fours and two sixes and finished with 48 off 36 to play his part.

Trent Boult (2-31) struck a double blow to remove the set pair. Yadav’s dismissal in the 17th over put India’s chase under pressure.

Shreyas Iyer (5) and debutant Venkatesh Iyer (4) fell in the space of three balls, and India needed eight runs off the last over.

Rishabh Pant sealed the chase with two balls to spare, scoring run-a-ball 17, with two fours.

Earlier, Martin Guptill and Mark Chapman scored half-centuries to power New Zealand’s innings.

Guptill scored 70 off 42 balls, including three fours and four sixes. Chapman scored 63 off 50 balls, with six fours and two sixes.

They put on 109 runs for the second wicket after Daryl Mitchell was bowled for nought. This was Chapman’s highest T20 score for the Black Caps.

Their 100-plus partnership came off only 65 balls. But the visitors were not able to build on it and managed only 54 runs off the last six overs.

Tim Seifert’s 12 was the next best individual score. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2-24) was the pick of Indian bowlers. Ravichandran Ashwin also took 2-23 in four overs.

The spinner felt New Zealand was short by a few runs on what was a slow Jaipur wicket.

“The slower you bowled, there was more purchase you got on this pitch,” Ashwin said. “It was a slightly under-par score and we thought 170-180 would be par. We thought we would cruise home around the 15th over, but that’s T20 cricket for you.”

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