Rohit Sharma-Rahul Dravid era in Indian cricket India won the first match of the T20 series against New Zealand by five wickets. Hitman’s team won the toss and elected to field. Batting first, India won by two wickets with five balls to spare.
Suryakumar Yadav (62) and Rohit (48) were the main contributors to India’s victory. Surya hit six fours and three sixes in 40 balls. Rohit hit five fours and two sixes in 36 balls. The other outfielders are KL Rahul (15), Shreyas Iyer (5) and Venkatesh Iyer (4). Rishabh Pant (17 *) and Akshar Patel (1 *) completed India’s victory.
The Rohit-Rahul duo gave India a great start. The duo put on 50 off 30 balls for the opening wicket. The Rohit-Surya duo put on another half-century for the second wicket to bring India closer to victory. They combined for 59 runs. Bolt knocked down Rohit just two runs short of his fifty. Surya and Rishabh put on 35 runs for the second wicket before Surya led India to an easy victory. Bolt was bowling him. Later India was seen to be shaking. Shreyas and Venkatesh were dismissed quickly and the match was extended to the last over. Rishabh smashed the fourth ball of the 20th over to give India the lead.
The Kiwis, the T20 World Cup runners – up, scored 164 for six in the allotted overs. Openers Martin Guptill (70) and Mark Chapman (63) put New Zealand in the lead. Guptill hit 70 off 42 balls, including three fours and four sixes. Chapman, who came in at number three to replace skipper Kane Williamson, hit six fours and two sixes in 50 balls. It is also the star’s debut T20 Fifty. With the exception of Guptill and Chapman, no other New Zealand batsman has performed as well. Glenn Phillips was knocked out of the World Cup by Kasaria opener Daryl Mitchell. Tim Seyford (12), Rachith Ravindra (7), Mitchell Santner (4 *) and Tim Southee (0 *) did not contribute much.
Bhubaneswar gave India a dream start. Mitchell was bowled clean by Bhuvneshwar in the third ball of the first over. But this did not help India to hold on to the game. Guptill and Chapman put on a century for the second wicket to put the Kiwis ahead. The duo put on 109 runs for the second wicket. The alliance gave Ashwin the much-awaited breakthrough as he snatched the game from India. He dismissed Chapman and Phillips in the same over. When Chapman bowled, Ashwin bowled Phillips in front of the wicket. For India, Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar took two wickets each. Deepak Chahar and Mohammad Siraj took one wicket each. Earlier, Rohit Sharma got the toss in his debut as India’s new T20 captain. He also opted for bowling. Newcomer all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer made his debut for India in this match. Hardik Pandya has been replaced by Venky, an all-rounder from Madhya Pradesh. India tested a team combination of three pacers and two spinners. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Siraj and Deepak Chahar handled the pace section. Akshar Patel and R Ashwin are the spinners. Yusvendra Chahal did not get a chance.
New Zealand, on the other hand, made four changes to their squad for the World Cup final against Australia. Jimmy Neesham, captain Kane Williamson, Ish Sodhi and Adam Milne are out of the squad. In Willy’s absence, New Zealand will be led by experienced pacer Tim Southee. Williamson withdrew himself to prepare for the Test series after the T20 series. The match marks the beginning of a new era in Indian cricket after the Virat Kohli-Ravi Shastri era. When Rohit led the team, Rahul Dravid took over as coach. Kohli resigned as captain of the T20 team after the T20 World Cup. Shastri’s contract expires with the tournament. India have rested Kohli for the series. Star all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya and pace duo Jaspreet Bumra and Mohammad Shami will also miss the series. Hardik was left out while Jadeja, Bumra and Shami were rested.
India – Rohit Sharma (capt), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wicket keeper), Venkatesh Iyer, R Ashwin, Akshar Patel, Mohammad Siraj, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
New Zealand – Daryl Mitchell, Martin Guptill, Marka Chapman, Glenn Phillips, Tim Seyfert (wicket-keeper), Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee (captain), Todd Assel, Loki Ferguson, Trent Bolt.