Updated: Nov 18, 2021
Rohit, Surya, Ashwin shine for India in first T20I against New Zealand at Jaipur
India 166 for 5 in 19.4 overs (Suryakumar 62, Rohit 48; Boult 2/31) beat New Zealand 164 for 6 in 20 overs (Guptill 70, Chapman 63; Bhuvneshwar 2/24, Ashwin 2/23) by 5 wickets
The Indian cricket team, with their new coach, Rahul Dravid, and a new T20I skipper, Rohit Sharma, took the field along with the New Zealand team in their first of the three-match T20I series on Wednesday, November 17, at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.
While India were coming at the back of an underwhelming campaign in the freshly concluded ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, New Zealand ended up becoming runners-up after making it into the finals of the tournament for the first time.
Both teams entered the game without some of their key players. India’s Test and ODI skipper, Virat Kohli made himself unavailable for his first game after stepping down from the role of the team’s T20I captain. The team was also without the services of their big guns including Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja.
As for the Kiwis, hard-hitter and regular captain Kane Williamson chose not to feature in the T20I series as Tim Southee took up the mantle of the captain in his absence. Furthermore, star batter Devon Conway was forced to miss out on the game after sustaining a hand injury during the showpiece T20 tournament.
The match started well in favour of the Rohit Sharma-led outfit as the Indian skipper won the toss and sent the Kiwis to bat first.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar draws first blood for India
After successful stints as openers in the T20 World Cup 2021, Martin Guptill and Daryl Mitchell continued to open the innings for New Zealand. That was early on dented by Bhuveshwar Kumar who clean-bowled Daryl Mitchell for a first-ball duck and drew first blood for India in the first over.
New batter Mark Chapman came to the crease at one-down after NZ suffered the early jolt. Chapman and Guptill were held at bay by India’s bowlers and managed 26/1 after five overs. However, Chapman hit Deepak Chahar for a six and a boundary in the 6th over and helped NZ aggregate 14 runs off that over. New Zealand’s score was 40/1 after the powerplay overs.
Guptill-Chapman pair weave 109-run stand
India’s bowlers were impressive, especially Ravichandran Ashwin who with his miserly spell in the middle overs restricted the NZ innings to less than 7 runs per over. However, both Chapman and Guptill played cautious knocks and went past the 50-run mark in the 8th over.
New Zealand’s score after 10 overs was 65/1 and needed an aggressive plan of action for the rest 10 overs.
The dividend seemed to have paid well for NZ after a cautious 10 overs with both batters beginning to open hands. Chapman went on a punishing spree and hit Axar Patel for a six and a four. He also reached his maiden T20I fifty, the first one for New Zealand, and further stabilized the innings and helped NZ cross the 100-run mark in the 13th over. Unfortunately, his brilliant knock came to an end after a brilliant 63 runs off 50 balls laced with six boundaries and a couple of sixes. Ashwin dismissed him in the 14th over and gave India a much-needed breakthrough and ended the 109-run stand, the highest for NZ against India in T20Is. Ashwin followed up by sending back Glenn Phillips leg before wicket on a duck in the same over and restricted NZ to 110/3 after 14 overs.
Guptill, however, continued to guide NZ and reached his 18th fifty in T20Is following a six in the next over, this being his first half-century against India in the given format. He further piled more runs on the board and helped NZ reach the 150-run mark. However, Deepak Chahar came for his second spell and dismissed Guptill for 70 runs following a brilliant catch by Shreyas Iyer at deep mid-wicket. With two overs remaining, NZ managed to add 12 more runs to their scorecard which read 164/6 after 20 overs.
Rohit-Rahul continued to flare
Chasing 165 runs, the opening pair of skipper Rohit Sharma and his deputy KL Rahul got India off to a terrific start. They hammered Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson all over the park stadium with continuous boundaries. The opening stand flourished to 50-runs in no time, before it was put at a halt when Southee introduced spinner Mitchell Santner who got NZ their first breakthrough on the first ball of the 6th over. India lost their first wicket on 50 runs, as KL Rahul batting on 15 runs fended the ball to Chapman stationed at deep square leg.
India lost their second wicket in the 14th over in the form of Rohit Sharma who fell short by just two runs of his 25th half-century in T20Is. Trent Boult got his first breakthrough of the match and NZ got the second one. India were still in a comfortable position and required 56 runs off 41 balls and 8 wickets in hand.
Suryakumar Yadav scored a flamboyant 62 runs
India’s hunt for a deserving one-down batter in the absence of Virat Kohli seemed to have got the most eligible replacement - Suryakumar Yadav. First off, he stitched a 59-run partnership with skipper Sharma for the second wicket, and also got to his second fifty with a six in the 15th over. He guided India towards victory after a strong start given by the openers.
He added 35 runs with Rishabh Pant and raced the total to 144 runs, before Boult rattled his stumps in the 17th over.
India scrape through by 5 wickets despite late hiccups
India’s scorecard read 144/3 and they needed 21 runs off 20 deliveries and 7 wickets in hand. However, some amount of drama unfolded as Tim Southee got his first wicket after he dismissed Shreyas Iyer for a paltry 5 runs. India needed 10 runs off the last over when Daryl Mitchell dismissed the debutant Venkatesh Iyer (4 runs) and took the game close. Rishabh Pant struck the winning boundary after Venkatesh Iyer’s dismissal and helped India take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Slow over rates registered by both teams a concern
India took one hour and 49 minutes to complete their quota of 20 overs while New Zealand also took an abysmal one hour and 45 minutes to send down 19.4 overs. The slow over rates eat up into the vital time of the paying public and are also not a good advertisement for the sport of cricket, particularly in the shortest format. If these basics are taken care of, cricket will be held in good stead when compared to other team sports which are fast-paced and tightly wound up in time limits like football and field hockey; the emergemce of cricket as an Olympic sport in future will also be given a fillip of captains start taking these basics seriously.
India vs NZ - Player of the match
Suryakumar Yadav was adjudged player of the match for his match-winning knock of 62 runs off just 40 deliveries, wherein he engaged in two crucial partnerships and filled the gap at no. 3 in the absence of Virat Kohli.
Second T20I between India and New Zealand will be played on 19th Nov at Ranchi.
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