Tom Latham, Kane Williamson power New Zealand to victory against India in series-opener
Indian bowlers were blown away in the face of Tom Latham’s counter-attacking century as New Zealand thrashed India by seven wickets in the first ODI on Friday. On a ground where a total in excess of 300 was chased only once, India scored 306 for seven and then left New Zealand at 88 for three in the 20th over. The hosts had the last laugh in the end, however, thanks to Latham’s unbeaten 104-ball 145 and skipper Kane Williamson’s 98 not out to reach the target with 17 balls to spare as they chased down the fourth wicket Added 221 not out.
At the end of the 39th over, New Zealand needed 91 runs from 66 balls at about 8.30 runs per over.
The hosts were in complete control of the game by the time Shardul Thakur (1/63) completed a forgettable 40th over, Latham hitting 25 runs with the help of four fours and a six.
That over swung the match firmly in New Zealand’s favor as the visitors struggled to take Latham to victory.
Latham’s belligerent innings included 19 fours and five sixes, while Williamson hit seven fours and a six.
Fast bowler Umran Malik (2/66) made an appearance in his very first match after a stellar display from the Indian batsmen, though the youngster from Jammu proved costly.
After being dismissed on the first ball, Shreyas Iyer found form with a clean half-century before Washington Sundar hit a 16-ball 37 to propel India to a competitive total.
Apart from Iyer’s 76-ball 80, Shikhar Dhawan (72 off 77 balls) and Shubman Gill (50 off 65 balls) also scored half-centuries after the tourists were put in to bat.
Umran got his first ODI wicket when Devon Conway went for a huge drive off a quicker ball, only for Rishabh Pant to take an outside edge to complete a simple catch.
Daryl Mitchell became Umran’s second victim when he slashed towards deep point. It wasn’t one of the best deliveries he bowled that day but the pressure he created at ear-wrenching pace definitely helped him get wickets.
However, Williamson and Latham rallied with a big partnership to hand the Kiwis the victory, leaving the Indians stunned.
Earlier, Sundar hit three sixes and as many fours to take India to the death while Iyer hit four maximums and four fours, coming into the game after a duck in the final T20 international two days ago.
New Zealand won the toss and elected to field first and while Kane Williamson’s bowlers kept the Indians from flying, skipper Dhawan and Gill started cautiously.
After reaching 40 in the first 10 overs after Lockie Ferguson dropped Gill off Matt Henry, the Indian openers tried to improve the run rate and looked for boundaries.
His search paid off as India went past 100 in the 21st over with both Dhawan and Gill regularly clearing the ropes.
In the 15th over, Dhawan caught Henry behind deep point and cut him through the pads to hit two consecutive fours.
The India captain then hit two more boundaries off Adam Milne, including a smart upper cut to bring up India’s hundred.
After hitting two sixes over long-on and third man, for which he hit an excellent ramp shot, Gill got his third maximum when he smashed left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner down the ground and into the sidescreen.
Even as Dhawan hit two fours against Tim Southee, Gill dismissed Santner for a boundary and inched closer to his fifty. However, just after reaching his fifty, he was dismissed after failing to clear Devon Conway in the deep off the bowling of Gil Ferguson.
Dhawan, who was looking in good shape, was soon dismissed as he hit Southee straight to Finn Allen at point.
When on 11, Iyer was offered a life by Tom Latham when the batsman attempted a ramp shot against a short delivery from Milne.
However, after a ball edged Ferguson towards the fine leg boundary, Pant went for the pull and pulled it onto his stumps, ending an innings that failed to inspire confidence.
He brought in the man-in-form, Suryakumar Yadav in the middle, who got off the mark with a brilliant cover drive. But, two balls later, he was on his way back to the dressing room after having Ferguson caught by Allen at first slip.
The pair of Iyer and Sanju Smason (36 off 38 balls) stitched a 94-run partnership to steady the ship until the latter dropped a brilliant catch by Glenn Phillips.
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