Team India registered another famous victory in the opening ODI at Napier today. Kohli’s regime has continued to display the dominant performance in all the three departments. They arrived in New Zealand riding high, on the back of their historic win Down Under. India won the first ODI by eight wickets and lead the five-match series by 1-0.
Indian bowlers dominated the Blackcaps batsmen and bundled them for just 157 runs in 38 overs. Mohammed Shami was declared the Man of the Match for his tremendous spell on a flat pitch. He took three crucial wickets and broke the spine of one of the best batting lineup. Shami started the carnage and got early breakthroughs for the Indian side. He dismissed the stumps of the dangerous Kiwi opening pair- Martin Guptill(5) and Colin Munro(8).
Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor came in the middle to steady the ship. Taylor was looking good before he was caught and bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal for the score of 24. Tom Latham arrived at the crease to get out in the same fashion, like Ross Taylor. Chahal took a brilliant catch on his own ball to dismiss Latham(11). Then Henry Nicholas was sent packing by the part-timer Kedar Jadhav for just 12 runs. Half of New Zealand team was back in the pavilion with 107 runs on the board.
Kuldeep Yadav then arrived in the scene and took the last four wickets after Shami got Santhner leg before for 14 runs. Kuldeep then got the valuable wicket of Kane Williamson(64) in his spell. The 24-year-old chinaman has this uncanny habit of sending the tail-enders back as soon as possible, which makes a lethal weapon in the limit-over cricket. He did the same this time around and cleaned the Kiwi tail at the earliest. They could only manage to score 11 runs after their skipper fell. Kuldeep ended with an incredible figure of 10-1-39-4.
Indian batsmen had to complete the formality when they were asked to chase 158 runs in 50 overs. This would have been a walk in the park for such a destructive batting lineup but this track was tricky, so they had to be patient. Rohit Sharma was the first one to head back to the dressing room after scoring 11 runs. Shikhar Dhawan, who looked in great touch since the beginning of the innings, was then joined by the skipper Virat Kohli. Both the Delhi lads batted brilliantly in the low-scoring affair and almost finished the job for their side. Virat Kohli got out for 45 runs, trying to hook a short pitch ball from Lockie Ferguson.
Ambati Rayudu arrived in the middle to finish the formality and took the Indian team home, along with Shikhar Dhawan. It was exciting to see Dhawan back in form, he remained unbeaten at 75 runs. In the process, he became the second fastest Indian after Virat Kohli, to reach 5,000 ODI runs. His form is crucial if India wants to win the ICC World Cup later this year.
Team India has delivered the first punch and started this series on a winning note. After the high in Australia, this could be another memorable tour for the Men in Blue. Having won the opening match, India would be eyeing to dominate the Kiwis in their own den. It is early to make any statement, but the way things are going Team India look favourites not just on paper but on the field as well.