New Delhi: Indian cricket team kicked off its T20I campaign on Kiwi soil in style with a comprehensive 6-wicket victory against Kane Williamson’s men. Chasing a challenging 204-run target, the Men in Blue looked in control of the proceedings after losing Rohit Sharma (7) early in the innings. KL Rahul (56 off 27) and Virat Kohli (45 off 32) added a match-winning 99-run stand for the second wicket after which Shreyas Iyer’s unbeaten 29-ball 58 guided the visitors to a convincing win.
Batting first, Martin Guptill (30 off 19) and Colin Munro (59 off 42) got the hosts off to a flier as the pair added 80 runs for the first wicket in just 7.5 overs. Shivam Dube got India the first breakthrough with the wicket of Guptill while Kane Williamson (51 off 26) and Ross Taylor (54* off 27) played two vital knocks to propel the Kiwis past the 200-run mark. Once Williamson was dismissed in the 17th over, Taylor hammered some lusty blows in the death overs and carried his bat.
In reply, Rohit – who was in sublime form in the recently concluded ODI series against Australia, was dismissed in the 2nd over by spinner Mitchell Santner. Rahul, who has been in fine form in white-ball cricket lately, looked in fine rhythm before perishing in the tenth over of the innings. The Kiwis did well to dismiss Kohli in the 12th over. The move to promote Shivam Dube (13 off 9) in the batting order did not work for the tourists but Iyer – who scored a sensible unbeaten knock against Australia in the 3rd ODI, continued from where he left and towards the end, showed that he deserved to be a regular at the No. 4 spot.