A totally reckless show from the Indian batsmen enabled the Kiwis to win the 1st Twenty20 International at the AMI Stadium in Christchurch. New Zealand had little trouble chasing down a moderate target of 163 which they did with 7 balls to spare and with 7 wickets in hand.
Indian batting wobbles to make just 162
Daniel Vettori won the toss and asked the visitors to bat first on a decent drop-in pitch. The ground was absolutely tiny and was perhaps a big factor in tempting the Indian batsmen to hit almost every ball that they had faced out of it. Virender Sehwag started the trend by smashing three consecutive sixes in the first over of the match bowled by Tim Southee. Gambhir struggled on the other hand with his timing and was soon bowled playing a rash shot off O’Brien. Sehwag (26 from 10 balls with 4 fours) followed his opening partner playing a similar shot in O’Brien’s next over which put the bowler on a hat-trick. Rohit Sharma didn’t concede the hat-trick and announced his arrival with a gorgeous six but in the very next ball threw his wicket away with another ambitious pick up shot. India slipped to 54 for 3 and were further down at 61 for 5 in the 8th over. They had lost Yuvraj (lbw to Vettori after missing a paddle sweep off an arm ball) and Dhoni (getting cleaned up by one that skidded through low) cheaply.
India had just Suresh Raina and Yusuf Pathan and plenty of overs were left. Yusuf smacked off spinner Nathan McCullum for three sixes in a row and failed to resist from going for another one. This time he was brilliantly caught by Jacob Oram who jumped in and out of the playing area to take a clean catch. Yusuf Pathan made 20 from 8 balls. India were in major trouble at 82 for 6 in the 10th over and a good partnership between no.3 Suresh Raina (61* from 43 balls with 2 fours and 5 sixes) and Harbhajan (22* from 22) got them to a respectable 162 for 8 towards the end. Skipper Daniel Vettori was yet again too hard to put away, just the 18 runs came in his quota of 4 overs. Part time medium pacer Jesse Ryder bowled cleverly as well and Ian Butler managed to make the batsmen hurry in their shots.
Kiwis ease through the target
The new ball bowlers Zaheer and Ishant started off nicely to put the Kiwis on the backfoot in their chase. Ishant struck gold with his first ball by trapping Ryder infront of the stumps. The Black Caps seemed to have gone nowhere with no.3 Martin Guptill struggling to put bat to ball while Brendon McCullum not opening up his shoulders freely. Somehow India lost the plot with Ishant Sharma struggling with noballs and very soon with Martin Guptill showing that he had some real spark with 3 lovely sixes. Guptill (41 from 28 with 4 fours and 3 sixes) fell in the 7th over to provide a breakthrough for Harbhajan and India but New Zealand held the rest of the innings without any trouble. Ross Taylor (31 from 20 with 3 sixes) and Oram (29* from 15 with 3 fours and 2 sixes) chipped in to help Brendon McCullum (56* from 49 balls with 2 fours and 3 sixes) in chasing the target. Brendon was the Man of the Match. For India, Harbhajan did well going for just 19 in his 4 overs while Zaheer and Ishant showed how difficult they can be to handle in the remainder of the tour. The two teams again meet in a T20 day after tomorrow.
Originally posted 2009-02-25 16:58:31.