Shreyas Iyer guided India to a six-wicket victory over New Zealand in the first Twenty20 international at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday as the tourists showed few signs of fatigue or jet lag.
Iyer scored his second Twenty20 international half century with 58 not out and finished the game with his third six as India reached 204-4 to chase down New Zealand's 203-5 with an over to spare. KL Rahul and captain Virat Kohli put on 99 runs in 50 deliveries for the tourists, who only arrived in New Zealand on Tuesday after completing a 2-1 one-day series victory over Australia on Sunday.
Rahul was brilliantly caught by Tim Southee at mid off for 56 before Martin Guptill produced an even more spectacular catch at deep midwicket to dismiss Kohli for 45 to give the hosts a sniff of an upset. India's deep batting lineup, however, ensured that they cantered home with a measured run chase full of quality.
New Zealand's innings included half centuries for Colin Munro, Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson. After Munro put on 80 for the opening wicket with Guptill (30), the loss of the left hander for 59 and Colin de Grandhomme within the space of three deliveries stalled New Zealand's momentum.
Williamson (51) and Taylor (54 not out) however prospered after two fielding errors by Yuzvendra Chahal and the pair scored 61 runs in 28 deliveries to put their side in a strong position at 178-4 with three overs remaining. Some superb death bowling by Jasprit Bumrah, who rolled his ankle badly when he stood on the seam of the drop-in pitch, and Mohammed Shami ensured they did not kick on.
The match, as happens with most games involving the Men in Blue, garnered plenty of attention on social media, with #NZvIND the most trending hashtag in India well after the conclusion of the match. Let us take a look at a select few tweets from former and current cricketers, experts and fans:
Iyer was particularly praised for pulling off a match-winning knock from much-debated No 4 position:
Fantastic win for India to start the New Zealand tour. A record 4th time that India have chased 200+ in T20 I. Good all round batting effort with Rahul, Kohli and Shreyas Iyer playing beauties. And under the circumstances,some really tight bowling from Bumrah and Chahal #NZvIND pic.twitter.com/qTGdXDBas3
" VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) January 24, 2020
" Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) January 24, 2020
Very impressed with Shreyas Iyer today. I thought his innings in Bengaluru against Australia was a little too flashy, a little jumpy. This was far better, dominant and in control.
" Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 24, 2020
>Even though he dismissed Colin Munro, Thakur had a rough day in office as he leaked 44 runs from three overs:
Guptill plucked a brilliant catch to dismiss Virat Kohli today, and Indian fans seem to think he's reserved the best of his fielding skills for the Men in Blue, as was also the case in the World Cup semi-final:
With inputs from Reuters