India's tour of New Zealand kicked off with the 1st T20 at Eden Park in Auckland. On a brilliant batting wicket and a small ground, India won the toss and decided to bowl first. The hosts started brilliantly, scoring 68 runs from the first 6 overs for no loss of wickets.
The visitors then started to come back into the game, dismissing Martin Guptill (30 from 19 balls), Colin Munro (59 from 42 balls), and Colin de Grandhomme (0 from 2 balls) quickly, which left New Zealand three down for a 117 in the 13th over. After that, the experienced customers Kane Williamson (51 from 26 balls) and Ross Taylor (54 from 27 balls) powered the Kiwis to a brilliant total of 203 for the loss of five wickets.
Chasing a really big target, Rohit Sharma (7 from 6 balls) was dismissed early on, before KL Rahul and Virat Kohli stitched together a brilliant 99-run partnership. Rahul was dismissed for a well-played 56 from 27 balls, which left India two down for 121 at the end of 11 overs and soon, Kohli (45 from 32 balls) followed him to the dugout as the hosts picked up two quick wickets to get back into the game.
Then, Shreyas Iyer's beautiful knock of 58 runs from 29 balls, along with a helping hand from Manish Pandey meant that India won the game by 6 wickets with one over to spare. Here, we are going to take a look at the three talking points from the game.
#3 India always pegged back New Zealand's innings
In the first innings, it looked like 220 or 230 was on the cards for the hosts, especially after their blistering start but India pulled things back nicely. The way Colin Munro and Martin Guptill were going, it felt like the Kiwis will take the game away from the visitors.
New Zealand lost Munro and Guptill quickly before Colin de Grandhomme followed them into the dugout. Then, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor took some time to get set, which helped India pull back the run rate drastically. In the end, two economical Jasprit Bumrah overs helped the visitors keep the hosts down to chaseable total.
#2 New Zealand's inexperienced bowling department felt the pressure
Chasing 204 was never going to be easy but it was made easy by some average bowling from the New Zealand seamers and spinners. The inexperience on the international level showed in their performance as the likes of Hamish Bennett and Blair Tickner couldn't really trouble the Indian batting contingent.
Add to that, Tim Southee's dismal showing meant the Kiwis never really managed to grab a foothold in the game. Even the spinners Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner were smashed for 86 runs from their eight overs, which meant Kane Williamson didn't really have any bowler to go to as no one was having a good day. All in all, 204 is a defendable total and yet, India chased it down without breaking a sweat.
#1 The consistent duo of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer
There was a time in 2017 or 2018 when India used to win games while chasing when one of Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma played a big innings and remained not out till the end but since the consistent showings from KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, that has not been the case.
Against New Zealand, Sharma was dismissed early, while a set Kohli couldn't take India home. Up stepped Iyer, who not only played fearless cricket but also remained not out and saw the visitors through. Rahul, who has been in the form of his life, was incredible on the day as he dispatched New Zealand's bowlers to all corners, which meant India never fell behind the required run rate.