Shreyas Iyer’s maiden hundred went in vain as India went down to New Zealand in the first one day international at Seddon Park on Wednesday. The Black Caps had chased down 347 at this very venue against Australia 13 years ago, and produced an encore to stun Virat Kohli’s men this time around in Hamilton.
After being sent into bat by stand-in skipper Tom Latham, India’s opening pair of Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal, both making their debuts in this format, put on an quickfire 50 run stand before Colin de Grandhomme broke through by getting rid of Shaw for 20.
An over later Tim Southee got into the wickets column by removing Agarwal for 32, with the Karnataka batsman caught by Tom Blundell at gully.
The pair of Virat Kohli and Iyer then brought the innings back on track with a 102 run stand for the third wicket. Just as it was beginning to look threatening, a lovely googly from Ish Sodhi broke the stand, with the Indian skipper bowled for a well made half century.
The 25 year old Iyer was then involved in a yet another brilliant stand with KL Rahul as the pair added 136 runs for the fourth wicket before Southee claimed the former for an entertaining 103. His knock comprised of 11 fours and a solitary six.
Rahul, batting at 5 to accommodate Shaw and Agarwal, again displayed his versatility with an AB de Villiers-que knock of 88* (64). Late fireworks from Kedar Jadhav 26* (15) helped the visitors post a mammoth 347/4 at the end of their allotted 50 overs.
Southee claimed two wickets, but was expensive (1/85) while De Grandhomme and Sodhi picked up a wicket each.
Chasing a daunting score of 348, the Black Caps made a solid beginning as the openers Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls put on 85 runs for the first wicket before Guptill was caught by Kedar Jadhav off Shardul Thakur for 32.
Debutant Tom Blundell fell cheaply as he was stumped by wicket keeper Rahul off the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav.
In the 23rd over, Ross Taylor, then batting on 10, was given a life as Kuldeep failed to hang on to a skier. However a piece of brilliance in the field from Kohli gave India their third wicket, with Nicholls run out for 78 in the 29th over.
Taylor’s drop was to prove costly, and in the form of Latham, he gained a valuable ally. The duo flayed the Indian bowling to all parts of the ground, with Kuldeep and Thakur in particular signalled out for harsh treatment.
The pair’s sparkling stand of 138 put New Zealand in the driver’s seat before the 27 year Latham was caught attempting one shot too many, with Mohammed Shami taking a good catch in the deep.
Jimmy Neesham and De Grandhomme fell in quick succession after Latham’s departure, bringing back memories of the Black Caps’ struggles while chasing in the T20 series. However, with Bumrah having bowled out, Kohli had to return to the expensive Thakur, and Mitch Santner held his nerve to hit a six and a four as the home side reached the target of 348 with 11 balls to spare.
Ross Taylor was declared the Man of the Match for his magnificent 109* (84).
The hosts take a 1-0 lead in the three match ODI series. The second one day international will be played in Auckland on Saturday (8 February)