India vs New Zealand 2017, 1st T20I was an open and shut case for the hosts as they bid adieu to the comeback man Ashish Nehra at his home ground and finally ended the jinx of never winning against the Kiwis in this format, on the other hand.

image source: sportskeeda
image source: sportskeeda

A record opening stand between Rohit Sharma (80) and Shikhar Dhawan (80) powered India to huge total of 202 runs, which also included a cameo by Virat Kohli (26*), who started his innings with a huge six over long on.

However, with New Zealand winning the toss and opting to bat first, team India knew that due factor would play a huge role during the second innings anything less than 210, would be an easy chase for the Kiwis.

image source: cricbuzz

Keeping that in mind, Shikhar Dhawan was hitting the ball for flat sixes on the leg side, while Rohit was using his power over elegance to find those short boundaries with an increased frequency. Interesting, while the first 80 runs of the partnership took the whole first 10 overs, the next 78 came in just 38, with Rohit Sharma contributing 45. And just like that, the duo had put together the highest ever opening partnership for India in T20Is (158) as well as the third highest overall.

But a respectable first innings total target still seemed far away and knowing the same, both Rohit and Dhawan started taking risks, as that was the need of the hour. However, wrong shot selection by Shikhar is what gave Kiwis their first breakthrough, which was followed by Hardik Pandya duck in the same over.

With Virat Kohli now joining Rohit Sharma on the crease, the world thought of another slow start from the skipper but that huge six over long on marked the beginning of a new approach by the Indian side in T20Is. While the opening pair together hit a total of 6 sixes, Virat Kohli’s 11-ball knock had 3 to showcase.

image source: cricbuzz

With the dismissal of Sharma on the last ball of the 19th over, it was time for the crowd to welcome their very own celebrated finisher MS Dhoni, who too started his innings with a six and helping India register 202.

In response, it was New Zealand never managed to take a stand as in what turned out to be the turning point of the game, Hardik Pandya executed an exceptional airborne catch between mid-off and mid-on to send Guptill back to the pavilion in the second over.

image source: cricbuzz

After that Kane Williamson (28) and Tom Latham (39) did give New Zealand a ray of hope but disciplined spells from Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal, coupled with pressure-mounting bowling from the seamers, helped India bowl out the Kiwis at just 149.

Their first victory over New Zealand and that too with a margin of 53 runs.

Although it was a clinical win, the collapse of Kiwis’ line-up made it seem easy, however, records were still broken in abundance, to say the least.

Here are some interesting stats from the India vs New Zealand 2017, 1st T20I.

  • The 158-run stand between Rohit and Dhawan is now the highest partnership for any wicket in T20Is for India.
  • The previous highest opening partnership by India in T20Is was the 77-run stand between Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane in 2012 against Pakistan in Bangalore.
  • Rohit Sharma-Shikhar Dhawan also went past Alex Hales-Michael Lumb for recording the highest stand against New Zealand in T20Is.
  • This is also the third 100+ opening partnership for India in T20Is.

158 runs – Rohit Sharma-Shikhar Dhawan, 2017
136 runs Gambhir-Viru v Eng, Durban, 2007
103* runs Rahul-Mandeep v Zim, Harare, 2016

  • India defeated New Zealand for the first time in T20Is and it took 6 attempts to break the jinx.
  • The Indian opening duo also becomes the first to bat for 16 overs in the first innings of a T20I.
  • Ashish Nehra became the second oldest player to play for India in T20Is:

38 years 232 days – Rahul Dravid in Aug 2011 vs England,
38 years 186 days – Ashish Nehra in Nov 2017 vs New Zealand

  • Rohit Sharma has the most sixes for India in T20 cricket, leaving Suresh Raina’s record of 265 sixes behind.
  • Shikhar Dhawan managed his career-best 80 runs during the India vs New Zealand 2017, 1st T20I in the format.

With the first encounter finally breaking the deadlock, Indian will be keen on marking their dominance over the Kiwis in this format as well, however, the host will be looking to bounce back in the second game in order to be alive in the series for a decider.

As for Ashish Nehra, while he would go wicketless in his final appearance during the India vs New Zealand 2017, 1st T20I, there is a memory that he took home with him.

Rohan Jaitly

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