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India's Win: The Key Moments

By HARISH KOTIAN
November 18, 2021 06:48 IST
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IMAGE: India's players celebrate New Zealand opener Daryl Mitchell's dismissal during the 1st T20 International in Jaipur on Wednesday. Photograph: BCCI

Rahul Dravid's reign as head coach and Rohit Sharma's as T20I captain got off to a winning start as India defeated New Zealand by five wickets in a thrilling finish in Jaipur on Wednesday.

Chasing 165, India clinched victory with two balls to spare thanks to a career-best 62 from Suryakumar Yadav, who put on 59 runs with Captain Rohit Sharma (48).

New Zealand didn't give up hope as they claimed quick wickets at the end, but Rishabh Pant (17 not out) held his nerve to guide India home.

A look at the key moments in India's victory in the opening T20I:

 

Ashwin's spin show

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin appeals for Glenn Phillips's wicket. Photograph: BCCI

Ravichandran Ashwin was the surprise pick in India's T20 World Cup squad, but he has since showed why he deserves his place in the Indian team in all three formats.

He did well with the ball in the World Cup and continued in the same vein in the opening T20 against New Zealand.

Ashwin was called to bowl the fifth over and did well to concede just six runs despite bowling in the Powerplay. The experienced spinner used his guile and variation to good effect, as the Kiwi batsmen struggled to get on top of him.

He made two vital strikes right at the end, which proved instrumental in restricting the New Zealand total.

Ashwin dismissed the well-set Mark Chapman -- the first batsman to score T20I fifties for two different countries: Hong Kong, where he was born and raised; New Zealand where his father comes from -- 63 and Glenn Phillips (0) in his final over, finishing with excellent figures of 2/23 in his four overs, which was crucial in restricting New Zealand to 164/6.

Bhuvi's comeback

IMAGE: Bhuvneshwar Kumar celebrates Daryl Mitchell's wicket. Photograph: BCCI

Bhuvi was all but written after his below-par showing against Pakistan in the T20 World Cup.

Given another chance, the pace bowler made most of the opportunity. He gave India the perfect with the key wicket of Daryl Mitchell, who was bowled by a beauty for a first ball duck.

In his next over, he conceded just four runs which also unfortunately came off Mark Chapman's bat edge as he attempted a wild swing.

Bhuvi's first spell was crucial to keep New Zealand in check in the Powerplay, with 1/5 in two overs.

He had Tim Seifert dropped by Axar Patel at fine leg in his third over, the 17th of the innings, before he got the Black Caps wicket-keeper in his next over.

He gave away just five runs in the 19th over, for wonderful figures of 2/24 in four overs.

Rohit rallies India

IMAGE: India Captain Rohit Sharma was back to his Hitman ways. Photograph: BCCI

Rohit took the responsibility upon himself to give India a good start.

After a couple of tight overs at the start, Rohit released the pressure as he hit Tim Southee for a couple of fours and a six in the third over.

He then took on New Zealand's premier strike bowler (and his Mumbai Indians team-mate) Trent Boult, smashing him for a couple of sixes and as many fours.

K L Rahul managed just 15, but Rohit's attacking approach ensured India a quickfire start, as they raced to 56/1 in six overs to make most of the Powerplay.

Rohit was content to play second fiddle when Suryakumar Yadav went after the Kiwi bowlers, looking to bat till the end.

He was unlucky to fall for 48, hitting a short ball off his pads straight to the fielder at short fine leg.

SKY shines bright

IMAGE: Suryakumar Yadav hits a six. Photograph: BCCI

Suryakumar didn't do much in the T20 World Cup.

But he showed his class with an entertaining knock in the opening match in Jaipur. He got going, sweeping left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner for a four before he swung leg-spinner Todd Astle for a six over midwicket.

SKY was servere on Astle, hitting him for a six and a four in the 12th over as India looked in complete control of the run chase.

He brought up his fifty in grand style from 34 balls, using his wrists to good effect to whip pace bowler Lockie Ferguson for a six over midwicket. He was dropped on 57 off Tim Southee, but he fell an over later as he was bowled by his Mumbai Indians team-mate Boult after a splendid knock of 62 from 40 balls.

When he perished, India looked on course for victory with 21 needed from three overs and seven wickets in hand.

Pant provides finishing touches

IMAGE: Rishabh Pant hits the winning runs. Photograph: BCCI

New Zealand fought till the very end as they inched their way back into the contest from a difficult situation.

When Rohit and Suryakumar were out in the middle, India looked set for an easy win, before the New Zealand pacers got their team back into the hunt.

India needed 23 from four overs for victory but Suryakumar's departure changed the course of the innings.

India lost their way completely with two wickets falling for 13 runs in the space of three overs, setting up a thrilling finish with 10 needed from the last over for victory.

With Rishabh Pant out in the middle, India's hopes were still alive. Pant finished off things in grand style as he lofted Daryl Mitchell for a four over mid-off to take India to a thrilling win with two balls to spare.

He ensured he took his team past the finishing line, with an unbeaten 17 from as many balls.

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HARISH KOTIAN / Rediff.com

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