Spinners & Mitchell fashion first win on tour as New Zealand take 1-0 lead in T20I series
RANCHI: Mahendra Singh Dhoni was at the stadium here on Friday. One wishes the former India skipper – one of the finest cricketing brains and probably the best finisher in his prime – was on the field instead on a tricky, spin-friendly track at the JSCA International Cricket Stadium.
Skipper Hardik Pandya had said on the eve of the match that he had “squeezed a lot of knowledge out of him (MSD), there’s not much left now”, but there appeared to be moments in Friday’s game when Pandya could have done with Dhoni’s advice.
With his spinners (10-0-56-3) returning far better figures than the pacers (10-0-119-3) combined, Pandya paid the price for not completing Deepak Hooda’s quota after the off-spinning allrounder gave only 14 runs from his two overs.
Left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh’s 27-run last over, with Daryl Mitchell swinging his bat around, and the skipper’s 16-run 17th over proved too costly in the end as India succumbed to a 21-run defeat in the first T20I to hand the Kiwis a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, and their first win on this tour.
However, the captain is not the only one to blame as his batters, especially the top order, failed spectacularly, and the 177-run target proved a tall ask in the end.
‘Spin shock’ as New Zealand beat India in T20I opener
<p>Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell hit quickfire fifties to set up a 21-run victory for New Zealand in the first T20I against India on Friday. </p>
<p>Conway made 52 off 35 balls and Mitchell smashed an unbeaten 59 as the Kiwis posted 176-6 after being invited to bat first in Ranchi. </p>
<p>New Zealand then restricted India to 155-9 and took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. </p>
<p>Skipper Mitchell Santner stood out with figures of 2-11 while Michael Bracewell and Lockie Ferguson also took two wickets each. </p>
<p>The Black Caps started strongly after being invited to bat first, with Finn Allen striking four fours and two sixes in a brisk 35. </p>
<p>Washington Sundar cut short Allen’s stay as the batsman mistimed a hit to deep mid-wicket.</p>
<p>Sundar struck again to get Mark Chapman caught and bowled for nought. </p>
<p>Conway took his time before he changed gears and smashed tearaway quick Umran Malik for two fours and a six in the eighth over. </p>
<p>Conway kept up the charge with Glenn Phillips as the pair put on 60 before Kuldeep Yadav broke through with the wicket of Phillips for 17. </p>
<p>Conway raised his fifty in 31 balls and with Mitchell, who hit five sixes in his 30-ball blitz, added 36 for the fourth wicket. </p>
<p>Arshdeep Singh finally got Conway out in the 18th over, but was then hammered for three sixes and a four by Mitchell in a 27-run final over. </p>
<p>In reply, India lost their top three batsmen with just 15 on the board in 3.1 overs with Bracewell striking first as he bowled Ishan Kishan for four. </p>
<p>India lost two more wickets in the next two overs before Suryakumar Yadav (47) and Hardik Pandya (21) put the chase back on track in a 68-run stand. </p>
<p>Suryakumar started with a flurry of boundaries but the pair played with a mix of caution and aggression. </p>
<p>Suryakumar clubbed six fours and two sixes in his 47, before he mistimed a shot to long-on off Ish Sodhi. </p>
<p>Pandya fell in the next over to Bracewell as the wheels came off the chase. </p>
<p>Sundar survived three dropped catches to hit 50 off 28 balls but found little support from the other end. </p>
<p>”No one thought this wicket would play like that, both teams got surprised but New Zealand played better cricket,” Pandya said after the match. </p>
<p>The second match of the series is in Lucknow on Sunday. </p>
India were down to 15/3 in 3. 1 overs. Suryakumar Yadav and Pandya arrested the slide and then tried to build a partnership, but SKY’s untimely dismissal in the 12th over meant another setback. The pair’s 68-run stand off 51 balls for the fourth wicket did raise the hopes of a jampacked stadium but Surya miscued a googly off Ish Sodhi to wide long-on to dampen the mood.
The captain departed next over, top-edging a straighter delivery from off-spinner Michael Bracewell. No. 6 Washington Sundar then waged a lone battle for a 28-ball 50 but that was not enough to see India home.
Earlier, the Kiwis started on the fast lane, racing to 37 for no loss in the first four overs. Then spinners Sundar, Hooda and Kuldeep Yadav did an excellent job in the middle overs to peg back the visitors, who were only 123/3 after the end of the 16th over.
But the two big overs in the end swung the deal. Half-centuries by opener Devon Conway (52 off 35 balls, 7×4, 2×6) and Daryl Mitchell (59*off 30b, 3×4, 5×6) were the highlights.