India defeated New Zealand by 53 runs in the first T20 at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi to pick up their first victory over the Kiwis in the shortest format in ten years.
India outplayed the New Zealanders in all the three aspects of the game be it batting, bowling or fielding. Indians were better than the number one ranked T20 team to give a fitting farewell to Ashish Nehra.
New Zealand won the toss and chose to field first. India scored 202/3 in 20 overs. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma both scored 80 each and were involved in a 158-runs partnership which is the highest for an Indian pair. New Zealand could only manage 149/8 in their 20 overs.
The only high point for the Kiwis in the first match was the performance of their spinners. Both the spinners, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi, bowled impressive line and lengths. Santner went wicketless in the match, whereas, Sodhi picked up two wickets at an economy rate of 6.25.
Sodhi picked up the wickets of well-settled Dhawan and Hardik Pandya. Sodhi feels that the only way to bounce back in the series is too slow down India’s momentum,
“I think we put up a fantastic performance in Mumbai (in the first ODI of the three-game series lost by the visitors 1-2) and played pretty well for that win. I think the second game is the only one we kind of struggled with. But the third ODI was a fantastic game, and I think we chased extremely well. We showed that we could play spin a lot better than sides that have come here in the past,”
Sodhi hailed the 158-runs stand between Dhawan and Sharma which set up the Indian victory,
“T20 cricket is all about momentum, and I think they (India) put on a good partnership at the start (a record 158 runs between openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma) that set up the momentum for the rest of the game. I think that’s just about recognising those key moments and how we can slow their momentum down,”
New Zealand needs to win the next T20I in Rajkot about which Sodhi said,
“Every game we play, we try to put on our best performance and try to win for our country, and we’re going to approach the same way. We’ll come to the ground tomorrow, have a look at the wicket, distinguish how we’re going to play and hopefully combat the conditions well enough to come out on top. Being 0-1 down in a series is always tough, but it’s two games to come, and we’ll have to give our best shot,”
Sodhi was a part of the Kiwi squad which came for the World T20 in 2016 said that he has improved and the New Zealand ‘A’ tour has helped him to cope up with the conditions,
“I’d like to think that I’ve improved a lot since the last time I came here. Generally, the driving force is trying to improve, and I got 2 for 25 the other day. It’s been nice to spend extra time here with the A team, so the acclimatisation has been a lot easier since the last time I was here. Regardless of the team we put out; I think we’re really lucky with the resources to take on most conditions in the world and hopefully we’ll do that tomorrow,”