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NEW DELHI: India defeated New Zealand by 53 runs at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium here on Wednesday to take 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Defending 203, India restricted New Zealand to 149/8 in the first T20I, putting up an allround performance in what was Ashish Nehra’s final international match.
Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal (2/26) and Axar Patel (2/20) picked up two wickets each while the pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya took one wicket apiece.
This is India’s first ever win against New Zealand in the format – first in six matches.
Earlier, a record opening partnership between Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma powered India to 202/3.Invited to bat, Dhawan, who hit a career-best 80, and Sharma, who also made 80, put together 158 runs to give the hosts a resounding start in the three-match series.
The pair put up India’s best partnership for any wicket in T20s, surpassing the 136-run opening show between Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir against England in the 2007 World Cup.
Indian batsmen also benefited from a sloppy effort by New Zealand fielders with Dhawan, on eight, and Sharma, on 16, surviving dropped chances.
Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi got Dhawan caught behind in the 17th over but the swashbuckling opener had done enough damage with 10 fours and 2 sixes in his 52-ball knock.
Sodhi also got Hardik Pandya for nought two balls later but the unstoppable Sharma, who hit 6 fours and 4 sixes, continued to entertain a raucous home crowd.
Sharma fell to fast bowler Trent Boult in the penultimate over but skipper Virat Kohli, who was also dropped on eight, finished unbeaten on 26 off 11 deliveries.