India beat New Zealand in high-scoring T20 opener

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Shreyas Iyer proved his mettle once again as India chased down 204 with six wickets in hand to win the first T20 against New Zealand in Auckland on Friday.

AUCKLAND — KL Rahul extended his fine run at the top of order while middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer proved his mettle once again as India chased down 204 with six wickets in hand to win the first T20 against New Zealand here on Friday.

The Kiwis posted a challenging score of 203-5 but the Indians were in control throughout the chase, maintaining a run rate of over 10 to win with one over to spare.

Rahul hit 56 from just 27 balls with four fours and three sixes as opener while Iyer anchored the chase after the departure of captain Virat Kohli for 45.

Iyer remained unbeaten on 58 off 29 balls with five fours and three sixes to not only seal the win but also his spot in the Indian middle order in white-ball cricket.

Kiwi leg-spinner Ish Sodhi (2-36) seemed to have turned the match in the hosts' favor when he dismissed Shivam Dube and gave away just two runs in the 14th over to leave India needing 60 from 36 balls.

But Iyer changed the course of the game by hitting Sodhi for four and a six in the bowler's final over. The visitors needed 18 from the last two overs and the Mumbai batsman finished the game by depositing veteran seamer Tim Southee on either side of the pitch for two sixes and a four.

It was another high-scoring T20 game at Eden Park where the Kiwis posted a challenging score, thanks to superb fifties from veterans Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor.

Captain Williamson made 51 from 26 balls with four bourndaries and sixes. Taylor wasn't too far behind either, making an unbeaten 54 from 27 balls with three fours and three sixes.

Captain Kohli said he was simply glad to get a win under his belt on a flat pitch and after landing in the country just two days earlier.

"Just landing two days ago and playing a game like this sets it up for the whole tour. We never spoke of jet lag. We don't want to use it as an excuse. You can't be harsh on anyone on this kind of pitch. I think we did well in the middle overs, to restrict them under 210 was a good effort," Kohli said.

The second of the five T20Is will be played on Sunday, Jan. 26 at the same venue. — Agencies


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