India beat New Zealand by 8 wickets in the first One-Day International to take 1-0 lead in the five match series here on Wednesday.
Electing to bat, New Zealand were bundled out for 157 at the McLean Park. In reply, India reached the revised target of 156 in 34.5 overs.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan top-scored for the visitors with a fine 75 off 103 balls. Skipper Kane Williamson was the highest scorer for the hosts with his 64-run knock.
India cruised to a comfortable eight-wicket win over New Zealand in the first ODI at Napier and took a 1-0 lead in the five match ODI series. Kuldeep Yadav (4/39), Yuzvendra Chahal (2/43) and Mohammad Shami (3/19) were the pick of the bowlers, restricting the Blackcaps to just 157 before Shikhar Dhawan ensured India didn’t have to face any hiccups in the small chase.
Shami struck early to remove Martin Guptill for a duck in the first over, starting off the tour with a wicket maiden. In his next over, he bowled Colin Munro to leave Williamson and Ross Taylor at the crease just 21 balls into the innings.
From the 13th over, the pair started to free their hands after withstanding pressure from the Indian bowlers, but the partnership was broken when Chahal soon caught and bowled Taylor for 24.
Initially set a target of 158 by New Zealand (which was later reduced to 156 after a bizarre stop in play owing to the sun), India never looked in trouble at any point during the chase.
On a two-paced pitch, Dhawan and Kohli made batting look easy as they punished the bad balls and kept rotating the strike whenever required.
With scoreboard pressure non-existent during the chase, India scored at around three runs an over till Shikhar Dhawan became the second fastest Indian to bring up 5000 career ODI runs.
Almost on cue, Dhawan upped the ante. He hit Tim Southee for two fours in the eighth over and dispatched Lockie Ferguson to the boundary in the ninth to accelerate the run-chase.
As the eleventh over started and with the score at 44-1, the umpires decided to call for a halt in play with the sun directly in the eye-line of the batsman, with conditions being deemed dangerous for play.
After a halt in play of about half an hour, the target was revised to 156, and the number of overs to 49 as Kohli and Dhawan came out to bat on 2 and 29 respectively. They carried on from where they left, finding the gaps at regular intervals and frustrating Ferguson and Bracewell.
Mitchell Santner and Tim Southee were brought into the attack to try and change things up after Ferguson was creamed for two fours in the 15th over by Kohli, but did not threaten him and Dhawan who were well settled by this point.
Dhawan soon brought up his 26th ODI fifty, marking a good start to the tour. New Zealand thought they had dismissed Kohli in the 25th over when he was given LBW off the bowling of Tim Southee, but the Indian captain took a review, and the decision was overturned with the snickometer showing an edge as the ball passed the bat.
Kohli was, however, dismissed for 45 off 59 balls in the 29th over off the bowling of Lockie Ferguson as he tried to hook a ball, with the ball nestling in the gloves of Tom Latham behind the
Ambati Rayudu then joined proceedings, with the pair of him and Dhawan taking India to a comfortable victory with 91 balls to spare.
The second ODI will be played on Saturday, January 26th at the Bay Oval.
New Zealand: 157 all out in 38 overs (Kane Williamson 64, Ross Taylor 24, Kuldeep Yadav 4/39, Mohammed Shami 3/19 )
India: 156/2 in 34.5 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 75*, Virat Kohli 45; Doug Bracewell 1/23, Lockie Ferguson 1/41)