New Delhi, Nov 1 (IANS) India rode on a record opening partnership to post a mammoth 202/3 against New Zealand in the opening clash of the three-match T20 International (T20I) series at the Ferozshah Kotla here on Wednesday.
Put into bat, Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma decimated the Kiwi bowling by bringing up a 158-run first wicket stand in just 16 overs.
While Dhawan belted a 52-ball 80, to eclipse his previous highest T20I score of 60, Rohit continued his glorious form to smash a 55-ball 80, comprising six boundaries and four sixes.
The right-left duo started off cautiously, putting on 46 runs in the powerplay before pressing the accelerator.
Dhawan started off with two boundaries off Trent Boult in the second over before being dropped off an uppish drive by Mitchell Santner at point.
Santner had the ball in his hands but failed to latch on to it as Dhawan accumulated a quick couple of runs.
Rohit was quick to catch up with his partner, launching Tim Southee for a six to start off before riding his luck immediately after the powerplay, when Southee dropped a sitter at the long-off boundary off Colin de Grandhomme.
With the dew setting in, the New Zealanders found it tough to grip the ball, which was well utilised by the Indian duo, reaching 80/0 midway through the innings.
Dhawan had by now reached his third T20 fifty with a single off an inside edge off Santner, who cramped him for room.
The southpaw turned up the heat by smashing a couple of sixes even as Rohit got to his 12th T20I half century by clobbering Santner for a maximum and two consecutive boundaries as India’s score crossed the 150-run mark in no time.
Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, who was till now at the receiving end of Dhawan’s onslaught, got the better of the southpaw with a googly outside off.
Dhawan’s 52-ball knock, comprising 10 fours and two sixes, was ended when he failed to connect the ball and instead nicked back to stumper Tom Latham.
Two balls later, Sodhi packed the dangerous Hardik Pandya (0), who was promoted up to accelerate the scoring rate.
With 3.2 overs left, skipper Virat Kohli (26 off 11 balls) walked into the middle amid loud cheers from the capacity crowd and immediately launched de Grandhomme into the stands over long-on for a maximum.
It was simply not New Zealand’s night in the field as Martin Guptill dropped a running catch of Kohli’s mistimed swipe at deep midwicket.
The India captain used the life to full advantage belting Boult for a six before Rohit sent the bowler to the third man boundary.
Rohit, however perished in the very next ball caught behind by Latham with India comfortably placed at 183/3.
The dismissal of Rohit brought in former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who sent his first ball flying out to deep midwicket to remain unbeaten on 7 off two balls.
Brief Scores: India 202/3 (Shikhar Dhawan 80, Rohit Sharma 80, Virat Kohli 26; Ish Sodhi 2/25) vs New Zealand.
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