Hamilton: After coming close on three occasions to beat India in the ongoing tour, New Zealand were finally able to cross the line and taste victory as they defeated the Men in Blue by four wickets in the first ODI at the Seddon Park on Wednesday. Seasoned campaigner Ross Taylor anchored New Zealand’s chase of 348 by scoring a brilliant hundred. He was well supported by Henry Nicholls and stand-in captain Tom Latham as the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
The Black Caps started off the chase on a cautious note as both Martin Guptill and Nicholls played with intent. Such was the determination from Guptill (32) that he scored just two boundaries in 41 balls before getting out to Shardul Thakur on the team score of 85.
Debutant Tom Blundell, who came in first down, didn’t have a great outing and was stumped by KL Rahul at his individual score of 9. At that point of time, the match appeared to be heading in India’s favour.
However, it was then that Taylor brought in all his experience and alongwith Nicholls shared a 62-run stand. After Nicholls’ dismissal who was sent back to the pavilion courtesy some brilliant fielding efforts from Virat Kohli, Latham joined forces with Taylor and steered the team towards victory.
The match did seem to once again turn towards India as New Zealand lost two wickets in quick succession and brought the crowd to the edge of the seats. However Mitchell Santner smashed two boundaries in Thakur’s 48th over and erased hopes of any upset.