There couldn’t be a more significant start for coach Rahul Dravid and skipper Rohit Sharma than a series triumph against an old foe, which helped them strike the proper chord at the outset of their relationship.
India will hope to clinch the series in the second T20 International against New Zealand on Friday in Ranchi, but with a more impactful batting effort from the middle order.
Great start for a fresh team and management
A superb top-order performance and controlled bowling at the back end ensured a five-wicket victory over the Black Caps, ending the ‘Men in Blue’s seven-match losing streak across forms.
Before taking a much-needed two-and-a-half-week vacation from the game, Rohit would like to seal the deal at Ranchi and go for the jugular when the teams meet in Kolkata for the series finale.
Suryakumar Yadav took full advantage of the opportunity at number three in the absence of Virat Kohli, who is now on leave, with a match-winning 62 off 42 balls.
While there is no reason to panic, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant’s scratchy batting slightly disrupted the pursuit, albeit it was never out of hand.
Shreyas, who is playing for India after a long absence, appeared rusty as he struggled to centre the ball. He also didn’t seem interested in farming the strike with singles and twos when huge shots weren’t falling.
In the penultimate over, Shreyas scored five off eight balls before being removed by Tim Southee, but India’s high run rate kept the chase in their hands.
Suryakumar, whose precision hits pleased the packed crowd at Sawai Man Singh Stadium, was undoubtedly a silver lining.
The performance of senior bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravichandran Ashwin, who were excellent in terms of hitting the right spots while some of the rookie bowlers surrendered runs, was also a significant plus.