Ashish Nehra ended his international career on a high with India winning their first game over New Zealand in T20 cricket.
Virat Kohli and co. have never achieved a victory against New Zealand in the T20 format. The first game of the T20 series played at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi was not just an ordinary game as it was labeled Ashish Nehra final game in Indian colors to end his career spanning almost two decades.
India started off the well with the bat as the hosts posted 202 runs on the board. New Zealand could not get going as they could manage 149 runs to see India win the game by 53 runs. Shikhar Dhawan led the way with for India crunching two boundaries off Trent Boult to see the side get off to a good start. He put on a mammoth opening stand of 158 runs with Sharma to see India get a big score on the board. Dhawan and Sharma both scored 80 runs while Virat Kohli played a brisk cameo of unbeaten 26 runs.
In reply, Colin Munro and Martin Guptill failed to get going as New Zealand slumped to 18 for 2 in 3.4 overs. Kane Williamson and Tom Latham decided to rebuild the innings and provide hope for Kiwis to get result of the game. But unfortunately, Williamson was dismissed for 28 runs by pacer Hardik Pandya to see New Zealand needing 150 runs off 10 overs with Henry Nicholls and Colin de Grandhomme left with the all the work to do with the bat. Latham has been standout player for the side in this tour but he eventually departed for 38 runs to see New Zealand crawl their way to score 149 runs off 20 overs. Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi played well but it was too late as India registered their first win over New Zealand in the T20 format.
Ashish Nehra bowled well in his final game for India and produced many variations to keep the batsmen work hard for their runs. He could have got the wicket of Munro but Pandya spilled a difficult chance to see Nehra go wicket-less from his four-overs. Virat Kohli also produced a valiant effort in the fielding as he tried to take a blinder at mid-off in order to dismiss Williamson and failed to get hold of it in the end.
Rohit started slowly with the bat while Dhawan got off to a flier, by producing regular boundaries in the first couple of overs in front of his home crowd. Dhawan looked in complete control as he smashed the New Zealand bowlers to all parts of the ground. New Zealand premier bowlers in Trent Boult and Tim Southee failed to produce good lines as dew made it tough to grip the ball. Colin de Grandhomme also went for a lot of runs.
The New Zealand spin duo of Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi bowled well in tough condition as they conceded only 55 runs from their share of eight overs between them. Santner was decent but could get any wickets in this game. Kohli also added another record to his name as he went on to become second highest run getter in the T20 cricket after surpassing Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan.
In the end, it was befitting tribute to left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra who ended his international career in style with India winning the game by a big margin.