Tim Seifert smashed a blistering 43-ball 84 and Tim Southee’s three-wicket haul helped New Zealand to register an 80-run win against India in the first T20 International match at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Wednesday (February 6) and secure a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series. 

India won the toss and chose to field first. Tim Seifert and Colin Munro started hitting from the very beginning. Due to their stormy innings, New Zealand managed to score 66 within the powerplay without the loss of any wicket. In the eighth over, Seifert hit towards mid-wicket off Krunal Pandya and scored his maiden T20I half-century. But the very next ball caused Munro’s dismissal.
Munro and Seifert added 86 runs before Munro got dismissed while trying to hit over long-on. His 34 came off 20 balls with 2 fours and 2 sixes. Their opening partnership became the second highest partnership against India after Colin Munro and Martin Guptill’s 105 in 2017. Munro, who was struggling against Mohammed Shami in the ODI series, played a crucial knock in T20Is. He is the only batsman to hit three centuries in T20Is.

However, Seifert didn’t slow down his inning and hit Krunal Pandya for two more sixes in his last over to help New Zealand went past the 100-run mark. Yuzvendra Chahal too couldn’t make any impression as Seifert kept hitting all around the park. The right-hander, however, dropped by Dinesh Karthik in the 11th over but couldn’t score a century as he was bowled by Khaleel Ahmed after an impressive 84 off 43 with seven fours and six over-boundaries.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson too played a crucial role and scored 34 off 22 before getting dismissed in Chahal’s delivery. After that, wickets started falling at a regular interval. New Zealand lost Daryl Mitchell (8), Colin de Grandhomme (3) and Taylor (14-ball 23) in quick succession. They were 164/3 after 15 overs and soon reduced to 190/5. Their innings never looked dull after falling the wickets. 

Scott Kuggeleijn played a quickfire 20* off 7 with three fours and a six in the last two overs and helped his side to put up 219 after 20 overs. Their score was the highest T20I score on that ground so far.

While chasing the huge total, India needed a flying start. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan started the innings with a great form as Dhawan hit Kuggeleijn for 16 runs in his very first over. But that didn’t last too long as Tim Southee gave the first breakthrough to his team by picking up Rohit for 1 in the third over.

Vijay Shankar was promoted in the batting order and came to the crease at number 3 but couldn’t play the anchor’s role. Just when both the batters started to build a solid partnership, Lockie Ferguson picked up Dhawan for 18-ball 29. Rishabh Pant got the chance in the playing XI but failed to impress with the bat and only managed 4 runs off 10 balls before misjudging the delivery from Mitchell Santner.

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Vijay Shankar was next to follow; who was dismissed by Kuggeleijn, after scoring 27 runs. India were reduced to 65/4 after 9 overs and the pressure fell upon on former captain MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik. Karthik, who had a bad day on the field earlier, couldn’t do much with the bat too. Legspinner Ish Sodhi took Karthik’s wicket for 5 while Southee took an amazing catch. All-rounder Hardik Pandya was next to fell for mere 4.

India were struggling at 77/6 and with 143 required to win the match in the last nine overs, Dhoni and Krunal Pandya tried to steady the ship. Both hit a couple of big shots and added 52 runs before Krunal fell for 20 off 18 in Southee’s deliveries. Dhoni fell in the last ball of the penultimate over after top-scoring39 off 31. By then the game was out of India’s hand and India faced their biggest defeat against New Zealand.


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