Image Credit: BCCI/Twitter

Following a 3-0 humiliation in the ODI series, New Zealand have made a tremendous comeback, securing a 21-run victory in the opening game to start the T20I series against India. Sundar got a brilliant 50 off 28 balls while India were chasing a challenging 177-run total, but the Men in Blue were ultimately held to 155 for 9 in their 20 overs by the New Zealand bowling attack spearheaded by Mitchell Santner (2/11) and Michael Bracewell (2/31).

Despite being sent in on a surface that turned and being anticipated to bowl in the dew, New Zealand were able to score enough runs off India’s pace bowlers. New Zealand reached 176 after half-centuries from Daryl Mitchell and Devon Conway, as well as an early surge from Finn Allen. Kiwi opener Conway, who had struck a tasteful tonne in the third ODI in Indore, maintained his momentum by scoring a 35-ball 52. Meanwhile, Daryl Mitchell smashed an explosive 30-ball unbeaten 59.

India didn’t get off to the best of starts when chasing 177. Ishan Kishan was the first to depart, and soon after, Rahul Tripathi and Shubman Gill did the same. In the powerplay, India were three down and hopeless until Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya offered some fight. With a 68-run stand, Pandya and Suryakumar saved their team’s floundering ship, but once they were dismissed, the hosts’ lower order appeared clumsy in the last overs. Kiwi captain Santner (2/11) was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers and was supported well by Lockie Ferguson and Michael Bracwell to stall India’s inning at 155 for 9.

SKY and Sundar’s brave efforts went in vain

Washington Sundar, by far India’s finest player in the first T20I, excelled with both bat and ball but was unable to prevent the hosts from losing by 21 runs. Sundar demonstrated how deadly he can be with the bat by slamming his first T20I half-century in just 25 balls after his cunning spell of 2/22 in the first innings. Sundar beat Dinesh Karthik’s 26-ball 50 against South Africa from a year ago as the fastest half-century by an Indian batsman in a T20I at number 6 with a 25-ball half-century.

Suryakumar Yadav achieved a personal milestone with his 34-ball 47, despite the fact that he failed to lead India to a successful run chase yesterday. SKY have now surpassed MS Dhoni’s previous record of 1617 runs to move up to the fifth place in the top five T20I run scorers for India. With a total of 1625 runs, Suryakumar now ranks fifth in T20I runs scored after Virat Kohli (4008), Rohit Sharma (3853), KL Rahul (2225), and Shikhar Dhawan (1759).

Arshdeep had a bad day with the bat as well as the ball

Despite his best efforts, Arshdeep Singh had a bad day as he faced six dot balls while batting, which left the in-form Sundar to the non-striker end, denying him any chance to put more hits to India’s tally. The left-arm pacer, whose four overs of bowling saw him allow 51 runs, also did not aid India’s case in the first inning as well.

Arshdeep gave up 27 runs in the 20th and final over of the Kiwi inning, which was the most an Indian bowler had ever conceded in the final over of a T20I inning. The dreadful record was previously held by part-time off-spinner Suresh Raina, who in 2012 gave up 26 runs in the 20th over of an international T20 encounter between South Africa and India.