Hero of the day: Yuvraj Singh congratulates Virat Kohli after the end of play in Guwahati
A CENTURY from Virat Kohli helped India secure a convincing 40-run victory in the first one-day international against New Zealand yesterday.
India’s total of 276 looked enough, and New Zealand were out of contention at 169 for 8 after 36 overs before a quick ninth-wicket partnership of 67 between Nathan McCullum and Kyle Mills offered them a glimmer of hope.
But McCullum’s dismissal in the 45th over allowed India to bowl the tourists out for 236 and finish as easy winners in gloomy conditions at the Nehru Stadium in Guwahati.
Kohli’s 105 was the highlight of the game, with the right-handed number three scoring 100 off 100 balls before falling to Andy McKay, New Zealand’s most effective bowler, when caught by Jamie How in the 43rd over.
“It feels good. I had a kind of a lean patch in Sri Lanka recently, the team-mates and coach backed me. I would like to thank them,” Kohli said.
“I try to probably stop myself if I feel like playing a big shot and enjoy the singles.”
McKay pinned India back with four wickets for 62 runs, as the hosts’ stand-in captain Gautam Gambhir scored 38 and Murali Vijay and Yusuf Pathan both contributed with 29 each.
“Leading the first side and to get the first win under your belt is very satisfying,” Gambhir said. “Everyone chipped in and Virat went on to score a big one. I am happy with the team’s effort.
“We also would have bowled first on this wicket as there was a lot for the bowlers. So the game plan was to just stay there and try not to lose too many in the first ten overs.”
India’s regular captain MS Dhoni was rested along with other top stars such as Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh for the start of the five-match series.
New Zealand’s regular captain Daniel Vettori was also missing due to back stiffness following the three-game Test series between the teams, which India won 1-0 with victory in Nagpur.
Ross Taylor took over Vettori’s post, and top scored with 66 as his side struggled to keep up with the required run rate of 5.66 an over.
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