India’s Virat Kohli continued to torment New Zealand with the bat, hitting an unbeaten 85 to secure a six-wicket victory with nearly 17 overs to spare in the first one-day international at Dharamsala on Sunday.
India’s bowlers laid the foundations for a comprehensive win when they dismissed New Zealand for a meagre 190 inside 44 overs but the chase, at one stage, looked far from a cakewalk.
Ajinkya Rahane (33) and Rohit Sharma (14) put on 49 runs for the opening wicket, but New Zealand did not throw in the towel, reducing India to 102-3 in the 20th over.
Kohli, whose double century in Indore helped India complete a 3-0 whitewash in the test series against the Kiwis, then added 60 runs with ODI skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (21) to take the game away from the tourists.
The duo went about accumulating runs with a mixture of caution and aggression.
Dhoni was run out after an almighty mix-up but Kohli stayed put, before sealing the win with a massive six off Ish Sodhi. Kohli’s 81-ball knock also included nine boundaries.
Trent Boult had a chance to catch Kohli, then on 60, off his own bowling but spilled the ball.
Earlier, Tom Latham’s unbeaten 79 and Tim Southee’s maiden half-century helped New Zealand recover from 65-7 and reach 190 before the tourists were all out in the 44th over.
India had flexed their spin muscles in the preceding test series but it was their pacemen who blew away the Kiwi top order on Sunday after Dhoni elected to field.
Hardik Pandya (3-31) made an eventful start to his one-day career, conceding three boundaries in his first five deliveries before dismissing Martin Guptill (12) with the sixth.
He and Umesh Yadav (2-31) combined to reduce New Zealand to 48-5 in the 13th over before the spinners joined the party.
Off-spinner Kedar Jadhav dismissed Jimmy Neesham and Mitchell Santner off successive deliveries and leg-spinner Amit Mishra (3-49) sent back Doug Bracewell to leave New Zealand tottering at 106-8 in the 32nd over.
Yadav dropped Southee (55) when on two, and the batsman made the most of the reprieve, smashing three sixes in his 45-ball cameo as he and Latham added an innings-high 71 runs for the ninth wicket to lend some respectability to the score.
Latham’s unbeaten knock included seven boundaries and a six.