India drew first blood in the five-match T20I series against New Zealand with a commanding six-wicket win at Eden Park in Auckland.
After being put in to bat, the Kiwis posted a massive 203/5 with the help of half-centuries from the likes of Colin Munro, Ross Taylor and skipper Kane Williamson.
Despite losing the early wicket of Rohit Sharma, India kept the required run-rate in check as KL Rahul and Virat Kohli combined for a 115 run partnership while Shreyas Iyer stepped up with a career-defining knock and stayed unbeaten on 58 off 29 balls as India crossed the finish line with an over to spare.
The scene remains in Auckland for the 2nd T20 international with the game set to be played this Sunday on January 26. Another run-fest is on the cards given the firepower both teams possess in their ranks and batting second will once again be the obvious choice for both sides given the history of this ground.
India should remain unchanged for this contest but might consider speedster Navdeep Saini in place of Mohammad Shami, who conceded 53 runs in his four-overs quota last night. Moreover, Rishabh Pant could continue waiting in the wings for an opportunity this series given Rahul’s emergence behind the stumps and the balance he brings to the Playing XI.
On the other hand, New Zealand may look to make some immediate changes in their bowling attack with Hamish Bennett the most likely individual to be axed in favour of Scott Kuggeleijn or Daryl Mitchell.
Martin Guptill will be one of the key players for the home side following a superb Super Smash campaign recently. Similarly, he holds an excellent record at Eden Park and is the all-time highest T20I run-getter with 538 runs at an average of almost 45.
Three of the last six encounters at this venue have been won by the team chasing while India have won both the games they have played here. The action will shift to Hamilton for the 3rd T20I before both teams head to Wellington and the series will conclude next weekend in Mount Maunganui.