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Virat Kohli celebrates reaching his 37th half-century AFP

The gruelling 5-day cricket was over, and now it was time for 50-over format to commence. India after convincingly winning the 3-Test series, 3-0 versus New Zealand, were now focused on demolishing the visitors in five-One-Day International (ODI) series. MS Dhoni took over reins from Virat Kohli. Dhoni was last seen playing for India in Florida against the West Indies. With a handful of changes in the team, Dhoni was looking to build a team for the future tournaments. New Zealand on the other hand, had a few reinforcement coming into the side in the form of Corey Anderson and Tim Southee. India won the toss, and Dhoni did not hesitate to bowl first with the dew factor playing prominent role in his decision. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs New Zealand, 1st ODI at Dharamsala

New Zealand meandered towards the 190 runs mark with help from the sturdy Tom Latham and a cameo show by Southee. India in reply looked in complete control of their chase with Kohli continuing his merry run with the bat, achieving his 37th half-century. India won the match by 6-wickets, remained unchallenged with almost 17.1 overs still remaining in their innings.

Hardik Pandya‘s dream debut: Hardik Pandya, who has been a regular with the Twenty20 (T20) outfit finally got a chance to represent India in the 50-over format. Pandya was handed his ODI cap by India’s first ever world cup winning captain Kapil Dev. Pandya came into the attack in only the second over of the day. New Zealand’s maverick Martin Guptill took the debutant apart smashing him for 3 boundaries in a span of 5 deliveries.

Pandya did not get disheartened by this and had the last laugh getting the wicket of Guptill in his final delivery of the very over. Guptill gave into Pandya ‘s off-stump line. Pandya was soon into action as he nabbed his second wicket in the form of Corey Anderson. More than Pandya it was Umesh Yadav’s wicket who took a scorcher at mid-off. Pandya rounded off his third wicket in the form of Luke Ronchi. It was again the combination of Pandya and Yadav that did the trick. ALSO READ: Virat Kohli powers India to 6-wicket win at Dharamsala

Kedar Jadhav’s golden arm : Kedar Jadhav who had just one wicket in 71 First-Class games got a chance to bowl his arm for the first time in his minimal ODI career. MS Dhoni called upon Jadhav much ahead of the experienced Amit Mishra and ODI regular Akshar Patel. Jadhav came into bowl the 16th over, missed out on getting a wicket in his first over itself.

Jadhav came back strongly in his second over getting 2 crucial wickets for his side in back-to-back deliveries. James Neesham became Jadhav’s first victim, with the ball to stick on the pitch, it came at ta slower pace towards the batsman. Neesham mistimed the ball and handed Jadhav a simple caught and bowl. Mitchell Santner who would have hoped for some resistance, got out in his first delivery. Santner tried to cut a fuller length ball only managing to give Dhoni an easy catch.

Jadhav was denied a hat-trick by Doug Bracewell.

Tom Latham’s marathon knock: Coming off from a decent show in the Test series, Tom Latham would have hoped for a good outing in the ODIs. Latham who was send into open the batting by New Zealand, stayed all throughout their innings only to see his colleagues fall like a pack of cards. Latham batted unlike the 21st century batsmen. Latham used his height to good use, coming back and forward to the spinners. Latham curbed his natural instinct after watching his teammates go back into the pavilion at the rate of knots.

Latham added 41 runs for the eighth wicket along with Doug Bracewell, but where he really came into play was the ninth wicket partnership with Southee. Latham contributed just 13 runs in a stand of 71. Latham went on to achieve his fifth ODI half-century in 77 balls. During the fag end of the innings Latham did show that his has all the glory shots in his arsenal managing to hit a massive six off Amit Mishra.

Latham remained unbeaten on 79* helping his team reach 190 in 50-overs, with this he became the only New Zealand batsmen to carry his bat all through-out the innings.

Tim Southee‘s 45-ball blitz: Coming into bat at No. 9, Southee was not expected to last long. Southee who is returning from an injury, displayed his love for India. Southee came in with New Zealand at 108 for 8, almost powered India out of game. Southee has a reputation of being a strong hitter of the ball, his batting exploits for Chennai Super Kings are well versed, and that to in Indian conditions.

Southee went berserk on the Indian bowler. Southee took a liking to Akshar Patel and Amit Mishra. Southee did not crumble under pressure and went on to secure a blitz half-century. Southee reached his maiden fifty in in 40 balls with five four’s and 3 massive sixes. Southee’s stand with Latham saved New Zealand early blues, and gave his teammates some chance to get back into the game. ALSO READ: Amit Mishra scalps his 50th ODI wicket

Ajinkya Rahane’s run-a-ball 33: Chasing a paltry 191 runs to win, Ajinkya Rahane came out to open with Rohit Sharma. Rahane who is fresh from missing out on a double-ton in the Indore Test, looked smooth and lucid in his knock. Rahane did not miss out on any loose deliveries thrown towards him by the New Zealand bowlers. Remember a chunk of Rahane’s bat broke away in only the fourth ball into his innings. Rahane used his reach to near perfection, pulling Bracewell for a 2-massive sixes in the same over, apart from also using his wrists to absolute precision. Rahane made 33 runs from 34 balls to help India gain a good start.

Virat Kohli‘s lively half-century: India’s No.1 batsmen across formats Virat Kohli came into bat in the 9th over, after the fall of Rohit’s wicket. Rahane was going all-guns blazing at one end which enabled Kohli to take it slow and settle in before opening his arm (even though he opened his innings with a blistering cover drive for a boundary). After the fall of Rahane, it was upon Kohli to guide his team to victory, which was nothing new to him. Kohli made sure he got his reflexes well oiled and dealed in singles and two’s by the time he reached 30 runs.

Post 30-run mark Kohli stamped his authority on the game and cracked few of most exquisite looking boundaries en-route his 37th ODI half-century. Kohli combined a 60-run stand with Dhoni to settle any nerves the team or the fans had. Even though Kohli was responsible for Dhoni’s wicket he ensured that the team got past New Zealand’s target. Kohli went the Dhoni way to finish off the game in style with a massive six over the bowlers’ head.

(Vishal Mehra is a journalist with CricketCountry, who enjoys his weekly dose of anime, monthly viewing of sitcoms, daily playing of cricket once every few hours moon, and currently venturing into table-tennis . His twitter handle is @capturethecatch)