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Virat Kohli celebrates reaching his 37th half-century AFP

India registered their first win over New Zealand in limited-overs cricket since January 2014, hammering New Zealand by 6 wickets to take a 1-0 lead in their five-match series on Sunday. Virat Kohli notched up his well-composed 37th half-century in One-Day International (ODI) cricket, as chasing a paltry 191 to win, the hosts achieved the target with just about 17 overs to spare. Ajinkya Rahane scored a brisk 33, and India captain MS Dhoni contributed with 21 runs as the hosts cruised to their first win in the series and fourth on the trot against the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand cricket team. The second ODI of the series will be played at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi, on Thursday, October 20. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs New Zealand, 1st ODI at Dharamsala

Kohli remained unbeaten on 85, which came off 81 balls, studded with 10 boundaries and a six. It was yet another special innings by the right-handed Indian batting mainstay, who curbed his attacking instinct in a contest where almost every other batsman from his side lost their wicket in order to get quick runs. The highlight of Kohli s 37th ODI fifty was the fact that he batted with a lot of caution against Tim Southee, but did not shy away from hitting the New Zealand pacer for two glorious boundaries later in the game when India had the contest in complete control. FULL CRICKET UPDATES AND BLOG: India Vs New Zealand, 1st ODI at Dharamsala

Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma provided India a confident and brisk start in their chase of 191. The two batsmen batted with command, with Rahane surprisingly taking the initiative and not Rohit. Rahane and Rohit added 49 runs for the first wicket, in about 9 overs. The Kiwis would have expected to get some purchase off the wicket at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Ground in Dharamsala, which had enough amount of grass for seamers to lick their lips.

The first run of the Indian innings came off a thick edge from Rohit s bat, with the ball beating the second slip and running down to the boundary. After a few quiet deliveries, Rahane pulled one short in the third over for a boundary and smacked two more boundaries in the next over from Doug Bracewell. In the sixth over from the same bowler, Rahane improvised even more, as the Kiwi bowler peppered him with short balls and the Indian batsman pulled two of them sixes.

However, Bracewell finally had something to smile about, when Rohit became ambitious and went for a stroke on a fuller delivery pitched in line of the wickets. There was no doubt that the ball would have crashed into his wickets, and Rohit s strange innings of 14 including a six and a four each off 26 balls ended in the 10th over. Rahane was going strong, but then, he chased one outside off from Jimmy Neesham on the first ball of the 13th over. Rahane would have been disappointed having thrown away his wicket after such a fine start.

Virat Kohli, who began with a cover drive for four took India past 100 with the help of Manish Pandey. The Indians did look in some sort of hurry as barring Kohli who as extra cautious against Tim Southee all other batsmen looked to score aggressively. Pandey fell in the 20th over of the chase, for 17 off 22 balls. Ish Sodhi had Pandey caught at short midwicket by captain Kane Williamson.

Meanwhile, Kohli continued to make most of the form he has attained following the double-century in the final Test at Indore. Kohli played the deliveries as per their merit, and since the asking rate was not going to daunt India at any point of time, the right-hander took it pretty easy. Rotating the strike on a regular basis and picking up boundaries on lose balls remained the specialty, with the highlights of this innings being a few straight strokes down the ground for boundaries.

Kohli added 60 runs for the fourth wicket with Dhoni, and their partnership had one of the most bizarre ends. When it comes to running between the wickets, there is hardly any pair in limited-overs cricket which can match this Indian pair. But on Sunday, out of nowhere, when everything was going alright for the Indians and they were looking set to win by at least 7 wickets, Kohli made a wrong call and Dhoni came halfway down the wicket. The skipper did not even try going back to his end, and was run-out for 24-ball 21 which included a fantastic six over deep fine-leg.

Earlier in the game, India bowled out New Zealand for a paltry total of 190 in 43.5 overs. Tom Latham became the first batsman from New Zealand to carry his bat in ODI cricket, as he remained unbeaten on 79. He added 71 extremely crucial runs with Tim Southee who smashed his first-ever half-century in ODI cricket and bailed New Zealand out of trouble. At one stage, it looked like New Zealand would not get past 100, but a 41-run stand with Doug Bracewell took the Kiwis close to the 100-run mark.

Indians were on fire with the ball, as their debutant Hardik Pandya began his ODI career with a spell of 7-0-31-3. Umesh Yadav bowled with a lot of venom, returning with the figures of 8-0-31-2. India had picked two specialist spinners in Amit Mishra and Akshar Patel, but Kedar Jadhav was used as a spinner before them, and the right-arm bowler surprised one and all with the figures of 3-0-6-2. Mishra, who was introduced only after the Kiwis lost 7 wickets, claimed 3 for 49 and became the quickest Indian spinner to take 50 ODI wickets.

Brief scores:

New Zealand 190 in 43.5 overs (Tom Latham 79*, Tim Southee 55; Umesh Yadav 2 for 31, Hardik Pandya 3 for 31, Kedar Jadhav 2 for 6, Amit Mishra 3 for 49) lost to India 194 for 4 in 33.1 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 33, Virat Kohli 85*; Ish Sodhi 1 for 34) by 6 wickets.

Man of the Match: Hardik Pandya

FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs New Zealand, 1st ODI at Dharamsala

In photos: India vs New Zealand, 1st ODI at Dharamsala

(Devarchit Varma is senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)