All-rounder Daryl Mitchell and opener Devon Conway smashed fine half-centuries and propelled New Zealand to 176/6 against India in the first T20I of the three-match series at the JSCA International Stadium, here on Friday.
Conway made a 35-ball 52, laced with seven fours and a six and attacked well against the spinners. On the other hand, Mitchell opened up in the later half of the innings to finish on 59 not out off 30 balls, hitting three fours and fives sixes. He also took 27 runs off the final over by Arshdeep Singh to inject some momentum in the innings after losing wickets in quick succession in the middle overs.
For India, Washington Sundar and Kuldeep Yadav gave away a combined 56 runs while picking three wickets, while the fast bowlers gave away 119 runs despite picking as many wickets as their spin counterparts.
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Put into bat first, opener Finn Allen got going by hitting back-to-back boundaries off Hardik Pandya in the opening over. With no help available for the bowlers, Allen brought out a straight drive against a wayward Arshdeep, before Conway drove wide of point to make it two boundaries off the over.
Arshdeep came under further attack as Allen thumped a flat six over mid-off, before getting a four off the outer edge over short third man in the fourth over. After sweeping Washington over deep mid-wicket for six, Allen tried a similar shot, but holed out to deep mid-wicket in the final over of power-play.
One brought two for India as Sundar sowed seeds of doubt in Mark Chapman and then bowled a straighter delivery which the left-handed batter couldn't keep it down, as the off-spinner took a stunning diving catch to send him back for a four-ball duck.
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Conway opened up when he took two fours and a six off Umran Malik in the eighth over, with the pick-up shot over square leg for the maximum being a standout. He timed his sweeps well against Kuldeep and Deepak Hooda while whipping off his pads for picking three boundaries quickly.
Glenn Phillips too tried to sweep off Kuldeep, against whom he had a troubled time in the match. But he gave a massive top-edge to deep mid-wicket in the 13th over. Despite not having much strike initially, Conway paced himself well to complete his fifty in 31 balls.
Mitchell got going by smashing sixes off Hardik over wide long-on and straight down the ground in the 17th over. But in the next over, Conway fell for 52, mistiming the loft to long-off against Arshdeep. Two balls later, a brilliant direct hit from Ishan Kishan caught Michael Bracewell short of his crease at striker's end.
Skipper Mitchell Santner couldn't do much, hooking straight to deep mid-wicket off Shivam Mavi in the 19th over.
In the final over, Mitchell hit perfectly-timed sixes off Arshdeep over long-on, backward square leg and wide long-on, including a no-ball on the first ball, to get his fifty in 26 balls. He then sliced wide of point for four, before taking four runs in next three balls to make it 27 runs off the final over and set a challenging target for India.
Brief Scores: New Zealand 176/6 in 20 overs (Daryl Mitchell 59 not out, Devon Conway 52; Washington Sundar 2/22, Kuldeep Yadav 1/20) against India