India's continued their unbeaten run at Eden Park with a 6-wicket win in the first T20I. This was some achievement, not only because New Zealand have always been India's bogey in this format, but also because they are coming off a hectic fortnight of cricket at home, followed by a long flight and almost no break.
India had to chase 204, and KL Rahul (56 in 27 balls) and Virat Kohli (45 in 32) set up the perfect base for that, adding 99 in 50 balls for the second wicket. They lost 3 quick wickets before Shreyas Iyer finished things off in a flurry of boundaries with a 29-ball 58 not out.
However, all that happened on a flat pitch where three New Zealanders – Colin Munro, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor – had scored fifties earlier in the day. There was little in the surface to bother the batsmen, who hit across the line without any discomfort.
The second ODI, to be played at the same ground, is likely to be another runfest. Big hitters will come into play again, as will bowlers specialising in the format.
The teams are evenly matched; New Zealand just hold the home advantage.
Head to head
New Zealand had held a 5-0 lead over India at one point, but as of now the difference reads 8-4. New Zealand lead 4-2 on home soil but both India's wins have come at Eden Park.
Hamish Bennett (New Zealand): On a flat wicket, Bennett demonstrated on debut what the fuss around him was about. Canny variations of pace and a well-disguised knuckle ball will make him an interesting spectacle on the day.
Shreyas Iyer (India): India have persisted with Iyer for the No. 4 slot, and Iyer has repaid the faith every now and then. His fleet-footed adaptability at the crease makes him dangerous, especially towards the end of the innings.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Tim Seifert (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Hamish Bennett.
India: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul (wk), Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah.
New Zealand to win and level the series.