A below-par India slumped to their worst ever defeat in T20 Internationals as New Zealand outclassed the visitors in all departments to win the first match of the series by a comprehensive 80-run margin on Wednesday.
Batting first, unheralded keeper-batsman Tim Seifert took the Indian bowling apart blasting 84 off 43 balls as New Zealand posted a commanding 219 for six.
With the crack opening pair of skipper Rohit Sharma (1) and Shikhar Dhawan (29) departing within the Powerplay overs, the chase became a difficult one and India were all out for 139 in 19.2 overs.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (39 off 31 balls) did play his part but it was always an impossible chase with wickets falling at regular intervals at the other end. India had never lost a T20 International by 50 or more runs prior to this match. India’s previous worst was a 49-run loss to Australia back in 2010.
“We failed to get a good partnership. 200 was never going to be easy to chase,” said Rohit in the post-match presentation.
New Zealand bowlers kept the pressure on Indian batsmen, especially the two spinners — left-arm orthodox Mitchell Santner (2/24 in 4 overs) and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi (2/26 in 3 overs).
Senior pacer Tim Southee (3/17 in 4 overs) had the best figures among the bowlers and the best delivery of the match was bowled by Lockie Ferguson, who yorked Dhawan.
They kept the batsmen under tight check and for some like World Cup aspirant Rishabh Pant (4, 10 balls), it was a frustrating little stay in the middle and he simply couldn’t get going.