Hamilton [New Zealand]:: Ross Taylor and Tom Latham played knocks of 109 and 69, respectively, as New Zealand defeated India by four wickets in the first ODI of the three-match series here at the Seddon Park on Wednesday.
Chasing 348, New Zealand got off to a steady start as openers Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls put on 85 runs for the first wicket, however, India finally got the breakthrough in the 16th over as Shardul Thakur dismissed Guptill (32).
Tom Blundell and Nicholls then put on 24 runs for the second wicket, but their vigil came to an end in the 20th over as Kuldeep Yadav had Blundell (9) stumped at the hands of wicket-keeper KL Rahul, reducing Kiwis to 109/2.
Nicholls then retrieved the innings for the hosts as he found support in Ross Taylor. The duo mixed caution with aggression to stitch together a partnership of 62 runs. But with their back against the wall, skipper Kohli lifted the side up as he ran out Nicholls (78) in the 29th over, reducing New Zealand to 171/3.
Skipper Tom Latham, came out to bat next, and he increased the tempo of the Kiwi innings. He took a special liking to Kuldeep and kept on sweeping him to pick easy boundaries on the legside.
Taylor and Latham put on a stand of 138 runs to take Kiwis closer to victory. But with 39 runs away from the target, Kuldeep dismissed Latham (69) to revive India's hopes of making a comeback.
Mohammed Shami removed Jimmy Neesham (9) in the 46th over while Colin de Grandhomme (1) was sent packing via a run-out to send cat among the pigeons in the Kiwi camp. In the end, Mitchell Santner and Taylor took the hosts over the line by four wickets and with 11 balls to spare.
Earlier, Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul's knocks of 103 and 88, respectively, helped India post 347/4 in the allotted twenty overs.
After being put in to bat, India got off to a quickfire start as openers Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal put on 50 runs. Colin de Grandhomme finally provided the breakthrough to the Kiwis as he sent Shaw (20) back to the pavilion in the eighth over.
Agarwal (32) was also dismissed soon after by Tim Southee and the Men in Blue were reduced to 54/2 in the ninth over.
Skipper Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer then retrieved the innings for the visitors as the duo put on 102 runs for the third wicket. Kohli brought up his 58th half-century in the 28th over.
Ish Sodhi got the crucial breakthrough of Kohli (51) in the 29th over as he clean bowled him to reduce India to 156/3. However, Iyer continued to march on and brought up his maiden ODI century in the 43rd over.
KL Rahul, who came in to bat at number five provided the much-needed impetus to the innings. He along with Iyer put on a stand of 136 runs for the fourth wicket.
Iyer (103) was finally sent back to the pavilion by Southee in the 46th over, reducing India to 292/4.
In the final overs, Rahul and Kedar Jadhav hammered the Kiwi players to take India's score past the 340-run mark. Jadhav remained unbeaten on 26.
New Zealand 348/6 (Ross Taylor 109*, Henry Nicholls 78, Kuldeep Yadav 2-84) defeat India 347/4 (Shreyas Iyer 103, KL Rahul 88*, Tim Southee 2-85) by four wickets.