Dhoni, Sehwag shine in India’s win over Kiwis

March 3rd, 2009 - 6:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Napier, March 3 (IANS) India were back in the reckoning after their Twenty20 losses to New Zealand with a 53-run win over the hosts via the Duckworth-Lewis method in the rain-affected first one-day international here Tuesday.
Virender Sehwag’s blitzkrieg 77 of 56 balls, a brisk unbeaten knock of 84 from skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina’s 66 helped the visitors post a competitive 273 runs for four wickets in 38 overs.

The target was brought down to 216 off 28 overs for the Black Caps at the McLean Park but the hosts failed to get their act together and could get only 162 for the loss of nine wickets.

Earlier, India elected to bat with Sehwag on the offensive right from the start. The Indian opener was particularly harsh on Kyle Mills, who was making a comeback from an injury, before rain forced the players off the field after the fifth over.

On return, Sehwag (77) and Sachin Tendulkar (20) batted with urgency with India scoring 100 runs in 14 overs. Both the openers added 69 runs for the first wicket before Tendulkar stabbed an Ian Butler delivery to wicketkeeper to Brendon McCullum for 20.

Tendulkar’s fall brought Dhoni to the crease who kept the run-rate ticking with an unbeaten 84 that included six fours. He found able support in Suresh Raina (66) after Sehwag was caught off Daniel Vettori. Sehwag’s innings came off 56 balls and included 11 fours and a six.

Dhoni and Raina stitched together a brisk 100-run partnership before Raina was caught off Grant Elliott in the 35th over. Raina hit a quick-fire 66 off 39 balls including five fours and four sixes.

While chasing, New Zealand found themselves under pressure with Zaheer Khan and Praveen Kumar bowling a tight line. Praveen provided the early breakthrough by removing explosive opener Brendon McCullum for nought in the second over, caught at fine-leg by Harbhajan Singh.

Jesse Ryder was soon to follow and New Zealand found themselves struggling at 23 for two in eight over. A partnership of 58 between Martin Guptill (36 not out) and Ross Taylor (31) gave the New Zealand innings some hope before the latter fell while accelerating the score.

To make matters worse for the hosts, Grant Elliot was run out in the 21st over when covers had to be used again because of rain. At resumption New Zealand faced a seemingly impossible target of 105 runs from 43 balls to win the match. The hosts failed to live up to the task with their wickets falling like nine-pins.

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