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India lose 1st T20 to New Zealand by 80 runs

India lost the first T20 International against New Zealand by 80 runs in Wellington on Wednesday

IANS/PTI

India lost the first T20 International against New Zealand by 80 runs in Wellington on Wednesday.

Chasing a mammoth 220-run target for victory, the Indian batsmen failed to show fight against a disciplined Kiwi bowling attack as the entire team was bowled out for 139 runs in 19.2 overs. Mahendra Singh Dhoni top-scored for India with a 31-ball 39.

Put in to bat, New Zealand made 219/6 with unheralded opener Tim Seifert smashing 84 off 43 balls.

Seifert, whose previous best score in T20 Internationals happens to be 14, was promoted to open alongside Colin Munro (34 off 20 balls) and they added 86 runs in only 8.2 overs in a whirlwind start.

Seifert's knock had seven fours and half a dozen of sixes, setting the tone for a big total.

Seifert showed the intent straightaway as he gave Bhuvneshwar Kumar the charge as he picked the knuckle ball early, dispatching it over mid-wicket for a six. The next shot was a four as he stood and hammered past the bowler.

With Munro hitting Khaleel Ahmed (1/48 in 4 overs) for two successive sixes, New Zealand were off to a blazing start scoring 44 off the first four overs.

Seifert was lucky to survive when Mahendra Singh Dhoni dropped a sharp chance as the batsman had edged one off Krunal Pandya (1/37 in 4 overs).

But he promptly put the next delivery into the stands moving across towards off and sweeping it over backward square leg.

There wasn't signs of overt footwork but he shuffled enough inside the crease to make room for the big shots and in the process disturb the line and length of the bowlers.

When Hardik Pandya (2/51 in 4 overs) drifted on the leg stump, he was flicked behind the square and when he pitched wide outside off-stump, he lofted him cover point region.

In Hardik's next over, he again hit the bowler for a boundary and a flicked six. In between, his elder brother Krunal was switch hit for a boundary.

The elder Pandya finally got a breakthrough as Munro was caught in the deep off Vijay Shankar.

But Seifert never let the momentum drop as he hit two more sixes off Krunal, who just kept on pushing the ball through a flatter trajectory.

The normally dependable Yuzvendra Chahal (1/35 in 4 overs) also was slog swept over mid-wicket for the sixth maximum apart from being hit over extra cover for a boundary.

Just when it looked that a century was there for the taking, Khaleel bowled one in the block hole coming wide off the crease to clean Seifert up.

Once Seifert was gone, skipper Kane Williamson (34 off 22 balls) took charge and Scott Kuggeliejn (20 no off 7 balls) finished with a flourish.

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Published: 6 Feb 2019, 4:00 PM