Batting first, New Zealand made 292-7 with Kane Williamson scoring 71 and Corey Anderson not out 68.
Mitchell McClenaghan took three wickets in two overs, including the key scalp of Virat Kohli for 123, to lead New Zealand to a 24-run win over India Sunday in the first one-day cricket international.
Kohli seemed on course to take India to victory in the first match of the five match series when he reached his 18th one-day century and shared a 95-run partnership with MS Dhoni (40) for the fifth wicket.
But when McClenaghan dismissed Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja (0) and Kohli in the space of six deliveries in the 43rd and 45th overs, the course of the match changed and India was all out for 268 in reply to New Zealand’s 292-7.
India lost its last six wickets for 44 runs and McClenaghan finished with 4-68.
New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum said he was faced with a “captain’s nightmare” when Kohli and Dhoni were together, managing India’s run chase with all of the benefit of their vast experience. He brought McClenaghan back to the bowling crease and asked him to bowl aggressively, even with hostility, in the hope of getting a vital breakthrough.
McClenaghan achieved just that when he had Dhoni caught by wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi with the third ball of the 43rd over then, as a bonus, had Jadeja caught in exactly the same fashion three balls later.
Kohli hit the first ball of McClenaghan’s next over for four then, in a rare mistake in a masterful innings, drove the next delivery — a full toss outside offstump — straight to Jesse Ryder at cover.
The method of dismissal was all the more significant because Ryder had dropped a catch from Kohli when the batsman was on 96, allowing him to progress to his century from 93 balls in what seemed a possible turning point in the match.
After posting his 18th century in 126 one-day matches — his fifth in 17 innings since July — Kohli seemed to be calmly guiding India to victory but his dismissal among with a small flurry of wickets allowed New Zealand to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
“We were in the game right to the end but those three wickets, me, Virat and Jadeja, was quite tough on the team,” Dhoni said. “You don’t expect your tailenders to win you games.
“It was important for one of us to carry on and they still had to bowl three overs of spin bowling and we could have targeted that but I think we lost too many in the last 10 overs.
“I think most of the batsmen played well today but I think if you get a decent start you have to make the most of it.”
Earlier, allrounder Corey Anderson provided another display of world-class power hitting, making an unbeaten 68 from 40 balls as New Zealand reached 292-7 from its 50 overs.
Anderson claimed the record for the fastest century in the history of one-day internationals, from 36 balls, during New Zealand’s recent series against the West Indies and showed Sunday that he can subject one of world cricket’s best attacks to similar punishment.
He reached his half century from 30 balls and put on 66 runs for the sixth wicket with Luke Ronchi (30) in a partnership that lasted only 6.1 overs.
Anderson was able to build on the solid foundation laid by Kane Williamson who made 72 and Ross Taylor who made 55 in a 121-run third-wicket partnership.
“I thought we had a par score to be honest,” McCullum said. “I thought the way India bowled at the end there restricted us from that 300-plus total but we were pretty comfortable at halftime.
“We knew we were going to have to bowl and field well. Virat’s innings was world class and we knew we had to get him out if we were serious about winning that game and fortunately Mitch came back and did a job for us removing both MS and Virat.”
Anderson’s innings included four fours and three monstrous sixes, one of which landed on the roof of the main grandstand at McLean Park and another that cleared the grandstand and landed in a neighboring carpark. The latest display of his big-hitting ability, particularly against India, is expected to make him a prized commodity in this season’s player auction for the Indian Premier League.
Mohammed Sami bowled two outstanding spells for India and finished with 4-55 from nine overs.
Williamson reached his half century from 67 balls and Taylor his from 70 balls before he was caught behind by Dhoni from the bowling of Shami to give the India captain his 300th dismissal in one-day internationals.
McCullum became Dhoni’s 301st when he was out for 30 with the total on 213-5 in the 42nd over. Anderson and Ronchi then accelerated the scoring rate through a series of highly profitable overs before the innings ended with a whimper.
The second match is at Hamilton on Wednesday.