Middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer rose to the occasion in a grand fashion in the first T20I against New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland, on Friday. Coming in at No.4, the 25-year-old batsman slammed an unbeaten 58 in just 29 balls to help India overhaul a challenging target of 204 with one over to spare. The victory saw Virat Kohli’s side go 1-0 up in the five-match series. Iyer was adjudged the man of the match for his blistering knock that featured five fours and three sixes.
Iyer, who has made a name as the captain of Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League, hit a six over the mid-wicket area off pacer Tim Southee to seal the game for the visitors. He put up an undefeated partnership of 62 runs with Manish Pandey (14 not out off 12) after the top order gave India a solid platform to go for the kill.
Although Bengaluru centurion Rohit Sharma fell for seven, his opening partner KL Rahul slammed 56 off 27 balls and captain Kohli made 45 off 32 to take India to 115 in the first 10 overs. This match went into the record books as the first T20I to see five batsman making half-centuries.
Shreyas Iyer pats himself on back
Iyer took to Twitter after his match-winning knock and in an application of pun, said: “Iiiyyer up the ladder”. He thanked the fans for wishing him for his knock and said he will remember the knock for a “long, long time”.
— Shreyas Iyer (@ShreyasIyer15) January 24, 2020
The fifty was Iyer’s second in the 20-over format and it assured the Indian team management over his No.4 batting position. In 18 matches, he has an impressive strike-rate of 137 plus and promises to be a long-serving batter in the Indian team across limited-over formats.
Earlier, New Zealand banked on three fifties from Colin Munro, captain Kane Williamson and veteran Ross Taylor to power their score to 203 for 5. Five Indian bowlers took a wicket apiece. India will take on New Zealand in the second match of the series also at the same venue on Sunday.
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