India rode on a century from Virat Kohli and some pacy contributions from Murali Vijay, Gautam Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan to post a competitive total of 276 all out in the first match of the ODI series against New Zealand at Guwahati. At one stage, it looked like India would be able to reach 300, but some tight bowling and fielding from the Kiwis in the dying overs, saw to it that India were restricted to a smaller total.
With India batting first, opener Murali Vijay had a slightly shaky start when he edged the fourth ball off Kyle Mills opening over to see it fly past second slip. But soon, he hit his stride and in the fourth over, went after Daryl Tuffey. He got the seamer away for two consecutive boundaries, the first coming of a no-ball.
Then in the next over, Vijay enhanced his aggression to smack Mills for two fours, one a blistering straight drive and the other, a wristy shot through midwicket. Then in the very next over, the other opener Gautam Gambhir, got into the act. He hit Tuffey over cover for a four and then later in the over, through extra cover for another boundary. India had moved onto 37/0 in 6 overs.
But in the 8th over, Vikay's stint came to an end when Tuffey had him caught behind for 29. His innings came off just 32 balls and was punctuated by 5 fours. With Kohli as his new partner, Gambhir kept the scoreboard ticking over. But he had played his last shot when in the 16th over, he was caught at point by Jamie How off Andy McKay. He had made 38 with 6 fours and India were 92/2. However, India had dominated the first two power-plays.
Then, with the new man Yuvraj Singh, making a sluggish start, the scoring rate dropped considerably and India were 117/2 in the 24 overs. In a bid to up the rate, Yuvraj hit off-spinner Nathan McCullum for two consecutive fours, one to the fine-leg boundary and one through midwicket. The Southpaw then knocked off two more fours in the next two overs, taking India to 153/2 in 29 overs.
Then Kohli showed his aggression by smacking Kane Williamson's gentle off-spin for two fours in the 30th over, reaching his 50 in the process. Yuvraj scurried a few more singles and hit one more four before perishing to Tuffey for 42. It was slightly slow innings, coming off 64 balls, but he had ensured India's run-rate was over five.
With Suresh Raina, the new man at the crease, runs kept flowing fluently. India moved past the 200-run mark in the 38th over and had the foundation for a huge total. A lot would depend on how Kohli and Raina pressed on from here. Raina however, was only able to manage 13 as his poor run with the bat continued, getting out to Mills.
Yusuf Pathan who was the next man to take guard, got off to a slightly shaky start as he was almost caught at backward of square leg off Mills bowling. But the fours were flying off Kohli's bat at the other end and in the next over, he hit McKay for two boundaries to bring up his second consecutive century in one-dayers. After another couple of powerful shots, Kohli was out for 105 in just 104 balls with 10 fours to his credit. Now with Pathan and Wriddiman Saha at the crease and with India having crossed 250 in the 45th over, the hosts would have been hoping for a total of over 300.
But there was a flurry of wickets with Saha and then R Ashwin both getting out to McKay in the 46th over and Nehra finding himself short of the crease in the next over. India was wobbling at 257/8 in 46.4 overs. With the end of the innings imminent, Yusuf Pathan cut loose, hammering McKay for a six and then a four in the 48th over.
Not to be outdone, Sreesanth edged McKay for another four in the same over and India were 273/8 with two overs remaining. But India lost Pathan for quick-fire 29 off 19 balls and shortly after Sreesanth fell for 4 off 6 balls with Mills getting the last two wickets and wrapping up India's innings for 276 in 49 overs.