New Zealand corrected the woes of its previous three one-day encounters with India by getting off to blistering start in their innings and despite losing a couple of wickets along the way, kept up the momentum through to the 25th over.
After playing a circumspect first over against India speedster Zaheer Khan, Kiwi openers Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum got stuck into Praveen Kumar taking three fours of him in the second over. McCullum knocked off a boundary each in the following two overs and then in the 6th mustered up the gumption to send Kumar over mid-on for a six.
First change bowler R Ashwin, who was introduced in the 8th over, too came in for some stick, conceding a boundary to each opener. The next over was even more dramatic with Guptill blazing two fours off Nehra before holing out to Yuvraj Singh at mid on. Guptill was out for a quickfire 30 off 25 balls and New Zealand were 62/1 in 9 overs. Nehra struck again in his next over, removing How for 4 and the Kiwis were wobbling at 70/1 in 10.1 overs.
The new man to take guard Ross Taylor, just needed a few balls to settle in before getting Ashwin away for a four. But it was a dicey shot, going fine just wide of slip. But McCullum who had thrown caution to the wind and in the 12th over, smacked Nehra for two more fours.
In the fifth ball of the over, Nehra thought he had got his man caught behind only to see that the umpire had signaled the ball wide. But it was Ashwin who would have the pleasure of seeing McCullum's back when in the subsequent over, he came back from being swept for a four to having the batsman caught by Rohit Sharma at midwicket for 42 off 42 balls. The Kiwis were going at over 6 an over, but had been pegged back to 94/3 in 14 overs.
The run-rate dropped a tad thereafter, but Taylor and Scott Styris kept up the momentum, taking their side to over 100 in 16th over and over 120 by the 20th over. At the end of 25 overs, New Zealand were motoring along nicely at 138/3. Can they carry forward the gains of the first hour and half and set a challenging total? A lot will depend on how Taylor and Styris continue batting and how large a stand they can dish out.