The crowd anticipated a Suryakumar Yadav blitz but got the fireworks from Washington Sundar on Friday. Sundar’s cameo in the first ODI against New Zealand in Auckland propelled India’s total over 300. The left-hander, whose exploits at the international level have been largely limited to off-spin bowling, showed the world what he can do with the bat. A top-order batter for his domestic side Tamil Nadu, Sundar smashed an unbeaten 37 off just 16 balls while coming in to bat at No.7 to take India to 306 for 7 batting first. Sundar hit three fours and as many sixes in his blazing innings but there was one particular shot off Matt Henry that became the talk of the town.
In the penultimate over of the Indian innings, Sundar played the field immaculately well by walking across his stumps and scooping a Matt Henry low full toss over the short-fine fielder for a four. What made the shot special was how late he decided to move, giving Henry no time to adjust his length. When Sundar finished playing the scoop, he was almost down on the ground. Photos and videos of that amazing shot went viral and rightly so.
Sundar finished that over with a booming pull shot that landed deep inside the stands. 17 runs came from the 49th over.
Watch Video: Washington Sundar’s blazing 37* off 16 balls vs New Zealand in 1st ODI
Before Sundar’s cameo, it was Shreyas Iyer with an 80-run knock that gave India’s innings solidity. Shikhar Dhawan (72 off 77 balls) and Shubman Gill (50 off 65) too struck fluent fifties after the tourists were sent in to bat.
Iyer hit four maximums and four boundaries, having entered the game after his duck in the final T20 International two days ago.
After a century stand between captain Dhawan and Gill, India lost a few quick wickets. On 11, Iyer was offered a life by Tom Latham after the batter attempted the ramp shot against a short Milne delivery. However, a ball after guiding Ferguson to the fine leg boundary, Pant went for the pull but dragged it onto his stumps, bringing to an end an innings that failed to inspire confidence. That brought into the middle the man-in-form, Suryakumar Yadav, who got off the mark with an exquisite cover drive. But, two balls, later, he was walking back to the dressing room after edging the nippy Ferguson to Allen at first slip.
On a ground with short boundaries, the hosts looked comfortable with India at 160 for four in the 33rd over. But the duo of Iyer and Sanju Smason (36 off 38 balls) forged a 94-run partnership to steady the ship until the latter fell to a brilliant catch by Glenn Phillips. During the course of his knock, Iyer also became only the second batter after Rameez Raja to score four or more successive 50-plus scores in New Zealand.