Dharamsala: Clinical performances from batting stalwart Virat Kohli and debutant Hardik Pandya with the ball helped India defeat New Zealand by six wickets in the first ODI of the five-match series here at the HPCA Stadium on Sunday.
Chasing a paltry 191, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma got the India off to a solid start with a 49-run first-wicket stand, and Kohli took over thereafter as the hosts registered their 455th victory in the 900th ODI with 101 balls remaining.
Kohli's unbeaten 81-ball 85 was full of trademark cover drives - the straight-bat punched variety as well as the wristy flat-bat. He brought up the winning runs with a cleanly struck six off Mitchell Santner.
Sent in to bat, the Black Caps would have been very disappointed with their batting performance, especially their top order, as they got bowled out with 37 balls still remaining in their innings.
Opting to bowl first, Mahendra Singh Dhoni took everyone by surprise by handing Pandya the new ball ahead of Jasprit Bumrah, but the all-rounder soon showed skipper may have taken this decision.
He got the price wicket of Martin Guptill in his very first over in the 50-overs format.
The match was all but won by the Men in Blue in the first 20 overs as the inexperienced bowling attack of India reduced the visitors to 65/7.
Opener Tom Latham was the lone ranger for the Kiwis and he remained unbeaten on 79. He got good support from No. 10 batsman - Tim Southee (55), who recorded his maiden ODI fifty, also becoming the first New Zealand batsman to score a half-century at ten.
Pandya and leggie Amit Mishra scalped three wickets apiece while Umesh Yadav chipped in with two wickets.
The two sides will next face each other at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi on October 20.