All-rounder Hardik Pandya made a sensational debut and won the man-of-the-match as India registered an emphatic win over the Kiwis at Dharamsala.
Pandya took three important wickets and gave 31 runs in his quota of seven overs as India decimated New Zealand by six wickets to take 1-0 lead in the five match ODI series.
"On a debut, getting the Man of the Match is special. This moment I will cherish in my life," Pandya said in the post match presentation ceremony.
Pandya who featured in India's T20 World up campaign suffered from poor form. But the all-rounder honed his skills to earn his maiden ODI call.
"I am very happy and it's good to be back. I was nervous a bit, but I bowled a lot in Australia and the domestic season," he said.
After electing to bowl first, Pandya got an early breakthrough and India capitalised on the start to bundle out New Zealand for 190.
Speaking about his game plan, Pandya said,
"I wasn't looking to bowl fast, wanted to bowl with rhythm. On this wicket, I was focusing on a Test match length, a good length."
A happy skipper MS Dhoni who was back to marshal his troops after a long lay-off expressed satisfaction and credited his bowlers for the win.
"Fantastic performance from the fast bowlers. We had no clue it would help the fast bowlers. Hardik exploited the good length, a short of a good length. Umesh is somebody who has been quite quick consistently, he has gone from fit to one of the fittest," Dhoni said.
Heaping praise on debutant Hardik, Dhoni said, "Hardik is deceptive, you think he'd bowl 132, but he crosses 135 consistently."
Although the pitch assisted seamers, Amit Mishra who scalped three wickets earned praise from his skipper.
"Both Mishra and Axar bowled well. They did go for some runs. If we did not take early wickets, it was a 280-300 wicket," he said.
Dhoni promoted himself up the order and was quick to find the middle of his bat. When asked how it felt to bat in the middle of a chase, the India skipper said, "Important to bat in the middle, I was in no hurry. The more deliveries I play, the better for me."