Virender Sehwag came forward to hail KL Rahul who played a brilliant cameo in the first ODI against New Zealand at the Seddon Park in Wellington on Wednesday. He had come to bat at number five as youngsters Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal opened the innings for India. However, that did not affect his concentration as he took the New Zealand bowlers to the cleaners.
Taking to the micro-blogging site, Virender Sehwag described the dashing batsman as 'Kadak Ladka Rahul' and then mentioned 'Naam toh suna hi hoga' which is a famous dialogue of a Bollywood megastar. Meanwhile, the former Indian vice-captain also heaped praise on centurion Shreyas Iyer as well.
The Indian batsmen showed a ruthless intent after being asked to bat first by New Zealand skipper Tom Latham. Young openers Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal added 50 runs for the opening wicket. Even though the duo were dismissed in quick succession, skipper Virat Kohli added impetus to the Indian innings with a very good half-century. After Kohli's dismissal, the onus was on KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer. Iyer went on register his maiden ODI ton.
He was dismissed for 103. Nonetheless, Rahul and Kedar Jadhav hit some big shots at the backend of the innings as India finished their innings at 347/4. The Karnataka batsman remained unbeaten on a 64-ball 88 at a strike rate of 137.50 which included three boundaries and six maximums.
In reply, New Zealand began their run-chase confidently with an 85-run opening partnership. Veteran batsman Ross Taylor brought up his 21st hundred in ODIs by scoring 109* from just 84 balls. Apart from Taylor, Henry Nicholls (78), and Tom Latham (69) also contributed their part with the bat in New Zealand’s successful run-chase.
The two teams will now collide in the second game of the three-match series on February 8. The match will be played at the Eden Park in Auckland and the action will commence at 7:30 AM IST. This is a must-win contest for India in order to stay alive in the series. The third and final ODI will be played on February 11 at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.