New Zealand 219 for 6 (Seifert 84, Hardik 2-51) beat India 139 (Dhoni 39, Southee 3-17) by 80 runs
A New Zealand wicketkeeper-opening batsman surging down the track to belt the ball down the ground or pulling off outrageous scoops. Sounds familiar? Tim Seifert channeled his inner Brendon McCullum and turbo-charged New Zealand to 219 for 6 and a 1-0 lead, with his 43-ball 84. Having been dropped twice - on 17 by MS Dhoni behind the stumps and then on 17 by Dinesh Karthik in the outfield - he married muscle with trick shots to expose an India attack that was without its gun bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav.
Colin Munro, who had looked out of place in the ODIs, was back to his happy place, flaying 34 off 20 balls in a rollicking 86-run opening stand with Seifert.
A new-look batting line-up that had three wicketkeepers in the middle order and allrounder Vijay Shankar at No.3 then struggled to come to grips with a rapidly rising asking rate. When legspinner Ish Sodhi had both Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya holing out to excellent catches in the outfield, India were 77 for 6 in 11 overs. Although Dhoni and Krunal Pandya produced some late blows, they careened to an 80-run loss - their biggest in T20Is.
A 43-ball 84 on a New Zealand pitch might suggest wild slogging. But, it was far from that, with the odd ball and the cutters holding up on a tired pitch. Seifert's first ball stopped on him, but he adjusted to check-punch it away towards mid-off. Left-arm quick Khaleel Ahmed then drew a leading edge with an offcutter. Krunal then cramped him with a fizzing arm ball and drew a thick outside edge, but Dhoni dropped a tough chance. Yes, you guessed it. The next ball was launched for six.
From thereon, Seifert went on a boundary-hitting spree. The key to his unfettered assault was a still head and ultra-fast hands. Krunal was switch-hit over backward point while his brother Hardik was cracked through extra-cover. After bringing up his maiden T20 half-century off 30 balls, he cut loose further, hitting Krunal for back-to-back sixes. In the same over, the 11th of the innings, Karthik shelled a regulation catch at long-on to reprieve Seifert.
However, Karthik more than redeemed himself when he plucked out a sensational hokey-pokey catch at the same region to get rid of debutant Daryl Mitchell, the son of former All Black John Mitchell, who later coached the rugby side.
Curiously, India held back Yuzvendra Chahal until the ninth over and Seifert faced only six balls, taking 18 runs off him.
Munro played his part, pumping Khaleel Ahmed over mid-off and scything him over backward point for a flat six, as New Zealand had zoomed to 66 for 0 in six overs. It was Krunal who provided India with the breakthrough when he dared to loop one up, having Munro slice a catch to long-on in the ninth over. Khaleel then yorked Seifert four overs later to offer the visitors some respite.