50 left India 306 for 7 (Iyer 80, Dhawan 72, Gill 50, Ferguson 3-59, Southee 3-73) vs New Zealand
After going on, Dhawan and Gill set the platform by adding 124 in 23.1 overs, their fourth century standings in nine innings. New Zealand hit back in the middle overs, and for a while it looked like they would manage to keep India within 300. But Iyer and Sanju Samson kicked off with their 94-run stand-off of just 77 for the fifth wicket. Washington then hit an unbeaten 37 off 16 balls to add the finishing touches.
Earlier, a blemish to James Neesham upset New Zealand’s balance somewhat, as they were forced to play four front-line players alongside Mitchell Santner.
As the new ball moved around, Dhawan and Gill started on alert. They faced 44 dot balls in the first ten overs and the scoring percentage was under four after 14.
However, there were a few moments of intent. Dhawan used his feet to drive Tim Southee to the cover boundary, and Gill picked up two sixes, taking Matt Henry long across the finish line and later lifting him over deep third. In general, however, the New Zealand sailors hardly threw bad balls.
During this period, Gill was also given a life. In the tenth over, he went after a full throw from Henry, eventually cutting it to deep third. Lockie Ferguson charged in, started the dive and just got his fingers under the ball. But it didn’t stick.
It was Dhawan who eventually stepped up and hit Ferguson for back-to-back fours in the 15th over. Three overs later he took two more fours from Adam Milne and then reached his half-century, with 63 balls, with another four from him. Gill joined the action hitting Santner for a successive six as India took 34 runs in three overs.
Gill reached his 50th in 63 balls but fell soon after, sending Ferguson straight to a deep square leg. In the next over, Southee had Dhawan cut back for his 200th ODI wicket, becoming the fifth New Zealand man to achieve the feat.
Those two wickets put the brakes on the scoring percentage, with Iyer and Rishabh Pant managing just ten runs from over 27 to 31. Milne could have sent Iyer back when he failed to get the height on a ramp shot. But Tom Latham failed to time his jump behind the stumps and seized the opportunity.
Pant’s scratchy run of 15 from 23 came to an end when he dragged a short delivery from Ferguson onto his stumps. Suryakumar Yadav opened his account with a superb four on first ball, but two balls later Ferguson had caught him at first slip.
Iyer and Samson consolidated for a while before opening. Both batters enjoyed the pace on the bat and changed the rhythm of the innings with their stroke play. Iyer preferred the air route, while Samson hit more ground.
Samson fell for a 38-ball 36, but Iyer kept going. After bringing up his fifty off 56 balls, he went all out on the offensive. From the other end, Washington used everything from an on-the-up drive to a pull to a falling round shot to push the limits.
Iyer fell for 80 off 76 balls in the last over, but India’s late acceleration meant they scored 96 in the last ten overs to post what Washington called “a par total”. They have an inexperienced bowling attack to defend it. Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik make their debuts, and there is no sixth bowling option either.
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo