Ranchi: Left-handed batter Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell produced commanding half-centuries as New Zealand posted a challenging 176 for six against India in the opening T20 International here on Friday.
Opener Conway, who had scored 138 in the third ODI in Indore, continued his purple patch with a 35-ball 52 after opening the innings, while Daryl Mitchell smashed a 30-ball unbeaten 59, which included a last-over thrashing of Arshdeep Singh for 27 runs.
Opting to bowl, Indian bowlers struggled to get their line and length at the start, allowing New Zealand to get off to a good start.
Finn Allen (35) looked in good touch as he smashed Hardik Pandya for successive boundaries, while a juicy half volley from Arshdeep was hit straight to the boundary.
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Conway also punished the left-arm pacer for a widish ball as New Zealand put up 23 in two overs.
Washington Sundar, however, got a lot of purchase from the wicket and soon saw the back of Allen and Mark Chapman (0) in the space of five deliveries to reduce New Zealand to 43 for 2.
While Allen paid the price for his daredevilry as after a six he tried to repeat the shot, only to be caught by Suryakumar Yadav at deep midwicket, Chapman was done in by a flatter delivery with Sundar taking the catch after diving full length to his right.
Conway, however, kept it going with two fours and a six off Umran Malik, who bled 16 runs in his only over.
Hardik brought himself back and tried to mix his bowling, using more cutters and slower deliveries as New Zealand reached 79 for 2 in 10 overs.
Conway used the slog sweep and his feet to pick up boundaries off Kuldeep and Hooda as New Zealand crossed the 100-mark in the 13th over.
Kuldeep then struck with a googly as Glenn Phillips went for a slog, only to be holed out by Surya at deep midwicket.
Daryl Mitchell then joined Conway and, after surviving two video referrels for a caught behind and an LBW, blasted Hardik for two maximums.
Conway, on the other hand, completed his fifty in the 16th over but was sent packing soon by Arshdeep with Hooda taking the catch at long-off.
Ishan Kishan then ran out new man Michael Bracewell (1) and Shivam Mavi had Mitchell Santner (7) caught by Rahul Tripathi as India seemed to have pulled things back.
However, Arshdeep conceded 27 runs in the last over, with Mitchell clobbering him for three sixes and a four.