Tim Seifert lit up the first Twenty20 International against India at the Westpac stadium in Wellington as his blazing 84 off 43 balls boosted New Zealand towards a massive score on Wednesday. Seifert notched up his maiden fifty in this format and his partnership with Colin Munro boosted New Zealand at the top after Kane Williamson’s side were inserted into bat on a Westpac pitch which was earlier used for the women’s Twenty20 International between New Zealand and India. After a slow first over in which only four runs were scored, Munro broke the shackles by blasting two boundaries off Khaleel Ahmed.
Seifert got going in grand style by slamming a slow ball from Bhuvneshwar over long on for the first six of the game and blasting a full ball down the ground for a boundary. Following that over, New Zealand ensured that a boundary was hit every over as the scoring rate increased. After two more sixes by Munro off Khaleel, Seifert launched a six off left-arm orthodox spinner Krunal Pandya as New Zealand ended the powerplay in style.
After hitting Krunal for a six, he targeted Hardik Pandya for two boundaries as the fifty-run stand was up in just the fifth over. The runs continued to flow for Seifert as he edged a short ball from Hardik to the third man fence and top-edged another short ball over long leg to bring up his fifty off just 30 balls.
After reaching the landmark, Seifert carved a flighted ball from Chahal to the deep extra cover fence and targeted Krunal for two back-to-back sixes as New Zealand made excellent progress. Seifert neared a century by clobbering Chahal for a four and a six but in the process of quick runs, Khaleel Ahmed breached his defence as he was bowled for 84.
This was the third-highest score by a New Zealand player in this format against India behind Munro’s 109 in Rajkot and Brendon McCullum’s 91 in Chennai in 2012. Overall, this is the eighth highest individual score by a batsman in this format. Evin Lewis of the West Indies has two centuries against India followed by Shane Watson’s ton in Sydney in 2016 while Munro hit 109 in Rajkot in 2017. Chris Gayle of West Indies missed his ton by two runs in the 2010 World T20 in Barbados while Australia’s Aaron Finch hit 89 in Rajkot in 2013.