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India wins rain-marred first ODI against Kiwis

INDIA thumped New Zealand by 53 runs in a rain-shortened one-day international at Napier yesterday to draw first blood in the five-match series.

India rebounded from two Twenty20 defeats by the Kiwis in the past week to amass a daunting total of 273 for four from 38 overs after the innings was interrupted for two-and-a-half hours by wet weather.

Under the Duckworth-Lewis method New Zealand's target was revised to 216 off 28 overs following a second heavy downpour and the Kiwis could only muster 162 for nine.

"It was disappointing right from the start," captain Daniel Vettori said. "India outplayed us and we just didn't quite get it right with the ball."

After winning the toss and electing to bat, India left no doubts about their intentions as opener Virender Sehwag blasted 77.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, named man of the match, added an unbeaten 84 from 89 balls while Suresh Raina chipped in with 66.

"I'm really pleased with that performance," Dhoni said. "The start was very important for us.

"We wanted to come out and post a big total."

New Zealand's hopes of reaching its target suffered a major setback when in-form opener Brendon McCullum, who scored two unbeaten half-centuries in the Twenty20s, was dismissed for a duck.

Martin Guptill helped revive the run-chase with a solid 64 and received strong support from Ross Taylor (31) but their chances disappeared when spinner Harbhajan Singh captured three wickets in four balls.

"Lack of execution can kill you against these guys and some quality players from them stepped up and put up a really good performance," Vettori said.

The second match in Wellington starts on Friday.


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