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McCullum guides NZ past India in opener

BRENDON McCullum smashed an unbeaten half-century to steer New Zealand to a seven-wicket win over India in their first Twenty20 international in Christchurch yesterday.

McCullum hit three sixes in his 56 not out from 49 balls as the Kiwis cruised past India's total of 162 for eight with seven balls to spare.

Martin Guptill (41), Ross Taylor (31) and Jacob Oram (29 not out) all chipped in with valuable runs after India's top-order crumbled, leaving the Twenty20 world champions defending a modest total.

"We got off to a good start but we have to remember it's a 20-over game," India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said.

"Nobody took the responsibility to stay there in the middle. It's a good learning (experience) for us, we just can't go through the motions."

The tourists were in early trouble when they slumped to 61-5 inside the first eight overs before Suresh Raina rebuilt the innings with an unbeaten 61 off 43 balls, featuring five sixes and two fours.

Handy support

He received some handy support from Yusuf Pathan, who clubbed three sixes in a row in a quickfire 20, and Harbhajan Singh, who made 21, but it was not enough to trouble the New Zealanders.

"It was a real pleasing win in all aspects of the game," New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori said.

"India put us under some real pressure at times and we responded particularly well.

"We're happy with this result but we know it's the first of many games so we can't get too far ahead of ourselves."

The two sides meet again in Wellington on Friday in a second Twenty20 before playing five ODIs and three tests.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's visit to Zimbabwe in July has been postponed until June 2010 because of Prime Minister John Key's opposition to the tour. New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan said the two boards agreed at an International Cricket Council meeting to postpone the three one-day matches due to the NZ government's lack of support.

"This is a pragmatic solution that allows the situation in Zimbabwe to be monitored over the next year," Vaughan said. "Given Zimbabwe remains a full member of ICC we have continuing obligations to play them on a reciprocal basis, therefore this agreement is an acceptable outcome."


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