Latham, Williamson blast NZ to ODI win


Tom Latham scored a career-best 145 and Kane Williamson scored 94 in an unbroken 221 partnership that powered New Zealand to a seven-wicket win over India in the first of three One-Day Internationals.

Friday’s match at Eden Park, Auckland hung in the balance when Latham joined Williamson with the hosts 3-88 in the 20th in response to India’s formidable 7-306. They stayed together for the remainder of the game and led the Kiwis 3-309 and victory with 17 balls remaining.

At first, Williamson was the senior partner and Latham played a loyal supporting role. But as he approached 40th place, that hierarchy changed and Latham sprinted past his captain. He hit 23 runs from 40th most played by Shardul Thakur to go from 77 to a century – his seventh in one-day internationals – from 76 balls.

Williamson had been short of his best form at the T20 World Cup in Australia earlier this month and in the rain-affected Twenty20 series which India recently won 1-0, although he did 61 of 126 New Zealanders in Game 2.

The skipper threw himself in from the start to give solidity to the stuttering sleeves of the Black Caps. Latham’s arrival in the crease and similar dedication appeared to energize Williamson who was playing just his seventh ODI since the 2019 World Cup final.

His innings included his 40th half-century in one-day internationals and saw him drop 3,000 points in the 50 plus format in New Zealand.

“I guess it was one of those days where everything goes well,” Latham said.

“Coming in we were still a little under pressure and I just built the partnership with Kane and in the end I had a little fun without really trying.

“It was nice to just get the ball in the empty spaces and run hard and cross the line a few times. Sometimes the stars just align.”

Earlier, captain Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill went half a century in an opening 124-point partnership as India struck first after losing the draw.

Dhawan had 72, Gill scored 50 and Shreyas Iyer added an impressive 80 from 76 balls. Sanju Samson (36) and Washington Sundar (37 from 16 balls) helped India go past 300.

Umran Malik (2-66) showed why he is seen as a potential star of the white ball game when he snatched two opening wickets on his debut to put New Zealand on the back foot. But Williamson and Latham combined to wear down the Indian bowlers who missed their laps on a tough pitch.

“We thought we got a good total because for the first 15 overs the ball was smoldering a lot,” Dhawan said.

“Eden Park is a bit different to other grounds and… I think we played a lot short of a length and Latham particularly attacked us.”

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