Auckland [ New Zealand], November 25 (ANI): Tom Latham made a mockery of the Indian attack as his whirlwind unbeaten career best knock of 145, combined with skipper Kane Williamson's unbeaten 94, saw New Zealand chase down 307 with 2.5 overs to spare at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday.
With the facile win, the dominant Kiwis took a 1-0 lead in the ongoing three-match ODI series.
The duo forged a 221-run unbroken partnership for the fourth wicket, denting India's hopes of a comeback.
Chasing a stiff target, the New Zealand openers got off to a strong start but failed to capitalise on it. At one point, the hosts were struggling at 88/3 in 19.5 overs before the Latham and Willamson came together to script a match-winning partnership.
A southpaw who has been India's nemesis on previous ocassions as well, Latham's innings was studded with five sixes and 19 fours. Cutting and pulling at will, the opener showed on mercy on the Indian bowlers. His spectacular knock earned him the 'Player of the Match' award.
Chuffed to bits over his match-winning innings, the southpaw said, "I enjoyed himself, had fun batting with the captain and was able to find gaps consistently. We played on the merit of every delivery."Fully aware of the ground's dimensions, especially the short square boundaries, the duo made batting under lights look easy.
"It was just one of those days when everything came off well. I built a partnership with Kane and had a bit of fun while at it. We just reacted to things and it paid off. It was about getting ourselves in strong positions and react to what they were bowling. Was able to find the gaps," Latham said at the post-match presentation.
On what was a forgettable outing for the Indian bowlers, all-rounder Washington Sunder stood out, bowling tight lines and lengths and troubling Latham and Williamson.
Latham added, "Sundar was getting some turn and we found it a bit hard negotiating him. However, it's a small ground and we could capitalise (on the short boundaries) at the end."The two teams now head to Hamilton for the second ODI on November 27.
India must win the next to keep the series alive. (ANI)