Blackcaps vs India: Tim Seifert boosts World Cup chances in T20 victory

Wicketkeeper Tim Seifert has given the Blackcaps selectors something to think about, with a match-winning performance against India in the opening T20 match of their series at Wellington.

After a disappointing one-day series that left many World Cup selection questions unanswered - and probably raised a few more - the NZ men began their short-form campaign in style, inflicting a record 80-run loss on their guests.

And along the way, several fringe World Cup candidates further muddied the waters with individual performances that suggested them should be on the plane to England in May.

Sent into bat first, the Blackcaps promoted Seifert up the order to join Colin Munro in the opening partnership.

Munro showed very little form in the ODI's and was eventually dropped, as the selectors tried Henry Nicholls as an opener, with limited success. 

But established opener Martin Guptill was also out of nick and when he was forced to withdraw from the T20 squad with a back injury, Seifert got his chance and took it with both hands, plundering 84 runs off 43 balls, featuring six sixes.

He and Munro put on 86 runs in eight overs for the first wicket to set a solid foundation for the innings, then Seifert combined with skipper Kane Williamson for another 48 runs to continue the momentum.

Debutant Daryl Mitchell and Williamson fell in consecutive balls with the score at 164, but Ross Taylor and Scott Kuggeleijn kept the runs flowing, with the latter providing 20 runs off seven balls to close the innings at 219/6.

The much-vaunted Indian batting order, even without regular skipper Virat Kohli, seemed ready to challenge that total, as openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan smashed Kuggeleijn for 17 runs off the second over of their reply.

But Sharma departed in the next over, caught by Lockie Ferguson off Tim Southee's bowling, and then Ferguson clean-bowled Dhawan with a 150kph fast-ball to set the Indian effort back on its heels.

Spinner Mitchell Santner removed Rishabh Pant and Vijay Shankar in the ninth over, then fellow spinner Ish Sodhi had Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya out in the 11th over to completely stall the chase.

India lost their last four wickets for just 10 runs and veteran MS Dhoni top-scored with 39 runs off 31 balls. The proud cricketing nation had only been dismissed eight times in T20 play and their previous biggest loss by runs was 49.

Named Man of the Match, Seifert underlined his batting ability with a sound performance behind the stumps, taking two catches late in the innings. 

Southee had also struggled for form in the one-day series, but proved he could not be overlooked, taking three wickets in a miserly four-over spell that yielded just 17 runs.

Ferguson also impressed, capturing  2/22 with his express pace, while Mitchell wrapped up the innings, taking the final wicket and totally bamboozling the batsmen with his deceptive variations in speed.

Both teams now head to Auckland for the second T20 encounter on Friday.


Join us at 7pm Friday for live updates of the Blackcaps vs India T20 at Eden Park.

Contact Newshub with your story tips: