Blackcaps v India: Tom Latham century, Kane Williamson partnership guide New Zealand home at Eden Park

Reports of the Blackcaps' cricketing demise have been greatly exaggerated, it seems, after the home side paced a 307-run chase to overhaul India in their one-day series opener at Eden Park.

After a weak exit from the T20 World Cup semi-finals and series loss to the tourists over the shortened format, New Zealand's golden era of success appeared to be coming to an end, with some of the architects of that period dropping out of the roster for a variety of reasons.

Questions loomed over captain Kane Williamson's ability to score quickly enough, seemingly foolish talk about one of cricket's Mount Rushmore of batters.

Tim Southee in action against India
Tim Southee in action against India. Photo credit: Photosport

With this backdrop - and their elevation back to the world No.1 ODI ranking - the Blackcaps have produced a performance that should silence some of those critics for at least a few days, running down a daunting target that threatened to get away from them early.

Teetering at 88/3 in the 20th over of their pursuit, New Zealand needed a curious mix of stoicism and enterprise from their middle order to keep themselves in the hunt. Turns out Williams and wicketkeeper Tom Latham were just the men for the job.

Although the required run rate ventured above eight an over at one point, they remained calm, turning over strike with singles and punishing loose balls with boundaries when appropriate.

Both posted half centuries, as Latham slowly overhauled his skipper and took command with a 40th-over barrage that yielded 25 runs off Shardul Thakur and his seventh one-day ton.

The pair put on 221 runs - the best fourth-wicket effort for New Zealand ever, overhauling Latham's 200 with Ross Taylor against the same opponents in 2017.  

In the end, they achieved their target with 17 balls remaining.

"I thought, at the halfway stage, it was a competitive total," said Williamson. "But as we know, here at Eden Park, on this ground, if you build partnerships, you can chase anything.

"It was an incredible knock by Tommy Lath - absolutely on fire. We were talking in the middle, and discussing getting through this over and that over... and then he just flicked the switch.

"It was one of the more special ODI knocks I've seen and it was nice to be at the other end to watch him."

India seemed to have the match well in control, after their top order took full toll of the Blackcaps pace attack and some wayward fielding that gifted lives to the batters.

Kane Williamson in action against India
Kane Williamson in action against India. Photo credit: Photosport

Shubman Gill was dropped by Lockie Ferguson on 18 and went on to score a half-century.

Shreyas Iyer topscored with 80 runs, but was fortunate to survive chances at 11 (dropped by Latham), 22 (missed runout, also by Latham) and 32 (dropped by Finn Allen).

Southee achieved a personal milestone - his 200th ODI wicket - when he had Indian captain Shikahar Dhawan caught by Allen for 72, ranking behind Daniel Vettori (297), Kyle Mills (240) and Chris Harris (202) from far less matches. 

The rival teams now head to Hamilton for their second encounter on Sunday.

India 306/7 (Iyer 80, Dhawan 72; Ferguson 3/59) New Zealand 309/3 (Latham 145no, Williamson 94no; Malik 2/66)

NZ win by seven wickets

Join us at 2:30pm Sunday for live updates of the second Blackcaps v India one-day international