India opener Rohit Sharma's prowess with the bat is well documented. Ever so stylish and elegant that when on song, he is one of the best sights to watch in international cricket. Rohit was once again in full flow against New Zealand in the first T20I of the three-match series, as he struck a 55-ball 80, and along with his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan's 52-ball 80, powered India's score to a massive 202/3 in 20 overs. In reply, New Zealand were restricted to 149/8 by an effective Indian bowling attack, scripting the hosts' 53-run win over the Black Caps. This was also India's first victory against New Zealand in six T20 matches. With the win, India took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
The match was special for another reason as it was the last competitive match for veteran fast bowler Ashish Nehra, who ended his long 18-year-old international career in front of packed Feroz Shah Kotla stadium - also his home ground.
While the broadcasters ensured that the cameras remain focussed on every move that Nehra does on the field, Rohit too made sure he gets a fair share of the limelight.
Rohit, who hit his first fifty against New Zealand, become the second Indian batsman to complete 1,000 runs in a winning cause in T20Is - his tally being 1010 at 37.40, including ten fifties, in 41 matches. Virat Kohli has amassed 1322 runs at an average of 69.57 in 34 matches, including 13 fifties, in a winning cause.
His 80 off 55 balls was his third highest score in T20Is - the top two being 106 off 66 balls vs South Africa at Dharamsala on October 2, 2015 and 83 off 55 balls vs Bangladesh at Dhaka on February 24, 2016.
Rohit, who tonked four sixes during his knock, took his sixes' tally to 268 in 257 matches, establishing an Indian record in Twenty20, overtaking Suresh Raina's tally of 265 in 259 matches.
Both Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, with 80 each, jointly hold an Indian record for the highest individual innings vs New Zealand in T20Is.
Meanwhile, Rohit and Dhawan were involved in a stand of 158 for the first wicket, which was India's highest partnership for any wicket in T20Is, eclipsing the 138 for the second wicket between Kohli and Rohit vs South Africa at Dharamsala on October 2, 2015.
India's previous highest opening stand in T20Is was 136 between Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag vs England at Durban on September 19, 2007.
Overall, the 158-run stand is the third highest opening partnership in T20Is - the highest being 171 (unbroken) between Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson for New Zealand vs Pakistan at Hamilton on January 17, 2016.
With this win, India have now recorded wins against every full member team in T20Is. The 53-run win was their sixth biggest in terms of runs in T20Is - their largest being 90 runs vs England at Colombo (RPS) on September 23, 2012.
(With PTI Inputs)