Napier, New Zealand – A thundering innings by Corey Anderson and a magic spell of bowling by Mitch McClenaghan brought New Zealand a 24-run win over India in their opening one-day international on Sunday.
Chasing New Zealand's 292/7, India were all out for 268 in the 49th over despite Virat Kohli (123) posting his 18th ODI century.
It was the first time India have lost an ODI in which Kohli has reached three figures.
They appeared to have victory in their grasp when they needed just 70 from the last eight overs, and Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni looked comfortable in a 95-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
But in the space of six deliveries, McClenaghan removed Dhoni (40), Ravi Jadeja (duck) and Kohli to have India reeling on 237/7, and they never recovered.
Anderson had earlier returned to his brutal best with the bat after going off the boil following his record-breaking century in 36 balls against the West Indies three weeks ago.
In his first start against India, the world's top-ranked ODI side, Anderson blasted an unbeaten 68 off 40 deliveries.
He hit four sixes, two of them out of the ground, then returned with the ball to display his all-rounder credentials by removing two of India's top-order batsmen Shikhar Dhawan (32) and Ajinkya Rahane (seven).
India, who stand to forfeit their world number one ranking if they lose the five-match series to the eighth-ranked New Zealand, chose to bowl first on a wicket with a history of favouring the side batting last.
New Zealand lost Jesse Ryder and Martin Guptill early, leaving Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor with the task of building the innings. Their no-risk approach saw the run rate slump to 3.57 and at one stage New Zealand went 85 deliveries without a boundary.
Their 121-run partnership, which laid the platform for a big finish, ended with Williamson out for 71. Taylor followed soon after for 55 and Brendon McCullum belted a rapid 30.
Anderson then let fly. He and Luke Ronchi (30) put on 66 in 37 deliveries for the sixth wicket, including 19 off one over by Mohammed Shami to distort the figures of India's leading bowler who took four for 55.
India made a cautious start to their reply and went into their batting power play in the 35th over on 149/4, requiring a run rate of nine an over to win the game.
They came out of it five overs and 51 runs later with the run rate down to a manageable 5.12 and with Kohli and Dhoni looking very comfortable. But then McClenaghan came back for his closing spell and seized control for the home side.
The second match in the series is in Hamilton on Wednesday. – Sapa-AFP