(Reuters) - Opener Tim Seifert’s 43-ball 84 helped New Zealand thump India by 80 runs in Wednesday’s first Twenty20 international to hand the tourists their heaviest defeat in the format.
Asked to bat on a flat Wellington wicket by Indian skipper Rohit Sharma, New Zealand scored 219 for the loss of six wickets before dismissing their opponents for 139 in 19.2 overs.
Tim Southee took three wickets while fellow paceman Lockie Ferguson and spinners Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi claimed two each as India suffered their worst defeat by runs since a 49-run loss to Australia at the 2010 World T20.
“One of the complete performances you search for. Seifert was excellent,” Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson said.
“The bowling performance was outstanding. We had runs on the board, but bowling and fielding were outstanding.”
India came into the contest on the back of a 4-1 victory in the one-day international series but sorely missed the stability offered by regular skipper Virat Kohli who has been rested for the three T20 matches.
Only Mahendra Singh Dhoni offered resistance with a gritty 39 but the veteran wicketkeeper’s effort went in vain as wickets tumbled at the other end.
Earlier, Seifert made the most of two reprieves through dropped catches to smash seven fours and six boundaries en route to his maiden half-century.
“It was a great way to start the series... I’ve been picked for some reason and I just backed myself,” man of the match Seifert said.
Opening in the absence of the injured Martin Guptill, the 24-year-old put on an 86-run stand with Colin Munro to lay the foundation for a big score.
After Munro perished for 34, Seifert and skipper Williamson added another 48 runs before cameos by Ross Taylor and Scott Kuggeleijn took New Zealand past the 200 mark.
The second T20 takes place in Auckland on Friday.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge