Wellington: Unheralded wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert took the Indian bowling attack to the cleaners with a scintillating 84 off 43 balls as New Zealand scored a commanding 219 for 6 in the first T20 International here today.
Seifert, whose previous best score in T20 Internationals happens to be 14, was promoted to open alongside Colin Munro (34 off 20 balls) and they added 86 runs in only 8.2 overs in a whirlwind start.
Seifert’s knock had seven fours and half-a-dozen sixes, setting the tone for a big total. Seifert showed the intent straightaway as he gave Bhuvneshwar Kumar the charge as he picked the knuckle ball early, dispatching it over mid-wicket for a six. The next shot was a four as he stood and hammered past the bowler.
With Munro hitting Khaleel Ahmed (1/48 in 4 overs) for two successive sixes, New Zealand were off to a blazing start scoring 44 off the first four overs.
Seifert was lucky to survive when Mahendra Singh Dhoni dropped a sharp chance as the batsman had edged one off Krunal Pandya (1/37 in 4 overs). But he promptly put the next delivery into the stands moving across towards off and sweeping it over backward square leg. There wasn’t signs of overt footwork but he shuffled enough inside the crease to make room for the big shots and in the process disturb the line and length of the bowlers.
When Hardik Pandya (2/51 in 4 overs) drifted on the leg stump, he was flicked behind the square and when he pitched wide outside off-stump, he lofted him to the cover point region. In Hardik’s next over, he again hit the bowler for a boundary and a flicked six.
In-between, his elder brother Krunal was switch hit for a boundary. The elder Pandya finally got a breakthrough as Munro was caught in the deep off Vijay Shankar.
But Seifert never let the momentum drop as he hit two more sixes off Krunal, who just kept on pushing the ball through a flatter trajectory. The normally dependable Yuzvendra Chahal (1/35 in 4 overs) also was slog swept over mid-wicket for the sixth maximum apart from being hit over extra cover for a boundary.
Just when it looked that a century was there for the taking, Khaleel bowled one in the block hole coming wide off the crease to clean Seifert up.
Once Seifert was gone, skipper Kane Williamson (34 off 22 balls) took charge and Scott Kuggeliejn (20 no off 7 balls) finished with a flourish.