Wellington - Chasing a record 220-run target, India stumbled to their biggest Twenty20 International defeat, the 80-run loss arriving in pursuit of a 220-run target at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Opener Tim Seifert, who came into the side for an injured Martin Guptill, blasted 84 off 43 balls before India capitulated to scoreboard pressure on a pitch slowing down by the minute, collapsing to 139 all-out with four balls to spare in the innings.

Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi picked four wickets between them, both of them striking twice in an over to break India’s backbone. The fact that the spinners could nibble at India’s inexperienced middle-order was due to the fast-bowling strikes at the top of the order. Tim Southee, who finished with figures of 3 for 17, outwitted Rohit Sharma with a short ball early in the game, having him caught at deep square leg, and Shikhar Dhawan was then bettered by a 151 kph yorker from Lockie Ferguson.

That India found themselves at 53 for 2 at the end of PowerPlay was mainly due to Dhawan’s quick runs at the top. He dispatched 2 sixes and a four off Scott Kuggeleijn, a bowler who was also at the receiving end of Vijay Shankar’s pyrotechnics. Shankar, batting at number three just when India ponder playing Virat Kohli at No.4 in the World Cup, used the clear deep fields to good use, taking Kuggeleijn for 2 fours and a six.

Rishabh Pant replaced Dhawan in the middle, the latter departing in the last over of the PowerPlay, but the 21-year-old never looked at ease and fell to a good quicker delivery from Santner. Shankar miscued a big hit one ball later, and India were in tatters, with Ish Sodhi’s spin yet to come.

Sodhi struck with the wickets of Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya in his maiden over, effectively wiping off India’s batting spine in a space of five legal deliveries. Ms Dhoni scored 39 off 31 but his innings lacked the skills or the intent to get India off in a steep chase. Daryl Mitchell on debut was superb with his slower balls, that admittedly purchased more response off the pitch in the second innings.

India earlier had a horror with the ball after Rohit Sharma opted to bowl; Kane Williamson wanted to do the same at the toss. But on a flat pitch, Seifert and Colin Munro tore into India’s opening bowlers with a 86-run opening stand in 8.2 overs, spurring on the least economical figures for Bhuvneshwar Kumar in T20Is: 1 for 47.

Khaleel Ahmed, who opened the bowling from the other end, bowled Seifert with a yorker but that was only after the damage had been done. Khaleel conceded 25 runs in his first two overs and there was no turning back for New Zealand from there.

India also had to pay a price for dropping catches in the field. Seifert was dropped twice by India. There was a tough chance off Krunal Pandya’s bowling put down by Dhoni when Seifert was on 17, and then by Dinesh Karthik off the same bowler on 71.

Karthik dropped another catch, that of Ross Taylor on 19 off Hardik Pandya this time.

The only time India dominated the game was when Yuzvendra Chahal and Hardik Pandya struck off consecutive deliveries to account for Mitchell and Williamson but an unbeaten knock of 20 off 7 balls by Kuggeleijn soared the hosts past 200, taking it beyond India before setting them their highest ever chase to win.

Scorecard

NEW ZEALAND:

TL Seifert  b Ahmed................................................ 84

C Munro c Shankar b K Pandya........................... 34

KS Williamson c HH Pandya b Chahal................ 34

DJ Mitchell c Karthik b H Pandya........................... 8

LRPL Taylor c Ahmed b Kumar............................ 23

C de Grandhomme c sub (M Siraj) b H Pandya 3

MJ Santner not out..................................................... 7

SC Kuggeleijn not out.............................................. 20

EXTRAS: (lb 1, w 5).................................................... 6

TOTAL: (6 wkts 20 Overs).................................. 219

FOW: 1-86, 2-134, 3-164, 4-164, 5-189, 6-191

BOWLING: B Kumar 4-0-47-1, KK Ahmed 4-0-48-1, KH Pandya 4-0-37-1, HH Pandya 4-0-51-2, YS Chahal 4-0-35-1

INDIA:

RG Sharma c Ferguson b Southee........................ 1

S Dhawan b Ferguson............................................ 29

V Shankar c de Grandhomme b Santner......... 27

RR Pant b Santner....................................................... 4

MS Dhoni c Ferguson b Southee......................... 39

KD Karthik c Southee b Sodhi................................. 5

HH Pandya c Mitchell b Sodhi................................. 4

KH Pandya c Seifert b Southee............................ 20

B Kumar c Seifert b Ferguson................................. 1

YS Chahal b Mitchell.................................................. 1

KK Ahmed not out....................................................... 1

EXTRAS: (lb3, nb1, w3)............................................ 7

TOTAL: (all out, 19.2 Overs)............................... 139

FOW: 1-18, 2-51, 3-64, 4-65, 5-72, 6-77, 7-129, 8-132, 9-136, 10-139

BOWLING: TG Southee 4-0-17-3, SC Kuggeleijn 2-0-34-0, LH Ferguson 4-0-22-2, MJ Santner 4-0-24-2, DJ Mitchell 2.2-0-13-1, IS Sodhi 3 0-26-2

TOSS:  India

Umpires: Chris Brown (NZ), Shaun Haig (NZ)