Taking the blow to the chin, India captain Virat Kohli credited his opposite number Tom Latham after India’ four-wicket defeat in the first ODI of the three-match series against New Zealand in Hamilton on Wednesday. After being put in to bat on a flat Seddon Park strip, India did wonderfully well to recover from early jolts and post a daunting total of 347/4 in their 50 overs.

But, New Zealand had some other plans as they not only spoiled India’s party but also cantered to an easy victory as they gunned down the target with 11 balls to spare. Stand-in captain Latham hit a 48-ball 69 and shared a crucial 138-run fourth-wicket stand with veteran batsman Ross Taylor who played a match-winning knock of unbeaten 109 to help Black Caps arrest the losing streak in the limited-overs format.

“An outstanding performance from New Zealand. We thought 347 was good enough, especially after the start we got with the ball. I think Tom’s innings took the game away from us. Ross and Tom were unstoppable in the middle overs,” Kohli said after the match.

India rode on Shreyas Iyer’s 103 and half-centuries from KL Rahul (88) and Kohli (51) to put up 347/4. In the end, New Zealand (348/6) got over the line in 48.1 overs.

India missed a chance to get rid of Taylor after Kuldeep Yadav dropped a tough chance. Asked about their fielding in the first game, Kohli said: “We were decent in the field, we dropped one chance. We need to improve though. We can’t think about that one chance. To bat with a positive frame of mind for about 25 overs after that chance is not a small thing at all.

“I got to say that the opposition played better than us and deserved to win today. Both new openers gave us a good start, hope they continue to do the same. Shreyas’s hundred was outstanding and KL was brilliant with the bat too,” Kohli added.

The two teams will now face off in the second ODI at the Eden Park on Saturday.