Hardik Pandya India
Hardik Pandya bowled with pace and accuracy with the new ball for India in the first ODI against New ZealandReuters

Hardik Pandya showed what he is capable of with the new ball, making a couldn't-have-asked-for-a-better debut for India in the first ODI against New Zealand in Dharamsala on Sunday. Given the task of opening the bowling, Pandya, rather than shrink under the pressure, embraced it brilliantly to leave the New Zealand batting order in tatters.

Pandya and Umesh Yadav's burst with the new ball ensured the Kiwis would not be able to post anything resembling a par score at the HPCA Stadium and while Tom Latham and Tim Southee did well to get the team to a total close to 200, Virat Kohli was on hand to anchor the chase to perfection.

India eventually won the match by six wickets with nearly 17 overs to spare, with Pandya winning the man of the match award on his ODI debut.

There were a few eyebrows raised when the all-rounder was given the new ball ahead of Jasprit Bumrah, but it proved to be a masterstroke as the 23-year-old finished with figures of three for 31 from seven overs.

"We wanted to give him a go with the new ball," Dhoni told reporters, after the win which gave India a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. "We just have eight games before Champions Trophy.

"So we would like to see how he reacts under different conditions and situations. How quickly he can adapt to the conditions."

Dhoni believes Pandya's ability to surprise the batsman with his pace off the wicket and the fact that he has the ability to move the ball around led to the youngster being given an opportunity to prove he has what it takes to pick up wickets consistently with the new ball.

"Our thinking was to use him as one of the three seamers and to give him a chance to exploit the new ball," Dhoni said. "The reason being we all felt he is quite deceptive.

"He can bowl quick. He has got movement and can swing the ball even on wickets where some other bowlers don't get that kind of swing. He is somebody who can get some purchase of the wicket."

The Champions Trophy, of which India are the defending champions, will be held in England next year and another bowler who can be extremely effective under those conditions is Umesh. The fast bowler was just as impressive as Pandya, who was given his ODI cap by the legendary Kapil Dev, with the new ball, taking the crucial wickets of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, with his new-found consistency a real positive.

"I think Umesh bowled good lines," Dhoni added. "He has shown consistency in the last one, one-and-half years. He is swinging the ball. He is bowling in the right areas. So I feel it's a good opportunity for him to showcase his talent, show how much he has improved.

"Also looking at Champions Trophy in mind, England is where bowlers will get a bit of swing. So if he can hit the right areas with pace, he can create trouble for the batsmen."

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