London:India squandered a rollicking start and lost the plot towards the end to concede a nine-run defeat against New Zealand in their warm-up match of the ICC World Twenty20 here.
Chasing 171 for a win, India rode on sterling knocks from Rohit Sharma (36), Suresh Raina (45) and Ravindra Jadeja (41 not out) to cruise to what seemed an imminent win before they were restricted to 161 for six last night.
Earlier, New Zealand survived Ishant Sharma's four-wicket haul to post 170 for seven with useful cameos from Ross Taylor (41), Brendon McCullum (31), Scott Styris (29) and James Franklin (27 not out off 10 balls).
India were off to a flying start with Rohit wasting precious little time to assert his class even in his uncharacteristic opener's role.
Rohit carved Iain O'Brien for a boundary in the first over and worse awaited the right-arm pacer who bled 18 runs in his second with Rohit hitting him for two massive sixes and a four with class written all over the shots.
The opening stand yielded 42 runs inside five overs when Gautam Gambhir (14) fell to Ian Butler but Rohit smote James Franklin for another six to signal he was not perturbed.
India, however, soon found themselves in a spot of bother with rival captain Daniel Vettori striking twice in his first over.
Coming at number three, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (6) had advanced so much down the track that even a fumbling Brendon McCullum had all the time in the world to dislodge the bails.
Two balls later, Rohit fluffed a shot and much to his dismay, the ball rolled on to hit the stumps, cutting short his 20-ball knock bejeweled with three sixes and as many fours.
Fortunately for them, Raina seemed to continue from where he had left it in the Indian Premier League. The left-hander hit Vettori for two sixes in a row followed by a four and ran many a cheeky runs with Jadeja.
Jacob Oram removed Raina in the 15th over and Vettori caught Yusuf Pathan (2) off his own bowling and the Kiwis then put a brake on boundaries with some lethal bowling at death that proved decisive.
Earlier, the Kiwis overcame a shoddy start and some hostile bowling from Ishant before reaching a modest total with Taylor (41), McCullum (31), Styris (29) and James Franklin (27 not out off 10 balls) shining with the bat.
Despite McCullum and Jesse Ryder (2), arguably two of the most hard-hitting batsmen in contemporary cricket, opening the innings, New Zealand had a rather subdued start after India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni put them in.
Ryder's poor form in the recent Indian Premier League continued here too and the left-hander had his off-stump uprooted by Ishant Sharma in the third over.
At the other end, McCullum often stepped out, trying to unsettle the disciplined Indian bowlers, and had occasional success against Praveen Kumar, RP Singh and Ishant too.
But just when he started looking dangerous, McCullum miscued a skier to become his Knight Riders teammate Ishant Sharma's second victim.
Taylor struggled initially before hitting Pragyan Ojha for back-to-back sixes to light up proceedings but the big-turning left-arm spinner finally had some balms applied on his wound when he had Martin Guptill (10) stumped in the same over.
Taylor had his share of luck as well and the right-hander got a reprieve when Dhoni dropped a thick edge off Harbhajan Singh.
Ishant returned to remove Jacob Oram (5) but Taylor found an able ally in Styris and the duo nosed ahead till the 16th over when Harbhajan removed Taylor with R P Singh taking a well-judged catch in the deep.
Taylor's 33-ball knock included two sixes apart from three boundaries.
Ishant was not done yet and the beanpole pacer castled Styris in his final over to finish with a figure of 4-0-25-4. Down the order, James Franklin (27 not out off 10 balls) hit RP Singh for two successive sixes, followed by a four, to push the score.