India continued their domination over the Black Caps, winning the second match on the trot to lead the five-match series 2-0. Putting on 324 after choosing to bat first, India had given the Kiwis 325-run target and the spinners did the rest as the hosts crumbled to a 90-run loss. Here is our report card from the game at Mount Maunganui.
With the ball swinging early on at Mount Maunganui, Rohit Sharma rode his luck and was careful to start off with, slowly picking up his pace as the pitch settled down. He took on Lockie Ferguson for sixes in back-to-back overs before consecutive fours off Trent Boult further got him into groove. Just as Rohit seemed set for a big one, Lockie Ferguson had him caught out with a short ball, 13 short of a ton.
Kuldeep Yadav broke the stand between Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls and then ran through the middle-order, dismissing Colin de Grandhomme, Henry Nicholls and Ish Sodhi to wipe out New Zealand's last chance. From 136/4, Kuldeep derailed the Black Caps completely, reducing them to 166/8.
Dhawan, in the company of Rohit Sharma, got India off to a rollicking start, putting on a 154-run opening stand that gave India a solid platform. The southpaw, who had found his form back with a half-century in last game, once again took off early and was aided by a dropped catch on the way. He raced to a half-century at nearly run-a-ball before playing a nothing shot off Boult to edge behind.
Boult was the pick of New Zealand's bowlers, sticking to his channels and generating movement off the deck and in the air. He was probably used from the wrong end early on by Williamson but removed Dhawan and Virat Kohli to suck the momentum out of India's innings in the middle overs.
Dhoni was slow to accelerate early on as he and Rayudu ate up a few balls in the death overs. When Rayudu got out, Dhoni was on 18 off 17 balls but he went on a rampage thereafter, slamming 30 in his next 16 balls to give India some much-needed momentum in the final few overs alongside Kedar Jadhav.
After a 154-run opening partnership, Kohli walked in to partner Rohit Sharma and carried on the good work with his busy batting. He slammed five fours in his innings and made 43 in 44 balls before Trent Boult had him caught in the deep with a bumper. Kohli would rue the fact that he couldn't carry on in the same vein and help India through the death overs.
Jadhav went berserk in the final two overs, bludgeoning Trent Boult for a four in the penultimate over and Lockie Ferguson for two fours and a six in the final over. Alongside Dhoni, Jadhav plundered 53 runs in the final four overs to help India post a good total on the board. With the ball, Jadhav removed the in-form batsman, Ross Taylor, and bowled well in his six overs to form the perfect foil for Kuldeep and Chahal.
Bracewell found swing early on at Mount Maunganui but couldn't use it to pick up a wicket as his first five overs went for 29 and without any success. Bracewell once again proved his worth with the bat and took the Kiwis to a total of respectability with a 46-ball 57 but it came all too late to change the course of the match.
Rayudu's No 4 position continues to dangle by a thread as he made a good looking 47 but the strike rate at which it was made given the game situation made it a lot less valuable. Rayudu and Dhoni spent a lot of time in the death overs without really stepping on the accelerator and it seemed like India would settle for a less than adequate total until Jadhav and Dhoni added the final impetus soon after Rayudu was dismissed. Batting behind three superb batsmen, India need more aggression from their No 4.
Latham continued to man the middle overs for New Zealand but his run-a-ball knock was disrupted in the 30s by a peach of a delivery from Kuldeep Yadav. The chinaman deceived Latham, a fine player of spin bowling, in flight and had him trapped in front. Latham has been a huge influence in New Zealand's middle-order with his ability to play spin but so far in this series, he has struggled to consistently do the same.
Sodhi was recalled in place of Mitchell Santner to yield more wickets against a potent Indian batting line-up but much like the left-arm spinner, went wicketless in his spell despite being tidy. Being a leg-spinner, Sodhi was expected to add a dash of boldness in the middle overs but the wristy Indian batsmen played him out considerably well.
Ferguson has been one of Williamson's go-to bowlers in the format of late and his extra pace and zip off the surface worked for and against him on Saturday. He leaked runs at a frenetic pace but he also produced the big wickets of Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu. Ferguson finished his 10-over spell by conceding 81 runs and New Zealand will hope he learns his lesson and comes out a better bowler.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was wayward in his initial spell as he mixed up the shorter ball with his fuller ones without really putting the batsmen in trouble. He removed Martin Guptill early with a short and wide one and then brought a full stop to Doug Bracewell's shenanigans, but his economy took a beating as Boult belted him for a six and a four.
Kuldeep Yadav overshadowed his wrist spin twin Chahal. The Royal Challengers Bangalore leggie had Colin Munro trapped in front and added another wicket late in the innings but his overall figures of 2/52 pale in comparison to Kuldeep.
Munro got off to a reasonable start with some heavily bottom handed shots early on and seemed to have found his rhythm as Vijay Shankar came on. The medium pacer was slapped for a couple of fours on the trot but Munro's antics came to an end as he looked to reserve sweep Chahal only to be trapped in front for 31.
Nicholls was in fine form walking into this ODI series but he has found the going tough against India's spinners. He combined with Latham in a partnership that tried to lift the Kiwis out of the abyss but Kuldeep removed his partner to push New Zealand's innings on back foot. Soon enough, Nicholls fell to the wrist spinner, charging out with little intent and going through with the loft shot despite not getting to the pitch of the ball.
Shami was hit for back-to-back sixes off short balls and then a boundary by Kane Williamson, but he came back roaring, forcing the batsman to chop back onto his stumps in the same over. The Indian seamer has been impressive in this series but will want to cut out on his tendency to go short when the wicket is helping the seamers.
After making 20 off 11 balls, Williamson got carried away and looked to go after Shami again only to inside edge onto the stumps. With the Kiwis lacking enough partnerships in the middle overs against Chahal and Kuldeep, Williamson was needed to stay there but he let the team down with his eagerness to dominate.
Taylor got off to a start yet again but like at Napier, threw his wicket away as he was beaten on the outside edge by Jadhav. He had ambled along to 22 before he tried to push Jadhav on the back foot but was beaten in drift with his back leg in the air. MS Dhoni completed the stumping to leave the Kiwis in tatters. The hosts sorely need Taylor to step up his game against the spinners.
Vijay Shankar hasn't had a chance to redeem himself with the bat after a less than convincing show in his last stint with the national team. Yet again at Mount Maunganui, he was used just with the ball and wasn't even containing as he leaked 17 in his two overs of innocuous medium pace.
Guptill edged behind off Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Dhoni shelled a chance but Guptill couldn't make use of the reprieve as he slashed at another wide ball from the Indian pacer to gift a catch down the third man's throat.
Colin de Grandhomme
De Grandhomme was expected to shore up the batting with his swing bowling in favourable conditions. He was picked over Southee but went at nearly eight runs an over in a wicketless spell. He was befuddled by Kuldeep with the bat and did not trouble the scorers much.
Rating chart: 10-9: Excellent, 8-7: Good, 6-5: Average, 4-3: Poor, 2-1: Very poor
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