New Delhi, Oct 20:
New Zealand bounced back in style to beat India by six runs in the second One-Day International (ODI) and level the five-match series 1-1 at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Thursday.
Chasing a modest 243, a complacent India were off to a poor start with wickets tumbling at regular intervals as the New Zealand bowlers used the evening dew to their advantage.
Maharashtra batsman Kedar Jadhav (41), skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (39) and Ajinkya Rahane (28) offered some resistance but that was not enough to take the hosts over the line.
Dhoni’s ploy of playing the waiting game on a slow and low Kotla track backfired against an inspired Kiwi bowling aided by some agile fielding.
The opening pair of Rohit Sharma (15) and Rahane put on 21 runs before pacer Trent Boult dismissed Rohit off an outside edge which was caught behind by keeper Luke Ronchi.
After the dismissal, Rohit immediately clutched his bicep, writhing in pain, as the physio came out to take a look at him. His 27-ball innings was laced with a four and a six.
Rohit’s departure brought in local boy Virat Kohli (9) — a moment which the capacity crowd at Kotla waited for all day — amidst thunderous applause.
But the celebrations soon dampened as the Test skipper was strangled down his legs by left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner inducing a thin edge which Ronchi successfully grabbed.
Rahane was then joined by rookie Manish Pandey (19) and the right-handed duo put on 32 runs for the third wicket before the Mumbaikar fell prey to a controversial decision leaving India reeling at 72/3. Rahane’s 49-ball effort composed of three boundaries.
Pandey soon made his way back to the pavilion, scoring a 25-ball 19 laced with a six after an outstanding run out by Santner.
Struggling at a precarious 73/4, Dhoni and Jadhav walked into the middle and the duo put on 66 for the fifth wicket with the Maharashtra keeper-bat outscoring his skipper.
Jadhav, who managed to take a wicket with his part-time off-spin earlier in the day, looked in great rhythm with the willow. He scored a 37-ball 41 with two fours and as many sixes before pacer Matt Henry sent him back.
Dhoni was then joined by left-arm spinner Axar Patel (17), and the duo forged a 33-run stand for the sixth wicket before the Ranchi stumper was brilliantly caught by Tim Southee off his own bowling.
With the match running away from India’s grasps, all-rounder Hardik Pandya raised the hopes with a brilliant 32-ball 36 and more importantly a 49-ball stand with Umesh Yadav (18 not out) for the ninth wicket.
Pandya, however, in his attempt to accelerate was dismissed in the penultimate over by Boult, leaving the hosts fall short of the target by six runs.
For the Kiwis, Southee was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets while Boult and Martin Guptill took two wickets each. Santner and Henry also took a wicket each.
Earlier, riding on skipper Kane Williamson’s eighth career century, New Zealand put up an improved batting performance before losing the track to post 242/9.Williamson (118) helped the visitors recover from yet another disappointing start after being sent in to bat.
But just when it looked like New Zealand were heading for a decent total, Indian bowlers pulled the plugs by taking six wickets within a span of 38 runs to restrict the visitors below the 250-run mark on a slow Kotla track.
Seasoned leg-spinner Mishra and young medium pacer Bumrah took three wickets apiece to break the backbone of the Kiwi batting even as Yadav, Axar Patel and Jadhav chipped in with one wicket each.
The 26-year-old Williamson, who came in after opener Guptill was clean bowled off the second ball of the match by pacer Yadav, was involved in all the three decent partnerships which took the Black Caps to some sort of respectability.
Playing his 95th match, the right-hander first put on 120 runs with opener Tom Latham (46) for the second wicket before adding 38 and 46 runs respectively for the second and third wickets with Ross Taylor (21) and Corey Anderson (21).
In his attempt to avoid another batting collapse, Williamson started cautiously picking the odd singles before changing gears once Dhoni employed his spinners.
Williamson, who was dropped twice on 46 and 59, took full advantage of the lives as he went on to bring up his century off 109 balls, with 13 fours and a six. His second- wicket stand with Latham turned out to be the cornerstone of their batting effort.
It was once again part-timer Jadhav, who gave India the vital breakthrough by removing Latham, and help the home side make inroads into the Kiwi batting line-up.
The southpaw’s run-a-ball 46 comprised six fours and a six.
Taylor, who joined Williamson at the fall of Latham was visibly out of touch, scoring a 42-ball 21, but more importantly stood firm with his skipper for a 38-run stand.
Taylor’s stay at the crease was cut short by Mishra, who deceived him with a faster ball only to be caught at deep midwicket by Rohit.
The former Kiwi skipper’s dismissal brought in all-rounder Anderson, who added 46 vital runs with Williamson to take the team over the 200-run mark. He soon fell prey to the leggie after scoring 21 off 32 balls, which included two boundaries.
Adding insult to the injury, Mishra then bowled a shorter delivery to pack off Williamson, who was caught by Ajinkya Rahane at the long-on boundary. Williamson’s 128-run innings was laced with 14 boundaries and a massive six.
Struggling at 213/5 and with almost seven overs to go, Indian bowlers took full advantage of the situation to pack the next four batsman within a span of 29 runs.
Luke Ronchi (6), Anton Devcich (7), Tim Southee (0) and Matt Henry (6) looked to be in a competition to get back to the pavilion as Bumrah piled on the misery taking three wickets with his brilliant yorkers alongside Patel’s miserly efforts to restrict them to 242/9.
With the five match series levelled at 1-1, India will now take on the Kiwis in the third match on October 23 at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium in Mohali. (IANS)