2nd ODI: Big bats, spinners put India up 2-0
MS Dhoni's unbeaten 48 off 33 balls helped India to 324/4. © AFP

India have taken a 2-0 lead in the five-match series by beating New Zealand by 90 runs in the second ODI at Mount Maunganui’s Bay Oval on Saturday.

A 14th century-plus stand between Rohit Sharma (87 off 96 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (66 from 67) was followed by brisk forties from Virat Kohli and Ambati Rayudu and a 53-run stand in 26 balls between MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav that took India to 324/4. Short balls accounted for Rohit, Kohli and Rayudu at crucial junctures of the first innings, with Lockie Ferguson unlucky not get Dhoni as his third wicket. Dhoni added a vital unbeaten 48 from 33 balls and Jadhav injected 22 from ten balls to put up a match-winning total.

Back at the venue at which they made 371 and 319 against Sri Lanka earlier this month, New Zealand needed to get 325 and never came close. They lost half their side in 24.3 overs and only got to 234 in the 41st over thanks to a spirited partnership between Doug Bracewell and Ferguson, with Kuldeep Yadav’s wristspin proving a major source of confusion once again. (AS IT HAPPENED: INDIA vs NEW ZEALAND)

The game started with Rohit edging the first ball from Boult past a diving Tom Latham behind the stumps, but thereon the batting Powerplay was littered with authoritative shots. Full balls and leg-stump offerings were duly punched and flicked imperiously, and there was just one boundary-less over inside the first ten. Even when Rohit was surprised by Ferguson’s pace the result was four, such are the short boundaries at Bay Oval. When Ferguson returned for a second spell and banged it in again, Rohit pulled him for six to raise the 100-run stand and his fifty, off 62 balls. Another six followed, and out of the attack went Ferguson. (READ MORE: Nine-year-old Indian girl joins Kohli and at toss)

Ish Sodhi briefly slowed the flow of runs but from the other end Colin de Grandhomme was hit for four fours in two overs by Dhawan who reached his fifty 53 balls. Colin Munro was experimented with, but his pace was so inviting that Dhawan immediately swept him from outside off for four. (SCORECARD: INDIA vs NEW ZEALAND, 1st ODI)

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan put on 154 for the opening wicket.
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan put on 154 for the opening wicket. © AFP

The stand ended on 154 in the 26th over when Dhawan flayed at Boult end edged to Latham. That wicket-maiden stemmed the attacking approach from Rohit, who scored five runs from his next 11 balls before he pulled a clever slower delivery from Ferguson to deep square leg where de Grandhomme fell forward to hold a nice catch.

Kohli, on 12 at the time, didn’t allow a good spell from Ferguson to tie him down. He scored ten off his next 11 balls and then stepped out to drive Bracewell over extra cover and pull him past a diving fine leg for boundaries that put him on 30 from 30. Smart singles were key to the tempo being maintained. Rayudu hit two fours off Ferguson to begin briskly and though not as fast as Kohli, he did well to rotate the strike with his offside timing particularly strong.

The 50-run stand came off 49 balls, but then came a pivotal moment. The first ball of Boult’s third spell accounted for Kohli, who on 43 was hurried into a pull shot that sent the ball to Sodhi at fine leg. At 236/2 with Kohli and Rayudu at the crease and 11 overs to go, India looked on course to get 350, but that wicket pulled them back.

Rayudu hit a few big shots to move to 47 before he became the third batsman to fall to the bouncer, as Ferguson pushed him back and collected a massive top-edge himself. Ferguson was unfortunate not to add Dhoni, who on 29 slashed out to a running de Grandhomme at third man who failed to hold onto the catch and allowed four. Dhoni put 300 up with a pulled six off Boult and then Jadhav and Dhoni took 21 off the last over, bowled by Ferguson.

Doug Bracewell's maiden ODI fifty stalled India for some time.
Doug Bracewell’s maiden ODI fifty stalled India for some time. © AFP

Martin Guptill should have been run out first ball of the chase; he was dropped on 12 by Dhoni off Bhuvneshwar and edged Mohammed Shami just in front of the slips. On 15, his luck ran out when he uppercut Bhuvneshwar and was well held by a tumbling Chahal at third man. Kane Williamson went next for 20, hitting Shami for six, six and four in a row and then chopping his 11th ball faced onto the stumps to hand the bowler a much-needed wicket.

Then the spinners took over. Munro’s hit-and-miss innings of 31 came to an end when he missed a mighty switch-hit against Chahal and was plumb in front, Ross Taylor lost balance when beaten by Jadhav and was superbly stumped by Dhoni for 22, and Kuldeep  was the beneficiary of some smart bowling to two aggressive batsmen.

Latham had breezed to 34 when he missed a sweep to a clever faster ball and was out lbw; all Kuldeep had to do was slow the pace to de Grandhomme who heaved across the stumps and was very well taken by Rayudu just inside the deep midwicket boundary. New Zealand had slipped to 146/6 in 27 overs.

The batsmen kept attacking and Kuldeep pocketed 4/45 to become 2019’s leading wicket-taker with ten. He found himself on a hat-trick after Henry Nicholls slashed to backward point and Sodhi walked across his stumps, but was denied by Bracewell who collected his first ODI half-century to delay the inevitable. Bracewell – picked as an allrounder in his latest comeback for the Blackcaps – struck three sixes and five fours in an entertaining 57 while adding 58 with Ferguson. This proved a lesson for their batting team-mates to learn from.

Brief scores: India 324/4 in 50 overs (Rohit 87, Dhawan 66, Dhoni 48*) beat New Zealand 234 in 40.2 overs (Bracewell 57, Kuldeep 4/45) by 90 runs