LIVE Cricket Score, India vs New Zealand, India vs New Zealand live score, ind vs nz 4th ODI, ind vs nz live score, india vs New Zealand live streaming, India Vs New Zealand Highlights, India Zealand Ranchi
MS Dhoni celebrating Kane Williamson’s wicket with deputy Virat Kohli AFP

Kane Williamson finally got unluckier, for he finally called it right at the toss. However, he decided to bat first on a ground that witnesses heavy dew as the sun goes down. No, wait. The matters are not worse yet. New Zealand, for unknown yet peculiar reasons, dished out a three-spinner attack: Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi and Anton Devcich. Let’s take a small trip down the memory lane. Half a year ago, Ravichandran Ashwin could not grip the ball in the semi-final of ICC World T20 2016. He conceded 20 runs, compelling Dhoni to restrict his go-to bowler to a 2-over spell. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs New Zealand, 4th ODI at Ranchi

In the ongoing limited-overs series, New Zealand batted first thrice, eventually defending the total only once. In addition, India is one of the few teams who does not succumb to the pressure of chasing. If a team has champions such as MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, it is as good as invincible. As a result, New Zealand had no option but to go all guns blazing and post a mammoth total. In fact, openers Tom Latham and Martin Guptill did exactly the same. The duo blasted 80 runs in the first 10 overs.

Dhawal Kulkarni, who replaced the injured Jasprit Bumrah, leaked 37 runs off his first four overs. Guptill, especially, left no stone unturned and used his blade to devastating effect.

Meanwhile, Latham continued his fluent strokeplay. Proper cricketing shots, calm approach and expressionless: the southpaw used all his traits to lay a solid foundation for the middle-order.

Amidst all the rampage, Umesh Yadav who was once considered erratic was at his lethal best. For that matter, his change-in-pace tactic contained the onslaught.

New Zealand were amassing runs at a run-rate of 8, which forced Dhoni to bring the spin duo of Akshar Patel and Amit Mishra into the attack. The plan worked, so much so that the pair gave away 14 runs in 5 overs, keeping a lid on the runs.

Sourav Ganguly, in his captaincy days, believed a wicket will fall if a team keeps the runs at the bay. And it happened so…

Akshar drew first blood. His prey was in the in-form Latham, who yet again threw away a good start.

After 20 overs, New Zealand were 116 for 1. To put things into perspective, the visitors managed to score only 36 runs in the last 10 overs, thanks to spinners’ disciplined bowling.

Then man with Midas touch introduced the man with a golden arm Kedar Jadhav. Before we shower heaps of praises on him, let me remind you that Jadhav is the second-highest wicket-taker this series. In 3 matches, he bowled only 10 overs, taking 6 wickets at 7.6. Yes, he has been that swashbuckling.

We saw him emulating Saqlain Mushtaq today. No, his action is not a reminiscence to that of Saqlain’s. He, as a matter of fact, completed his action before the popping crease, that is, somewhere around the bowling crease. What it did was that it scaled down the bounce, forcing the batsmen to play on the front foot.

Let alone the point of release, he drifts away the ball from a right-hander. And as the ball kisses the surface, it holds its line, courtesy his round-arm action.

There were loud shouts of appeals. The ball fell short of the fielders on few occasions. And one of the stumping chance was referred to the third umpire as well…

New Zealand were lucky, if truth told. Jadhav deserved a wicket, for his first spell read 7-0-25-0.

Meanwhile, Guptill reached his 18th half-century and looked good for a big score. However, as fate may have it, star of the first ODI Hardik Pandya used his stock delivery to end Guptill’s innings on 72: he banged the ball in the corridor of uncertainty and produced an outside edge. LIVE BLOG: India vs New Zealand, 4th ODI at Ranchi

Stalwart Ross Taylor joined Williamson in the middle and added 46 runs for the third wicket, before the New Zealand captain edged Mishra’s leg-cutter to Dhoni (he does not make any mistakes, does he?).

Considering facts and figures, every time Williamson finishes as highest-scorer, New Zealand ends up at the doorstep of victory.

James Neesham soon joined his captain in the pavilion. It was Mishra again who scaled up the wickets column.

The onus was then on Taylor to take his team to a respectable total (if not colossal). But Dhoni’s brilliance concluded Taylor’s innings on 34. It was the usual back-of-the-hand throw behind the stumps. He hit as if he has eyes at the back of his head as well. However, what grabbed eyeballs was when Dhoni gave a swaggering smile to his deputy Kohli. Thug life, this!

Wickets tumbled one after another and New Zealand could churn out only 260 runs on the scoreboard. What seemed like a big total was reduced to a below-par one.

Credit goes to the Indian bowling unit, for they performed well in tandem even at crucial juncture.

After 10 overs, New Zealand were 80 for 0; after 30 overs, they were 161 for 2. Not that New Zealand failed to sensibly apply themselves but Dhoni’s field setting and bowling changes were too good to outsmart.

Brief scores

New Zealand 260 for 7 (Martin Guptill 72, Kane Williamson 41; Amit Mishra 2 for 41) vs India

Scorecard

(Kaustubh S. Mayekar, a reporter at CricketCountry, played cricket at U-16 level. Like his idol Rahul Dravid, he often shadow-practises cricket shots. His Twitter handle is @kaumedy_)