Auckland: New Zealand exorcised the ghost of a nightmarish T20 whitewash with a series-clinching 22-run victory against India in the second ODI on Saturday as the visitors paid the price for poor shot selection.
Revenge as they say is a dish best served cold and on a chilly Auckland night, New Zealand defended a total of 273 by restricting India to 251 in 48.3 overs taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
The victory also completed a hat-trick of ODI wins for the Black Caps starting from their World Cup semi-final win in Manchester last year.
The win was more creditable as regular skipper Kane Williamson along with top bowlers Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson were unavailable.
New Zealand’s 6 foot 8 inch debutant Kyle Jamieson (2/42 and 25 off 24 balls) got the ‘Player of the Match’ award for his all-round show.
“I’m impressed with how we finished. We let things slip away from 197-8 to 270 plus in the first half but came back strongly with the second half of our batting. We were in trouble with the bat, but Saini and Jadeja played really well, as did Shreyas,” skipper Virat Kohli said at the post-match presentation.
In fact the skipper felt that ODIs are less relevant in a T20 World Championship year.
“ODIs aren’t too relevant this year compared to Tests and T20s, but to find people who can play that way under pressure is a big revelation for us and a big plus.”
Ravindra Jadeja (55 off 73 balls) along with Navdeep Saini (45 off 49 balls) raised visions of pulling off an improbable win with a 76-run partnership, which ended in vain.
Tim Southee despite running temperature (2/41 in 10 overs) was brilliant with the new ball as his incutter got rid of Virat Kohli but it was poor shot selection from a set Shreyas Iyer (52) and Kedar Jadhav (9) in the middle overs did cost India dearly after the inexperienced pair of Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw had a second successive poor day.
Earlier, in-form Ross Taylor produced a rearguard act with an unbeaten half century to rescue New Zealand to a competitive 273 for eight in 50 overs.
Taylor scored 73 not out (74 balls, 6 fours, 2 sixes) — his 51st half-century — and put on 76 off 51 balls for the ninth wicket with Jamieson to lift the hosts from 197-8 to a competitive score.
Opener Martin Guptill smashed a run-a-ball 79 to give the Black Caps a good start but they lost seven wickets for 55 runs to look down the barrel at one stage.
Put in to bat, New Zealand got off to a positive start as Guptill (79) and Henry Nicholls (41) put on 93 runs for the first wicket.
Guptill’s innings contained eight fours and three sixes, as their cautious start meant India were searching for wickets early on. The breakthrough came only in the 17th over as Yuzvendra Chahal trapped Nicholls LBW.
Chahal had earlier dropped Nicholls in the 15th over as India started nervously in the field again. But things came together after the first wicket with the visitors piling on the pressure.
Shardul Thakur (2-60) got rid of Tom Blundell (22) and then came the turning moment. Guptill set off for a suicidal run and was duly caught short of his crease by Thakur’s throw.
The Kiwis were suddenly down to 157 for 3 and India made good use of the opening.
Ravindra Jadeja (1-35) got into the action, first dismissing Tom Latham (7) and then running out Jimmy Neesham (3).
Colin de Grandhomme (5) holed out off Thakur, with Chahal returning to gleefully accept a return catch from Mark Chapman (1).
New Zealand were in danger of not crossing 200 when Tim Southee (3) was caught off Chahal too. The leg spinner finished with 3-58.
Taylor scored his half-century off 61 balls, while Jamieson threw his bat around to smack a four and two sixes to bring up their 50-partnership off 35 balls.