Cricket: Black Caps breathe life into India series

New Zealand's Luke Ronchi and Martin Guptill celebrate during this morning's thrilling six-run win over India. Photo / AP.
New Zealand's Luke Ronchi and Martin Guptill celebrate during this morning's thrilling six-run win over India. Photo / AP.

Kane Williamson might have struck the first hundred for the Black Caps on their tour of India and been named man of the match in his side's thrilling six-run victory but it was the bowling unit that took most of the plaudits.

Most importantly, the result has given life to a series that was in danger of slipping away. No wonder the New Zealanders punched the air in delight and hugged each other in relief after pulling off their first win of their Indian tour.

"It was a great game of cricket," Williamson said. "It's certainly nice to come out on the winning side in these close games but the best part was to show some improvement from the previous one-dayer which was important for us."

The five-match one-day series is now level 1-1 with the third game at Mohali on Sunday, and comes on the back of the 3-0 hammering New Zealand received in the test series. A lot of the credit they had in the bank was spent after a series of inept performances.

There are still areas to improve, not least of all the batting form of Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor who have been so pivotal to New Zealand's fortunes in recent years. Guptill was bowled by a peach from Umesh Radav second ball, though he will be disturbed by how much he missed it by.

Taylor scratched to 21 off 42, which would have been fine if he had then kicked on and scored a half-century instead of falling for a well-laid trap to hole out on the boundary.
New Zealand felt they were at least 20 runs short of a par total in amassing 242 for nine in their 50 overs.

Williamson hit a measured 118 off 128 balls and also combined with opener Tom Latham (46) to put on 120 for the second wicket to set the Black Caps up nicely but they could manage only 40 runs for the loss of six wickets from their final 10 overs.

Williamson's was the decisive innings of the match, his eighth ODI century and it put him level with former captain Stephen Fleming and equal fourth among New Zealanders.
"It was nice to get a total on the board, albeit it was probably a bit off where we wanted to be. It was a tough surface to increase the scoring rate on," Williamson said. "It was a bit low and slow and India bowled very well."

India's chase got off on the wrong foot in the face of some disciplined bowling by New Zealand who picked up wickets at regular intervals to put pressure on the batsmen.
Dhoni (39) and Kedar Jadhav (41) steadied the innings with a 66-run stand for the fifth wicket after the side had been reduced to 73 for four in the 20th over.

But after Dhoni fell to a superb one-handed return catch by Southee, the chase seemed to be out of India's reach.

New Zealand's grip on the match tightened after Axar Patel and Mishra fell in the same over to Guptill's part-time off-spin before Pandya, the player of the match in the first ODI, and Yadav took India to the brink.

"It was a fantastic effort by our seam bowlers, led by Trent Boult, to restrict them and squeeze them on that surface, which was the only way to do it. They certainly weren't going to be blasted out."

Boult claimed 2 for 25 from his 10 overs, including two maidens, and was well backed up by Tim Southee (3-52 off 9.3 overs). India needed 10 runs off the final over, bowled by Southee, and got three off the first two balls before Southee brilliantly yorked Jasprit Bumrah to dismiss India for 236 with three balls to spare.

"It was nice... to show that fight we pride ourselves on," Williamson said.

- NZ Herald

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