It sits annoyingly as one of New Zealand cricket's frontiers still to be conquered, but Kane Williamson's team have two bites at this particular apple this week.

Having won the opening ODI in the three-game series in India on Monday, New Zealand face the world's second-ranked team in Pune late tonight with the chance to win their first bilateral one-day series in India.

Should they be beaten, they'll still have one final opportunity, next Sunday night in Kanpur.

Two chances to achieve history.


New Zealand have reached this point before.

In 1995, 1999 and last year, New Zealand have taken the series to a decider, before falling over.

Twenty-two years ago, New Zealand were rolled for 126 at Mumbai to go down 3-2; four years later the decider was in Delhi, with the series locked 2-2 but 179 for nine wasn't enough, as Sourav Ganguly hit 86 to lead India home.

Most frustratingly, last year, requiring a gettable 270 in Visakhapatnam, New Zealand folded lamely for 79, unable to cope with the legspin of Amit Mishra and the left arm spin of Axar Patel.

Now another chance awaits.

There have been occasions when New Zealand were whipped in India. Their first bilateral tour in 1988 was one such trip, beaten 4-0, and there was a 5-0 beating in 2010.

New Zealand are fifth on the rankings, but only six points adrift of India.

The biggest lesson out of Monday's victory should be the belief that they can win from unpromising circumstances. India's batting champion Virat Kohli took advantage of a let-off at 29, dropped by Mitchell Santner, to score a fine 121. Chasing 280 shaped as daunting but Ross Taylor and Tom Latham grabbed their chance, put on 200, established a New Zealand record for the fourth wicket and the visitors' stood tall.

India had warmed up for this series with a 4-1 thrashing of Australia.

Not many teams go to India and succeed. The odds are invariably stacked against the touring teams, whether through the quality of the opposition, the heat or the state of the pitch.

"Everyone's excited about the challenge ahead," new opener Colin Munro said last night.

"We ticked all the right boxes in the last game, and if we put everything into this game and go 2-0 up it makes it a lot easier.

"A series win over here against the best team in the world in their own conditions will send a good statement to other people around the world that New Zealand cricket is getting stronger and stronger."

And the new opener admitted he feels less pressure going in first than in the middle order. Challenging, yes, but also enjoyable. If he's good enough he can make the role alongside Martin Guptill his for the early part of the summer at least.

India v New Zealand

Second ODI, Pune, from 9 tonight

India: (from) Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shardul Thakur.

NZ: (from) Kane Williamson (c), Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Trent Boult, Glenn Phillips, George Worker, Matt Henry, Ish Sodhi.