The series levelling win came as Karthik leaned into the perfect cover drive off Time Southee’s final delivery in the 46th over. But credit must also go to opener Shikhar Dhawan (68) and Hardik Pandya (30 off 31 balls) for providing Karthik with much needed support from the other end. Both the batsmen ensured that they hit the timely boundaries and let Karthik hold one end up. In the end, it was a walk in the park for the hosts as Dhoni (18*) and Karthik took India home.
Chasing 231, India did not have the most auspicious of starts as Southee sent Rohit Sharma (7) back to the pavilion with the score reading 22. Even though Kohli (29) did strike a good partnership with Dhawan, the skipper was dismissed by Colin de Grandhomme against the run of play in the 14th over.
That is when Karthik joined hands with Dhawan and the two batted India close to the target. While Dhawan was happy to take the timely risks, Karthik happily played second fiddle and ran the ones and twos. While all looked good, Dhawan suddenly looked distracted after reaching his 22nd ODI fifty.
The otherwise calm opener started to look fidgety as he kept coming down the track and started to take unnecessary chances. This finally led to his downfall as Adam Milne sent him back for 68 as the southpaw tried to hit Milne out of the ground and ended up handing an easy catch to Ross Taylor at short cover.
Walking in with the score reading 145/3, Pandya ensured that he took the attack to the bowlers and let Karthik stand ground at one end. And just when it looked like the duo would take India home, Santner stuck against the run of play as this time Pandya swept the spinner to Milne at short fine-leg. With the score reading 204/4, Dhoni walked into the crease and hit a few crisp boundaries as the Pune crowd got their money’s worth.
Earlier, the New Zealand batsmen failed to capitalize after Kane Williamson won the toss and decided to have a bat. He seemed to have clearly read the wicket wrong as Kohli said he would have fielded and that seemed to have been the better choice.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/45) and Jasprit Bumrah (2/38) put up an inspired show at the front half as the Kiwis were tottering at 58/4 at one stage. Last match’s centurion Tom Latham did try to fight a lone battle from one end as he looked to stand ground.
But when Axar Patel finally sent him back for 38, the writing was almost on the wall for the visitors as the score read 118/5. Grandhomme and Henry Nicholls did try to up the ante and keep the Kiwis in the game as they used the long handle to good effect. But Bhuvneshwar came back to dismiss Nicholls for 42. And Chahal had the last laugh when he sent back Grandhomme for a 40-ball 41 as the New Zealand innings lost plot completely.
Finally a small cameo from Southee (unbeaten 25 off 22 balls) saw the New Zealanders reach a respectable 230/9 in their 50 overs.
Bhuvneshwar Kumardinesh karthikHardik PandyaIndia vs New Zealand 2017jasprit bumrahKane WilliamsonMS DhoniRavi Shastrishikhar dhawantom lathamvirat kohli
First Published: October 26, 2017, 8:20 AM IST