A match that everyone was waiting for on this tour finally happened. A match where there was some fight and a different result to keep the cricket away from being monotonous. New Zealand finally came up with a victory in this series, but not before some nerve wrecking moments. The 2nd match of the ODI series was played at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground at Delhi and it was again like the script of the previous matches. India won the toss again and put New Zealand in to bat, to negate bowling in the 2nd innings due to dew.
New Zealand was expected to put a better show but their opener Martin Guptill missed a swinging delivery, just 2nd of the match, from Umesh Yadav to be bowled out for a duck. As one would have started to fear for the worse again, Kane Williamson and Tom Latham eased their nerves with some scintillating strokeplay. After a long time a New Zealand pair looked comfortable on the pitch. They added 120 for the 2nd wicket, which required the unexpected part time spin of Kedar Jadhav. Williamson continued to look solid and went on to score a well crafted century on a slow Kotla track. At the other end Ross Taylor and Corey Anderson worked very hard to get to 21 each and departed to false strokes. Then started the slide again, the one that we have gotten so used to seeing. The last 9 overs of the New Zealand innings saw just 38 runs come for the loss of 6 wickets. The final tally ended at 242 for 9. All Indian bowlers were amongst wickets except Hardik Pandya. Bumrah and Amit Mishra ended up with 3 wickets apiece. Bumrah in particular was impressive in the death overs with his lethal reverse swinging yorkers and smart change of pace.
India were set 243 runs to win, which was way below the par score at the venue. But as always, these totals around and about 250 run mark are tricky as the team chasing is not always clear about the approach to apply. Whether to be positive or try to play safe. Rohit and Rahane started cautiously as runs were hard to come by with New Zealand seamers bowling tights lines. A massive straight six by Rohit would have been seen as a sign of things to come but what happened was the opposite.
Rohit fell for just 15 to Trent Boult and injured himself in the process. Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Manish Pandey fell in quick succession as well to leave India in the dumps at 73 for 4 in the 20th over. MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav were in the middle with all expectations on them. Dhoni preferred to play the waiting game while Jadhav looked at complete ease scoring runs at will. Just as it looked that Jadhav would run away with the match, tragedy struck again as he fell to a soft dismissal off Matt Henry for 41 runs off just 37 balls that included two sixes and two boundaries. India were back in the match with the Dhoni-Jadhav partnership (66) but the wicket set them back again. Dhoni was starting to look good with Akshar Patel supporting him well and again a burst of 3 wickets in a space of 8 balls pegged India back. Dhoni, Patel and Amit Mishra succumbed to the pressure and India were staring down the barrel at 183 for 8. India needed 60 off 55 balls at that stage but they ran out of batsmen. Hardik Pandya had Umesh Yadav for company and not much was expected except a couple of lusty blows by Pandya but they had other plans in mind. Umesh blocked one end while Pandya scored at the other to keep the score moving at the required pace. They kept going for much longer than anyone had anticipated and a boundary and some vital runs from Yadav as well raised India’s hopes again. Pandya showed great character out there with Umesh and pulled the match back in balance. With 16 needed off 12 balls, and Pandya-Yadav partnership going strong, anything was possible. The hope carried India not too far as Pandya perished in the 49th over to Trent Boult leaving Umesh Yadav with Jasprit Bumrah to complete the proceedings. 10 runs were needed off the final 6 balls and Umesh was showing signs of surety to win the match of his bat. He scored a double and single off the first 2 balls getting Bumrah on strike. With 7 needed off 4 balls, all Bumrah had to do was bring Yadav on strike but he failed to connect the first ball that he faced to hear the sound of timber behind him. That was it. New Zealand team were jubilant to say the least as they earned a well deserved first win of this series.
The series stands level at 1-1 and a very interesting stage. New Zealand must have found a new zeal today with this win and this augurs well for the series and cricket in general. India would feel a bit done as the target was not a big one but they would feel satisfied with the exposure to their untested lower middle order.
Ind Vs NZ, 2nd ODI, Delhi
New Zealand 242/9 (50 ov)
India 236 (49.3 ov)