This will be the first time the visiting Black Caps will go into a competitive game against India on the back of a win. After a Test series whitewash, they lost the first ODI as well.
But in Delhi, New Zealand put up a spirited show to successfully defend a modest score of 242. The side reached the score thanks to skipper Kane Williamson leading from the front, scoring 118. A technically correct batsman, the 26-year-old is already shepherding a young side across the three formats.
The one thing that has stood by him in his short stint at the helm has been his knack of going against conventional wisdom and backing the right player at the crucial juncture. In Nagpur, in the World T20 this year, he chose three spinners to surprise hosts India on a turning track. In Delhi, the introduction of Martin Guptill to bowl his part-time off-spin and his twin strikes in an over tilted the scales in New Zealand’s favour.
“We sort of needed an over from someone as (spinner) Anton Devcich was suffering from cramps. With a left-hander on strike, we thought Guptill will be an ideal candidate. It turned out to be a masterstroke,” said pacer Tim Southee, explaining Williamson’s decision.
An over earlier, Southee had accounted for MS Dhoni, reducing India to 172 for 6 in 40th over. India were still in with a chance when Williamson tossed the ball to Guptill. In one over, Guptill removed Axar Patel and Amit Mishra.
Southee said: “Kane had grafted and scored a great hundred and spent a lot of time in the middle. It was all about taking that information. Once we took the wicket, we tried to build pressure and that went a long way in winning the match.”