Suresh Raina of India (C) celebrates the wicket of Martin Guptill of New Zealand during the second ODI at Seddon Park in Hamilton. (AFP Photo)
Rains drew the curtains on a foregone conclusion to the Indian run chase, with the visitors losing the second ODI at the Seddon Park in Hamilton by 20 runs on Wednesday. They needed 297 to win off 42 overs.
With the loss, India have lost the number one ODI team spot to Australia.
Sent in to bat first after losing the toss, New Zealand scored 271 in a rain-hit first innings. The score was revised using the Duckworth-Lewis method to 297.
India lost the openers early as both Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma failed to fire on foreign soil once again. Dhawan (12) left in the eighth over, wildly slogging at a Tim Southee yorker, getting no where near it and then losing his off stump.
Rohit (20) looked to fight back, hitting a six off Kyle Mills and a four off Southee. But he too fell in the tenth over, edging a short of length delivery to Luke Ronchi behind the stumps.
Virat Kohli launched a counter attack on New Zealand with young Ajinkya Rahane supporting him. The duo showed positive intent and hit the Kiwis a few lusty blows. Not every run came off the middle of the bat, but the visitors were grateful for everything that came their way.
But Rahane misread a McClenaghan bouncer and gave a faint edge to Luke Ronchi behind the stumps on 36. The partnership was worth 90 runs.
MS Dhoni then joined the fray, keeping the tempo going. But then Virat fell, trying to hit a slow short ball for four but holing out to long on to leave on 78.
Suresh Raina, who joined Dhoni after Kohli departed, kept the momentum going. He wasted no time in reaching his 35 (22 balls) but misjudged a Kyle Mills delivery, hitting it off his pads to Tim Southee.
India needed 40 off the last 17 balls, with captain MS Dhoni back in the hut. Dhoni (57) miscued a lofted shot off Anderson, with the ball travelling behind to backward point, where Williamson was able to get below it.
Ravindra Jadeja, who had opened his account with a six, seemed to be the only hope for the Indians, but he went after scoring a mere 12 when a slower delivery rattled the stumps.
The rest went tamely enough. Three balls were left and 20 runs required when the skies opened up again. The umpires called it a day, declaring the hosts the winners.
The last nine overs of the New Zealand innings sealed the deal — 101 runs were scored for the loss of four wickets.
Earlier, opener Jesse Ryder (20) had fallen cheaply as Mohammed Shami provided the first breakthrough to India. Ryder tried to uppercut a short of length Shami delivery that angled across to him but ended up giving Dhoni a simple catch behind the stumps.
The pacers did not go all guns blazing on the slow Hamilton pitch. Shami, who did provide the breakthrough, was particularly profligate, giving away 28 runs in four overs. Ishant too gave away 19 in his three. Only Bhuvneshwar Kumar was economical.
In contrast, slow bowlers such as Jadeja, Suresh Raina and Ashwin proved tightfisted, conceding less than six runs an over. Jadeja created doubt in the minds of the batsmen, creating a very close stumping call in the 27th over.
Raina provided a crucial breakthrough, breaking an ominous 89-run stand between Martin Guptill and Williamson.
Though he had batted brilliantly all morning, Guptill’s (44) was a soft dismissal. He played across the line and ended up top-edging a harmless delivery straight to Mohammed Shami at short fine leg.
The hosts reached 170/2 before rain stopped play in the 33rd over. The match resumed after a long delay, which reduced the match to 42 overs a side.
The Indians got lucky straight away when Ravindra Jadeja struck in the second over to remove a very dangerous looking Kane Williamson (77). Williamson tried to charge down the track, but got beaten by the flight, allowing Dhoni enough time to whip the bails off.
Correy Anderson (44) then joined Ross Taylor at the crease and what followed was absolute carnage. Anderson went hammer and tongs at the Indian bowling, hitting five massive sixes and two fours.
Anderson raced to 17 with two fours and a six off Mohammed Shami. Next over, Taylor hit three boundaries off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The hosts were 215/3 after 37 overs.
Before Ishant claimed his wicket, Anderson had already hit the Delhi pacer for two massive sixes. Finally, he miscued one to Shikhar Dhawan at long on.
In the next over, Shami proved why he is one of the best bowlers in the side. First to go was Brendan McCullum, for a golden duck, spooning it back to Shami. A ball later, Ross Taylor (57) perished, pulling a slow bouncer too early and top-edging it to Dhoni.
The Visitors now go into the ODI at Auckland trailing the series 2-0.
Commentary, India Innings:
Commentary, New Zealand Innings: