McClenaghan, Anderson deliver win
New Zealand 292 for 7 (Williamson 71, Anderson 68*, Taylor 55, Shami 4-55) beat India 268 (Kohli 123, Dhoni 40, McClenaghan 4-68) by 24 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
This is new territory for Virat Kohli. He averages an astonishing 64 in chases, at an even less believable strike rate of 92, but he has now scored a second-innings century in a defeat, his first in 12. This will take getting used to, but there were other sights you better get used to. Corey Anderson scored 68 off 40 to take New Zealand to 292, and then took the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane to further his credentials as a limited-overs allrounder. Mitchell McClenaghan, too, reinforced a knack as clean as his side-parting of producing something special out of nowhere: with 70 required off eight overs and six wickets in hand and Adam Milne injured, McClenaghan took the wickets of MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja in one over, and Kohli in the next, to turn the game New Zealand's way.
It had all gone awry for New Zealand after they had attacked India all day long. From 129 for 4, the two best chasers of our time, two of the best of all time, coolly added 95 in 14 overs. Even the exceptional New Zealand fielding had begun to falter: Kohli was missed by Jesse Ryder on 95. Milne, whose raw pace was fodder for some and fear for others, had walked off with a sore back. New Zealand were running out of options. The conferences got longer. That's when Brendon McCullum went to McClenaghan.
Two balls later, when Dhoni came on strike, the field told you a short ball would be tried. Against one of India's best against the short ball. This bouncer, though, was perfect. Skiddy, and headed for the helmet. Dhoni was beaten for the pace, and the tope edge went into the helmet and looped towards leg gully. Luke Ronchi, who had earlier helped Anderson along with 30 off 18, covered ground and dived to take the catch. With Jadeja came a slip and a short cover. He was a rabbit caught in the headlights, and duly edged through the third ball he faced.
Kohli, already past the hundred, wasn't about to give up. He took 13 off the next five balls he faced. India were still in it. With 56 required off 35, though, McClenaghan got lucky. Kohli drove a low full toss to that man Ryder at short cover. Ryder didn't make a mistake this time. Kohli couldn't believe what had happened. Earlier in the night, he wore the same look, watching from the non-striker's end, when Nathan McCullum flew at mid-off to send back Rahane, Anderson's second wicket on the night.
Until then it had been Anderson's night. His assault came at a time when India had managed to pull New Zealand back every time they threatened to run away with aggressive cricket. From the moment Ryder hit a six in the first over, India kept producing timely wickets to slow things down. When Mohammed Shami got through Ryder, who scored 18 off 16 and threatened much more, the next 10 overs brought New Zealand just 28 runs. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, though, rebuilt the innings with 121-run stand in 24.2 overs, both scoring fifties, but India somehow got Williamson just before the Powerplay, slowing the hosts down again.
When New Zealand would have looked for more than eight an over, the six overs leading into the 40th brought them just 32. This was when Brendon McCullum and Anderson began to open up. Twenty-seven came off the next two, but Dhoni produced a special catch - his 301st dismissal - standing up to Bhuvneshwar Kumar to send back Brendon McCullum. Anderson, though, unfurled a vicious assault hitting mammoth sixes over the leg side. Ishant Sharma was sent onto the roof, Mohammed Shami smoked into the smoking area in the parking lot. Almost every time he got a length he could get under, Anderson set up to hit a six over the leg side. If it was too wide to go to leg, Anderson showed he could go wide of mid-off too. In all, he hit four sixes and three fours.
There was no respite: at the other end, Ronchi slog-swept Ravindra Jadeja for two sixes and a four in the 45th over. Thirty-nine came from the 44th and the 45th overs, after which India regrouped a little, but they had still conceded 75 in the last seven, and could have easily added 20 to that 293-run target, given New Zealand's fielding.
It was all going to plan for New Zealand: Rohit Sharma, Dhawan and Raina had fallen to short balls, and Rahane to an exceptional catch. It was now a matter of just one more wicket, but Kohli, batting for the first time in New Zealand, and Dhoni betrayed no signs of anxiety as they went about building their innings. Kohli was delightful in his driving through the off side, and dismissive when pulling. He once just defended a 153kmph delivery for four. The chase calculator in the back of his head had worked almost perfectly, but in the end he had to make do with a warm consolatory standing ovation from McLean Park.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo