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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Kohli, Dhoni join forces to demolish New Zealand

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Agarkar: Dhoni very lucky to have Kohli (4:44)

Ajit Agarkar believes India are overly-reliant on Virat Kohli when it comes to chasing down big totals and that NZ didn't rise to the challenge today (4:44)

India 289 for 3 (Kohli 154*, Dhoni 80) beat New Zealand 285 (Latham 61, Neesham 57, Jadhav 3-29) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Virat Kohli scored yet another hundred in a chase, an unbeaten 154, as India hunted down 286 to take a 2-1 lead in the ODI series. India lost their openers with only 41 on the board, before Kohli and MS Dhoni, who promoted himself to No. 4, added 151 for the third wicket to bring the equation down to 94 from 85 balls. New Zealand may have sensed an opening, given the inexperience of India's middle order, but Manish Pandey showed no nerves in adding an unbroken 97 with Kohli to steer India home with 10 balls remaining.

The team batting second had won each of the last three ODIs in Mohali before this, chasing down 299, 258 and 304. Given that recent trend, given the likelihood of dew setting in under lights, and given Kohli's record in chases, New Zealand probably needed at least 300 to test India on a flat batting surface with true bounce.

They looked like they would get there, when a 73-run second-wicket partnership between Tom Latham and Ross Taylor took them to 153 for 2 in the 29th over, but a middle-order collapse cost them what turned out to be a significant amount of momentum. They lost six wickets for 46 runs in the space of 9.2 overs. James Neesham and Matt Henry added 84 for the ninth wicket to rejuvenate their innings, but their total of 285 was probably 20 runs short of posing India a serious challenge.

Then they did the unthinkable: Kohli was on 6 when he opened his bat face to try and dab Henry to third man. He was probably looking to place the ball finer than he did, but ended up steering it straight to Taylor at wide slip. Tumbling to his right, Taylor dropped a regulation low catch.

Either side of that, though, they sent back Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma, and prompted Dhoni to walk in earlier than he usually does in ODIs. With Kohli and Dhoni at the crease, plenty of hard running was to be expected, but they also found the boundary regularly, going after Mitchell Santner and Neesham to hit four fours and a six from overs 15 to 18. The six, sent soaring over long-off against Santner's left-arm spin, took Dhoni to 9000 ODI runs. He became the 17th player overall, the fifth Indian, and the third wicketkeeper to the mark.

By the 26th over, both had brought up their fifties, and then Dhoni welcomed Neesham's reintroduction with a straight six that hit the sightscreen on the full, to become the most prolific ODI six-hitter among Indian batsmen. By the end of the 35th over, the target was less than 100 runs away.

Dhoni fell on 80, chipping Henry to short cover when he rolled his fingers over the ball and got it to stop on the batsman. Santner sent down a tight 37th over, conceding only one run, and India suddenly needed 93 from 78, but Pandey showed he could be relied on to find the boundary in such circumstances, flat-batting a short ball from Henry back over the bowler's head, and targeting the same boundary in more conventional fashion against Neesham, off a fuller ball.

By now, Kohli had stepped up a gear as well. When Tim Southee brought fine leg into the circle, he used his wrists to take a hip-high ball from middle stump and whip it wide of the fielder, and was impressed enough with his own shot to pump his fist. His reaction was far more muted when he guided Neesham for a single to third man to bring up his hundred at the start of the next over, just a simple lift of the bat to the crowd.

Then, in the 48th over, came a typical flurry of late boundaries, against Trent Boult: three fours - the best of them an open-faced jab off a near-yorker to beat deep point to his left - and a straight six. It left India just one run to get, and Pandey finished by slugging Southee to the midwicket boundary.

Sent in to bat on a pitch where the ball came on and allowed batsmen to play freely on the up, New Zealand's openers made their best start of the series. They were watchful initially, scoring only 12 in the first three overs, before Martin Guptill walked down the track to the first ball of the fourth and launched Hardik Pandya for a massive six over long-on. That shot set the tone for an abrupt change of gear: Guptill hit two fours and another six in the next two overs, and Tom Latham joined him by pulling Umesh Yadav over the square-leg boundary.

Just when Guptill seemed set for a big innings, Umesh had him lbw, nipping one back just enough to beat his inside edge. Kane Williamson looked in sublime touch after his hundred in Delhi, timing his drives sweetly until he fell against the run of play, lbw trying to sweep Kedar Jadhav.

Taylor began scratchily, struggling to pierce the infield against Amit Mishra and Axar Patel, but having only scored 14 off his first 28 balls, he began to find some fluency, hitting two fours and a slog-swept six to move to 44 off 56. His partnership with Latham, who got his second half-century of the series, had moved past 70, and New Zealand's score had crossed the 150-run mark.

Just then, Mishra produced two beautiful, dipping legbreaks to have both Taylor and Luke Ronchi stumped. At the other end, Corey Anderson and Latham chipped Jadhav to fielders inside the circle. Santner popped a leading edge, off Jasprit Bumrah, to point, and Tim Southee inside-edged Umesh onto his stumps.

At 199 for 8, New Zealand were in danger of getting bowled out a long way short of 50 overs, but Neesham and Henry delayed it. Neesham worked out a sensible method to score his runs, his first three boundaries all struck with a straight bat down the ground, and Henry, at the other end, went after anything wide - slashing and punching Umesh for two fours - while defending anything on his stumps.

As the slog overs approached, Umesh's old failings resurfaced, as short balls followed wide length balls that allowed the batsmen to free their arms. In the 47th over, Neesham stood tall and pulled him through midwicket before slicing a wide-ish ball to the third-man boundary to bring up his half-century. Henry hit him for a six and two fours off successive balls in the 49th over, and Umesh ended with figures of 3 for 75. New Zealand were bowled out with two balls still left to play, but managed to score 285.

Yet another fifty

5

No. of fifty-plus scores by Tom Latham in nine innings in this New Zealand tour - the most by any batsman from either side.

India fielding first in Mohali

4-1

India's win-loss record when fielding first in ODIs in Mohali before this. The only time they lost was to Australia in 2009.