Martin Guptill, New Zealand's opener, flourished with an impressive 84-ball 72 that helped his side to their first victory of the tour, beating India by a 19-run margin in the fourth ODI played in Ranchi on Wednesday.
New Zealand won their first toss of the tour in eight matches and opted to bat first on a surface that Kane Williamson, their captain, said would aid his three spinners, Ish Sodhi, Anton Devcich and Mitchell Santner.
New Zealand got off to a solid start with the bat, as Guptill and an inform Tom Latham added a 96-run opening stand. Guptill made his attacking intentions clear early in his innings by smashing Dhawal Kulkarni for three fours in the second over of the match. The first two were drives past point and over mid-on and the third was a slap over extra cover.
Guptill, in a bid to attack, presented the hosts with a chance as well, when he was on 29, but Amit Mishra failed to hold on at mid-on. He made India pay and clobbered 12 fours in his innings.
Latham was solid in defence and added 39 runs before he fell in the 16 over. Guptill guided New Zealand to 138 before departing in the 26th over. The tourists buoyed by an impressive display from their top order posted 260 in their innings.
The top six Indian batsmen got starts on a tricky surface, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane added 79 for the second wicket, but once they fell, the rather inexperienced middle order failed to make a substantial contribution and faded away rather meekly. India managed just 241 in reply.
"It certainly is a great feeling," Martin Guptill, Man of the Match, said. "To put up a performance myself and give the team a defendable total is satisfying. We thought we could have got more but it was a defendable total. It came down to our bowlers to do the job, and they did. Virat is a class player and to get him early was a big step."
Williamson said that their goal in Ranchi was to build partnerships and they succeeded in doing just that. "Absolutely happy and proud. What we wanted was build partnerships. It was not an easy surface. Although you always want more, 260 was not a bad effort on that surface. Coming here, we had to decide between dew that may or may not come in versus the deterioration," he said.
"The dew didn't come in, so that perhaps worked in our favour. Tough decisions to drop Anderson and Ronchi. We have played on different surfaces so that affects selection. Also it has been a long tour. It's exciting to go 2-2; India is a great side, it is exciting to go level into the final match."