Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Williamson, Southee star in final-over win

New Zealand 242 for 9 (Williamson 118, Bumrah 3-35, Mishra 3-60) beat India 236 (Jadhav 41, Southee 3-52, Boult 2-25) by six runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Agarkar: India self-destructed on the night

Ajit Agarkar reflects on India's loss against New Zealand in the second ODI at the Kotla

India would not have expected a target of 243 to trouble them. But it did. Their top order tends to finish games off. Not this time. That left the job to MS Dhoni and a set of batsmen not accustomed to finishing an innings. New Zealand exploited that weakness to pull off a six-run victory and level the five-match series at 1-1.

It was a chaotic scrap at the finish, which brought a noisy crowd at the Feroz Shah Kotla to their feet. India were 172 for 6 - and the man dismissed was the captain, who was also their best option against an equation of 71 runs in 63 balls. Then a goofy over from Martin Guptill - four wides, ten balls, and two wickets - brought Hardik Pandya front and centre for the second match in a row.

In Dharamsala, he offered a glimpse at his utility as a new-ball bowler. In Delhi, he suggested he has promise as a man who could come in late and stay sensible under pressure. He wrestled an equation of 48 off 36 balls down to 11 off eight. India had two wickets left.

In that time, New Zealand's disciplines were taking a beating. It was the final overs of the innings, but they did not look for the blockhole. Most of their success was a result of the fast bowlers hitting back of a length on a pitch that was slow and holding up, meaning neither using the pace nor forcing it was a good idea.

The problem was, late into the night, the dew started to take effect. That meant it got a little easier to hit the ball through the line. It also meant New Zealand's fielders, who were simply remarkable, were suddenly slipping all over the place. It was the kind of situation - with things starting to turn at the worst possible time - that could have broken anyone's resolve. If only for the fact that the opposition's ninth-wicket partnership racked up 49 at a run-a-ball.

But that's when the big players stand up. On came Trent Boult - back in the XI after a rest - and he conceded only six runs in the penultimate over and also got rid of Pandya. Tim Southee sealed India's fate with a yorker.

Kane Williamson played a vital part to his team's revival as well, scoring New Zealand's first century on the tour. He came to the crease in the first over and did not budge until the 43rd. By that time he had 118 runs off 128 balls. It was the best innings of the day, and perhaps along the way he understood that runs on the board was not a bad place to be.

Besides the fact that New Zealand has been unable to win a single match on tour - they have struggled to win tosses too - plenty of challenges came Williamson's way. Not least of which was his own body refusing to cooperate. He began cramping up in the Delhi heat - and it became contagious. His left forearm caught it first, then his right, and at one point he couldn't even lift a bottle to drink. But when play resumed, he smacked Pandya over his head to the long-on boundary.

He picked 65 of his runs in the arc between backward square leg and wide mid-on, which in the early part of the innings, was usually only manned by one or two men. His first boundary came through midwicket which was left vacant, punishment for Umesh Yadav straying too straight with a 7-2 offside field. His first, and only, six of the innings exemplified how well he knew the field. Mid-on had been up. He danced down and lofted Patel over his head in the 13th over. When Patel was taken off and Mishra was brought on, Williamson cut and flicked the bowler for boundaries to make sure India's spinners couldn't threaten him or his team-mates.

In the field, Williamson had to make sure India's batsmen didn't bully his bowlers. And he received some unexpected help in this regard.

Rohit Sharma was caught behind for 15 off Boult, who had strung back-to-back maidens before the breakthrough. Four overs later, Virat Kohli was caught behind off a silly old delivery down leg. The chase had come alive for New Zealand.

India's 40 for 2 became 73 for 4 after two grand fielding efforts.

Corey Anderson, prowling on the long leg boundary, tracked down a pull from Ajinkya Rahane and dived forward to complete a low catch. India would have felt aggrieved at the decision though, because the on-field umpires referred it to the third umpire, and informed him via soft signal that they thought it was out. Despite plenty of replays - some angles suggesting the ball had bounced up into Anderson's hands, others indicated the fielder could have had his hands under the ball and it bounced on his fingers into his palm - there was no conclusive evidence to overrule that call. And so C Shamshuddin had to send Rahane on his way for 28 off 49.

Manish Pandey was run out by the combination of a sharp throw from Mitchell Santner and a phenomenal collection from Luke Ronchi to break the stumps.

Then came the coup de grâce. Southee, coming back for a third spell, got a ball to stop on Dhoni. A push down the ground for a single became a catching opportunity. A very difficult one. Southee had to dive to his right - against the direction of his followthrough - and get low to have a chance. He kept his eyes on the ball, the slow motion pictures highlight his concentration as he stuck one hand out and came away with one of the biggest match-changing moments in the day.

While these were spectacular displays, doing the little things right was equally beneficial for New Zealand. They bowled out their spinners in the middle overs; Santner, costing less than five runs an over, was done by the 39th and part-timer Anton Devcich, bowling left-arm sliders with the seam pointed upright more often than not, bowled nine overs for only 48 runs. Not a bad day's work after two years' absence from ODI cricket.

Williamson was comfortable using them for three reasons - they were accurate, the dew took time to set in, and India couldn't attack either bowler. Their top order had failed and even with a set Dhoni at the crease, the target was too far away.

India were 139 for 5 in the 32nd over. They tried to take it deep. They wanted to see if New Zealand would break at the end. But that was when the batsmen were worse off. India themselves had exploited that when they bowled, giving away only one boundary in the last 10 overs. It was early on that run-making was easy, as exemplified by the 120-run partnership between Williamson and Tom Latham, who made 46 in as many balls.

There remains a couple of concerns for New Zealand. Guptill bagged a duck and Ross Taylor made a painful 21 off 42, worked over so completely that it seemed like the ball had a restraining order against the middle of his bat. But little would make this win - their first on the tour and one so richly earned - taste sour.

No luck yet


Tosses won by New Zealand on this tour. India have won all the five tosses (3 Tests and 2 ODIs).

Williamson's India run


Number of fifties by Kane Williamson in his last-seven innings in ODIs against India.

Only the third


No. of ODI hundreds by New Zealand captains against India including Williamson's. The previous one was by Ken Rutherford in Vadodara in 1994.

A win at last


Last time before this New Zealand beat India in India in an ODI - in Cuttack. This is their first win in eight matches and also their first win on this tour.