India levelled the ODI series with a comprehensive 6-wicket win against New Zealand in the second ODI in Pune. After Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/45) led the line in restricting the Kiwis to a modest 230, Shikhar Dhawan (68) and Dinesh Karthik (64*) excelled in tough conditions to lead their side home.
Brief scores: New Zealand 230/9 in 50 overs (Henry Nicholls 42, Colin de Grandhomme 41; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-45, Yuzvendra Chahal 2-36, Jasprit Bumrah 2-38) lost to India 232/4 ( Shikhar Dhawan 68, Dinesh Karthik 64*, Adam Milne 1/21, Mitchell Santner 1/38) by six wickets.
Stating that the pitch looked like a “good surface”, Kane Williamson decided to bat first in Pune after winning the toss. Virat Kohli, who brought in Axar Patel to replace Kuldeep Yadav, offered a different analysis, stating that the pitch would slow down in the evening and “'play better in the evening'.
Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar wreak havoc on Kiwi top order
Even though the Kiwis got off to a good start early in the game, with Martin Guptill smashing Jasprit Bumrah for consecutive boundaries, it looked like the Indian bowlers were up for the challenge after the Mumbai debacle. And it wasn’t long before the hosts got the breakthrough as Guptill nicked a Bhuvneshwar Kumar ball to MS Dhoni in the third over. Bumrah joined the party three overs later as he caught Williamson plumb in front of his stumps. After dismissing Colin Munro in very next over, India took early control of the game as last matches heroes Ross Taylor and Tom Latham guided the Kiwis to 35/3 by the end of the first powerplay. But the flow with which the duo scored in Mumbai was absent in Pune as they added just 23 runs in six overs before Taylor had a rush of blood to the head and his pull shot, off a Hardik Pandya ball, could only find his glove of Dhoni. After the dismissal, Latham and the incoming Henry Nicholls consolidated the innings while scoring slightly quicker and guided New Zealand to 97/4 at the midway point of the innings.
Santner and Southee drag New Zealand to a 200+ score
New Zealand started the second part of their innings with a renewed sense of vigour and scored 21 runs in the next four overs. However, India fought back with a wicket as the Latham sweep shot, that had been his main weapon against the spinners in Mumbai, failed him for once as Axar Patel, bowling around the wicket, bowled him behind his back. The incoming Colin de Grandhomme took 11 deliveries to get off the mark but once he had done that, he attacked the Indian spinners with disdain as he hit Patel for two boundaries in an over which was sandwiched between smashing Chahal for a six and a boundary in consecutive overs. Sensing the spinners’ ineffective bowling, Kohli brought in the pacers and the reward was instant as Bhuvneshwar cleaned up Nicholls to stop the run flow again. With 10 overs left, the Kiwis were staring down the barrel on a batsman-friendly pitch having scored a sub-par 168/6. Mitchell Santner tried to up the ante against Patel by taking 12 runs off the spinner in the 43rd over, but Chahal’s double strike - de Grandhomme and Adam Milne - in the next over ended any hopes of a comeback. Even then Santner kept playing his shot and when Bumrah claimed him, he had accumulated an important 29 runs for his side. The Kiwis eventually managed to finish with a score of 230/9 in their allotted 50 overs thanks to Tim Southee’s 25 off 22 balls.
Dhawan holds fort as New Zealand fight back
After Southee started off proceedings with a first over maiden, Dhawan and Rohit came into their own as they started scoring boundaries in every over. Even though Rohit threw away his wicket by shipping a ball to midwicket, the run flow continued until the last over of the powerplay when Santner was finally able to break the streak. However, by then the scoreboard read an impressive 64/1 as both Dhawan and Kohli settled into a good rhythm. But as the Kiwis took the pace off the ball, their Indian counterparts struggled to score as freely and it got better for the visitors as Kohli was dismissed in typical fashion - fishing outside the off stump. However, the incoming Dinesh Karthik, along with Dhawan, realized that the wickets slowed the game down and opted not to take any unwanted risks, taking the score to a 100/2 at the end of the 20th over. New Zealand looked to have found a way back into the game when Dhawan was given out for a caught behind but the southpaw immediately reviewed and the decision was overturned before he brought up his fifty in a couple of overs later. An over later, Dhawan ended India’s nine-over wait for a boundary and guided the team to a score of 126/2 with half the innings played.
Karthik leads Team India to victory in Pune
Milne, who had given away just 10 runs in four overs, came back into the attack and delivered for his captain by dismissing the dangerous Dhawan for 68. As the visitors started to build pressure again with a few tight overs, Pandya was in no mood to let the bowlers run all over him as he smashed Santner for a huge six over midwicket. However, the all-rounder curbed his instincts for most parts as he built a steady partnership with Karthik to take the score to 168/3 with 15 overs to go. Pandya then started to spread his shoulders by attacking Southee who saw two back-to-back deliveries cross the ropes and by piercing the infield, Karthik brought up his 9th ODI fifty. India reached the 40-over mark needing just 27 runs to level the series but the Baroda man was not able to see the team through as an attempted sweep shot ended up in the hands of Milne at short fine leg. Dhoni, who replaced Pandya, hit Boult for three boundaries in two overs to make the result a formality and with 24 balls to spare India brought the three-match series level, leaving the series result for the final ODI in Kanpur.