Indian bowlers pulled things back in the death overs after Corey Anderson, the man who broke the record for the fastest ODI hundred recently, threatened to run away with the initiative. The Kiwis eventually finished at 292 for seven.
Anderson hit 68 off 40 balls, his first ODI half-century after Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor put on 121 runs for the third wicket at the McLean Park.
Corey Anderson during his innings. Pic/ AFP
Mohammad Shami was the most successful bowler for the visitors, finishing with 4-55 from nine overs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-38), Ishant Sharma (1-72) and Ravindra Jadeja (1-61) were the other wicket-takers, while R Ashwin (0-52) and Virat Kohli (0-13) finished wicket-less.
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to bowl first. The visitors made two changes from their last ODI played in South Africa with Ajinkya Rahane and Bhuvneshwar coming in for the dropped Yuvraj Singh and Umesh Yadav.
New Zealand made one change from their last ODI against West Indies, bringing in Adam Milne for Kyle Mills. Bhuvneshwar and Shami started the proceedings for India with Martin Guptill and Jesse Ryder taking strike. Ryder started off in a hurry, using the short boundaries to good effect, hitting the first six of the game in the very first over of the day. He hit three more boundaries as New Zealand raced in the first four overs, before Shami got rid of the dangerous looking Ryder. The left-handed batsman didn't play a great stroke of a straight, fast delivery and was bowled for 18 runs off 16 balls (three fours, one six). F
our overs later, Shami picked up the second wicket of his early spell of four overs, with Guptill (8) edging one to R Ashwin at first slip. It brought Ross Taylor to the crease who combined with number three batsman Kane Williamson flay the Indian bowling in the middle overs.
The two batsmen put on a 100-plus stand for the third wicket during which they amply punished the two spinners, Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. The latter had been introduced into the attack first as early as the 14th over when the fifty-run mark came up for New Zealand.
On a pitch that offered good bounce to the pacers but little help to the spinners, the Jadeja-Ashwin combination gave away 66 runs in 14 overs. Virat Kohli too was deployed in the 19th over as the partnership started looking dangerous. Taylor and Williamson managed to put on 50 runs off just 67 balls. At the other end, Taylor completed 4000 ODI runs in 121 innings, at the personal score of 15 not out, becoming the second-quickest Kiwi batsman after Nathan Astle (120 innings) to do so. In the 23rd over of the innings, Williamson brought up his seventh ODI half-century, off 66 balls and hit five fours. The 100-run mark also came up for the hosts in the very same over. Despite the rotation of bowlers, India struggled to check the runs and didn't look like taking any wickets either. In the 33rd over, things began to happen.
First, Taylor brought up his 25th ODI fifty, off 70 balls and with one four. Then, Williamson was out, caught at covers by Ajinkya Rahane off Jadeja, a false-stroke played in the air. He scored 71 runs off 88 balls, hitting seven fours and ought to be disappointed by his dismissal because he looked set for a three-figure score.
It was a wicket against the run-of-play.
In fact, all the dismissals so far in the day were mistakes from batsmen rather than smart bowling, and it was proved again so when Taylor edged to Dhoni in the 37th over. Taylor scored 55 runs off 82 balls, with just the one boundary, and became the Indian skipper's 300th ODI victim.
Dhoni is the first Indian wicket-keeper to breach this mark, in 239 matches, and the fourth overall after Australia's Adam Gilchrist (472 dismissals in 287 matches), Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara (424 dismissals in 362 matches) and South Africa's Mark Boucher (424 dismissals in 295 matches).
Taylor was the only batsman to fall in the second powerplay as Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson took 41 runs off those five overs. The Kiwis were clearly looking to accelerate but faced a small hitch as McCullum was smartly caught by Dhoni in the 42nd over, standing up to Bhuvneshwar. But Anderson carried on nevertheless, twice hitting the ball out of McLean Park. He hit four sixes in all as well as three other boundaries, bringing up his first ODI half-century off 30 balls, in the 47th over. In doing so, he put up 66 runs off 37 balls with Luke Ronchi, who scored 30 runs off 18 balls with two fours and two sixes before he was nicely caught at short third-man by a leaping Bhuvneshwar off Ishant.
While Nathan McCullum (2 runs, 5 balls) was the last man out in the penultimate over of the innings, caught and bowled by Shami, Anderson carried on without any worries and thanks to his clean-hitting, the Indian bowling bled 90 runs in the last 10 overs. Tim Southee (3 not out) was the other unbeaten batsman.
Martin Guptill c Ashwin b Shami 8
Jesse Ryder b Shami 18
Kane Williamson c Rahane b Jadeja 71
Ross Taylor c Dhoni b Shami 55
Brendon McCullum c Dhoni b Kumar 30
Corey Anderson not out 68
Luke Ronchi c Kumar b Sharma 30
Nathan McCullum c & b Shami 2
Tim Southee not out 3
Extras: (LB-1, W-6) 7
Total: (seven wickets; 50 overs) 292
Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-32, 3-153, 4-171, 5-213, 6-279, 7-284.
Bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10-0-38-1, Mohammed Shami 9-0-55-4, Ishant Sharma 9-0-72-1, Ravindra Jadeja 9-0-61-1, R Ashwin 10-0-52-0, Virat Kohli 3-0-13-0.