Host goes 2-1 up after Kohli, Dhoni craft masterful chase

Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 154 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s 80 were the highlights of India's chase of 286 as the two Indian captains of the longer and shorter formats put India 2-1 ahead of New Zealand in the five-match ODI series.

ViratKohli

Virat Kohli unbeaten knock of 154 from 134 balls included 16 fours and one six.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

For the cricket-loving Sunday crowd thronging the PCA Stadium here, there couldn’t have been better value for their money.

Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 154 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s 80 came in a winning cause as the two Indian captains of the longer and shorter formats put India 2-1 ahead of New Zealand in the five-match ODI series.

> Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Before the 286-run chase ended, with seven-wicket victory and 10 deliveries to spare, Kohli and Dhoni raised 151 runs for the third wicket. Their association presented a package of assurance, class and purpose.

> Read: Williamson disappointed with batting collapse

From an Indian perspective, this was the need of the hour after New Zealand enjoyed its best phase, the ninth-wicket stand between James Neesham and Matt Henry producing a record 84 runs and the dismissal of openers Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma with just 41 on the board.

Also READ - >Neesham: 'Kohli took the game away from us'

But Dhoni’s arrival changed the script dramatically. Dropped on six by Ross Taylor off Henry, Kohli was on 21 when Dhoni walked in ahead of Manish Pandey at No. 4. As though to make amends for letting down the fans three days ago in Delhi, Dhoni played an innings in keeping with his reputation of old.

Calculated assault

Dhoni’s assured presence rubbed off on Kohli. The two launched a calculated attack and authoritatively pulled things back. Dhoni, whose 91-ball knock had three straight sixes and six boundaries, also crossed 9000 One-Day International (ODI) runs and surpassed Sachin Tendulkar’s tally of 195 sixes to top the list. In fact, his last century –139 – came here against Australia in 2013.

Virat Kohli 154 not out (spider):

 

Though the skipper missed a well-deserved century, Kohli went on to cross the mark for the 26th time in 166 matches and overtook Kumar Sangakkara to occupy fourth spot on the all-time list.

Kohli never again lost his focus in his knock dotted with a six and 16 boundaries. Manish Pandey played his part well as the fourth-wicket stand of 97 runs off 75 deliveries took India past the finish-line.

Not so long ago, New Zealand was upbeat following Neesham and Henry’s retrieving act. After all, New Zealand had withstood the ‘now-customary’ batting collapse, and managed a fighting total. After tumbling from 153 for two to 199 for eight, the visiting team ended on 285 in the final over.

For the third match in succession, New Zealand lost wickets in a heap. > In Dharamsala, New Zealand lost the first seven wickets for 65 runs. > In Delhi, it lost the last six wickets for 79 runs and here, in the middle of its innings, six wickets fell in the space of 46 runs.

Part-timer Kedar Jadhav’s career-best three for 29 and sprearhead Umesh Yadav’s three for 75 was almost undone by Neesham’s first ODI half century and Henry's unbeaten 37. Indeed, these runs at the backend of the innings swung the psychological advantage towards New Zealand. But once Kohli and Dhoni took control, the result was seldom in doubt.

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