All-round India levels series

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Axar Patel helped restrict New Zealand to 230, before Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik laid finishing touches for a series-levelling six-wicket win.

Dinesh Karthik scored an unbeaten half-century and scored the winning runs.   -  Vivek Bendre

After the local curator Pandurang Salgaonkar was suspended from his position as pitch curator for the second One-Day International at the MCA International Stadium, India’s seam attack went after wickets, found itself in good space and played a big part in levelling the series against New Zealand. Salgaonkar was under scrutiny for reckless interactions with two television journalists who posed as covert betting agents.

The batsmen took a cue from the bowlers and shone under lights in the chase of 231, taking their team to a six-wicket win.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Shikhar Dhawan applied his mind to the task at hand. Returning to the ODI team after missing the series against Australia, Dhawan had fallen cheaply in the first ODI on to Trent Boult’s probing off-stump line.

But on Wednesday, he looked the part and in good touch for most of his tenure in the middle; he forged a solid partnership of 66 with Dinesh Karthik for the third wicket. When on 46, he survived a rival challenge for a caught-down-the-leg-side appeal that was first upheld up umpire Chettithody Shamsuddin.

After the Delhi left hander’s exit, Karthik and Hardik Pandya took control of the proceedings. Once the contest resumed after the break, New Zealand made solid dents with fast bowler Tim Southee and medium pacer Colin de Grandhomme removing India’s big guns in Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

But the spirited Kiwis could not prevent the talented Indian batting line-up from showing its depth and power. Karthik, in particular, demonstrated fine understanding of the match situation; he played some smart shots and remained unbeaten, having scored 64 off 92 balls. He hit the winning shot in front of the wicket.

Regular wickets

Earlier, in the forefront of the home team’s resourceful undertaking were seamers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah and left-arm spinner Axar Patel. Patel’s dismissal of Tom Latham, who was bowled while playing the horizontal stroke, made sure New Zealand’s show of resilience fizzled out. It was a major breakthrough in the 30th over that restricted the target to well under five an over and shift the odds in favour of the home team that had the support of a crowd in excess of 25,000.

After New Zealand captain Kane Williamson had called correctly at the toss, Martin Guptill gave a resounding start, hitting Jasprit Bumrah for two fours on the off-side. When Colin Munro danced down the pitch to lift Kumar over long off, the New Zealand camp may have been encouraged. But Kumar utilised his skill and ability well, keeping the ball as straight as possible, and expertly manipulating it with his fingers. He struck telling blows, and when Bumrah dislodged Williamson, winning a leg before appeal from umpire Michael Gough, things began to fall in place for India. Williamson challenged the umpire’s decision to give him out, but soon had to walk back to the pavilion.

The wicket of Colin Munro, who played on, put New Zealand in a difficult situation at 31 for 3 in the seventh over, and Latham joined Ross Taylor in the middle. There was no heroic partnership for the second time, though. First, Taylor swivelled to pull Pandya and nicked to M. S. Dhoni, and then Latham, after an 82-minute watchful effort, tried to outsmart Patel with a sweep shot but could only allow enough space for the ball to hit the middle stump.

Nicholls and de Grandhomme scored some runs, before leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal picked a couple of wickets for the New Zealand innings come to an end. Southee scored a quick 25 towards the end of the innings to take his team to 230.