Below par performance

Kane Williamson was prolific for the Kiwis.-AP

Apart from the faulty pacing of the innings on the chase, India also dug a hole for itself in the first half of the match, after electing to field. Mohammed Shami was attacking with his methods and Bhuvneshwar Kumar tidy, but the rest of the Indian bowling disappointed. By S. Dinakar.

Cricket is a lot about winning the key moments. New Zealand did that at Seddon Park in Hamilton. India didn’t.

Kiwi captain Brendon McCullum said after the game, “We did the right things at the right times.”

Indeed, New Zealand read the situations better. The host not just contained India to 37 in the first 10 overs but also struck twice. “We ideally wanted to take wickets upfront to put pressure on the Indian batting,” said McCullum.

When a side, chasing a near-300 total in only 42 overs, makes less than 40 and loses two wickets in the first 10 overs, it has an uphill task from then on.

“We were slow at the start and conceded wickets early. That made things difficult for us chasing a tall score,” conceded Dhoni.

India’s 15-run defeat — successive in the series — under the Duckworth and Lewis method in the second ODI also saw the team lose its No. 1 spot in the ODIs.

Apart from the faulty pacing of the innings on the chase, India also dug a hole for itself in the first half of the match, after electing to field. Mohammed Shami was attacking with his methods and Bhuvneshwar Kumar tidy, but the rest of the Indian bowling disappointed.

None more than Ishant Sharma, who had issues with his line. And the lanky paceman seemed to have forgotten the yorker.

Even when the explosive Corey Anderson tore into the Indian bowling with a game-changing innings of 44 from just 17 deliveries with five sixes, Ishant did not send down a single yorker. The paceman was low in confidence and this reflected in his bowling. It is time for India to make a change.

India struck early through Shami — he prised out the dangerous Jesse Ryder — but failed to put pressure on the Kiwis in the middle-overs. The visitors allowed easy singles, that enabled Kane Williamson (77) and Ross Taylor (57) to rotate the strike. India should have been more aggressive during this phase. The surface was slower than the one at Napier and there was some purchase for the spinners.

New Zealand consolidated, the spinners were milked and the stage was set for the final assault from Anderson.

The visiting team failed to handle Tim Southee.-AP

It was intriguing why Dhoni did not have a mid-on and a mid-off in place for off-spinner R. Ashwin . This allowed Williamson and Taylor to pick singles with ease to long-off and long-on.

Once again, Ashwin went wicket-less. He has the variations, but there are times when he needs to rely on his stock delivery and flight. Sometimes the best way to regain form is to go back to the basics.

Jadeja too bowled with a restrictive mind-set but on the one occasion he flighted and spun the ball, the left-armer had a well-set Kane Williamson stumped.

For most part, Willimson employed his feet capably against the spinners. He used the depth of the crease well and displayed soft hands. Man of the Match he was. “I like batting at No. 3. It gives me a chance to build an innings and puts more responsibility on me,” he said.

Predictably, as the innings neared conclusion, New Zealand put its foot on the accelerator as Anderson went berserk. The Indian ground-fielding stood the test, but the bowling was awry. This was the phase when India conceded too much ground. To their credit, the Kiwis maintained the tempo and focus during a rain-interrupted innings.

During the pursuit, the Indians were kept in the hunt by the mercurial Virat Kohli. His 65-ball 78 was a high-quality innings, where he pierced the field on both sides of the wicket and pulled with conviction.

Dhoni too showed fight with his 44-ball 56, with typically wristy blows that took India close to the target. But when he was held at deep point by Williamson off Anderson, it virtually sealed the contest for the Kiwis.

For the Kiwis, swing bowler Tim Southee showed the way. He pitched the ball up, got it to move either way. Southee’s instinct is to go for wickets and he scalped four. In the process, he also reached 100 wickets in ODI cricket.

Crucially, Southee’s victims included Kohli; the Indian miscued a big hit. The variation in the Kiwi pace-attack did the Indians in. If Southee swung the ball, left-armer Mitchell McClenaghan hit the pitch hard to extract bounce. The Kiwis put down a couple of catches but their ground-fielding was sharp.

Although, the margin of defeat was only 15, the Indians faltered with several aspects of their cricket.

THE SCORES

Second ODI, Hamilton, January 22, 2014. New Zealand won by 15 runs (D/L method).

New Zealand: M. Guptill c Shami b Raina 44; J. Ryder c Dhoni b Shami 20; K. Williamson st. Dhoni b Jadeja 77; R. Taylor c Dhoni b Shami 57; C. Anderson c Dhawan b Ishant 44; B. McCullum c & b Shami 0; L. Ronchi (not out) 18; N. McCullum b Kumar 1; K. Mills (not out) 2. Extras: (lb-1, w-7) 8; Total (for seven wkts., in 42 overs) 271.

Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-114, 3-174, 4-248, 5-250, 6-251, 7-252.

India bowling: Kumar 7-1-43-1; Shami 7-0-55-3; Ishant 6-0-46-1; Jadeja 8-0-46-1; Kohli 2-0-12-0; Ashwin 8-0-50-0; Raina 4-0-18-1.

India: S. Dhawan b Southee 12; R. Sharma c Ronchi b Southee 20; V. Kohli c sub (Devcich) b Southee 78; A. Rahane c Ronchi b McClenaghan 36; M. S. Dhoni c Williamson b Anderson 56; S. Raina c Southee b Mills 35; R. Jadeja b Anderson 12; R. Ashwin c Guptill b Southee 5; B. Kumar c Nathan McCullum b Anderson 11; M. Shami (not out) 1; I Sharma (not out) 1. Extras: (lb-3, w-7) 10. Total: (for nine wkts., in 41.3 overs) 277.

Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-37, 3-127, 4-164, 5-226, 6-257, 7-259, 8-265, 9-275.

New Zealand bowling: Mills 9-1-50-1; McClenaghan 8-1-45-1; Southee 9-0-72-4; Nathan McCullum 8-0-40-0; Anderson 7.3-0-67-3.