It was a do or die game for India against New Zealand as the visitors had stunned the hosts in the first game at the Wankhede. The MCA Stadium in Pune witnessed a tremendous comeback by Virat Kohli and his men as they won the game comfortably by 6 wickets to set up the decider in the 3rd ODI.
Initially, the Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat first. The Indian new ball bowlers weren’t as effective in the previous but they came back hard in this game to push the visitors back from the outset. Where Bhuvneshwar Kumar sent back Martin Guptill for 11, Jasprit Bumrah accounted for the wicket of Williamson for 3.
Bhuvneshwar bagged another in the form of Colin Munro in the 7th over and the visitors were left reeling at 27/3. The pressure was applied big time on the batsmen and the scoring rate was low. Ross Taylor, after hanging in there for a while, lost his wicket to Hardik Pandya as the score read 58/4 after 16 overs.
Indian bowlers kept the pressure up
The centurion from the last game, Tom Latham brought some sort of stability to the innings and along with Henry Nicholls, added 60 runs for the 5th wicket. Latham’s stay was cut short by Axar Patel for 38 in the 30th over. Colin de Grandhomme then stitched together a partnership of 47 runs with Nicholls before the latter was dismissed by Bhuvneshwar and soon after the former also walked back for 41 courtesy Yuzvendra Chahal.
Adam Milne fell for a duck to the leg-spinner and New Zealand were in danger of getting all out inside 200. But Mitchell Santner and Tim Southee joined hands to add 32 runs for the 9th wicket to take the side to 230 at the end of 50 overs.
A solid platform
The start for India wasn’t a merry one as Rohit Sharma fell cheaply to Southee for 7 in the 5th over. But rather than getting bowed down, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli went on the offensive. Both struck some delightful strokes as the score raced off to 64/1 after 10 overs. While chasing a mediocre total, a good start is always handy and that’s certainly what India had found.
It seemed as if the Pune crowd was in for another Kohli special on the back of his hundred in the last game. But while chasing a wide one off de Grandhomme in the 14th over, he got out caught behind for 29. Dinesh Karthik was the man who batted at No.4 this time and the right-hander didn’t waste much time in hitting his stripes.
An easy chase at the end
There was a slight dip in the scoring rate but the good start allowed the two batsmen to play out a few quiet overs. Dhawan reached his half-century in the 23rd over off 63 balls and was looking set for a big one. He opened his shoulders a bit from then on and scored quickly but fell to Adam Milne in the process for 68 off 84 balls as a solid stand of 66 ended in the 30th over.
Hardik Pandya then walked out to bat at No.5 and whenever he stays at the crease for a while, there are bound to be a few fireworks. While Karthik quietly accumulated runs, Pandya went after the bowlers. A partnership of 59 put India firmly in control as Pandya scored 30 off 31 balls before Santner sent him back.
With just 27 runs needed from 59 balls, MS Dhoni made his way to the middle and along with Karthik, finished the job very professionally. Karthik stayed unbeaten at 64 while Dhoni made 18 not out as India won the match by 6 wickets with 24 balls to spare. The series is now level at one apiece with the final match to be played in Kanpur on Sunday.
New Zealand won the toss and opted to bat first
New Zealand: 230/9 in 50 overs
Henry Nicholls 42, Colin de Grandhomme 41
Bhuvneshwar Kumar 45/3, Yuzvendra Chahal 36/2
India: 232/4 in 46 overs
Shikhar Dhawan 68, Dinesh Karthik 64*
Adam Milne 21/1, Mitchell Santner 38/1
India won by 6 wickets
Player of the Match: Bhuvneshwar Kumar
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