A 39-ball 62-run fifth-wicket stand between Suresh Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni went in vain as New Zealand won the second ODI against India by 15 runs (Duckworth-Lewis method) in Hamilton on Wednesday. Raina slammed a 22-ball 35 (six fours) to put India on course for a thrilling chase but the visitors finally fell short, needing 71 for a win off 35 balls. Dhoni’s exit after a 44-ball 56 took the sting out of a thrilling chase as India lost Ravindra Jadeja (12) and Ravichandran Ashwin (5) in quick succession as the asking rate mounted.
India needed to score 297 for a win but ended on 277 for nine when rain came down with three balls remaining in the 42 overs-a-side match. With Wednesday’s defeat, India have lost their No. 1 ODI ranking to Australia. Dhoni blamed India’s poor batting for the defeat. “It didn’t go as per plans. The team batting second in a shortened game is always at a disadvantage,” said Dhoni in a post-match chat.
Indian batting once again looked a one-man army, with in-form Virat Kohli once again scoring a blistering 65-ball 78 to keep India’s hopes alive. Quickie Tim Southee was the wrecker-in-chief, taking four wickets for 72, but it was Corey Anderson’s three for 67 that knocked out India’s challenge in the death overs. Kane Williamson was the Man of the Match for a classy 77.
Dhoni, regarded as one of the world’s best finisher said: “The NZ fast bowlers, when they bowled the slower ones, it was hard to get them away. It was quite difficult to hit them away consistently, and in the end we couldn’t get close to the 290 we needed.”
The Indian skipper lamented that India did not have good partnerships upfront. “The last game I got out, and this game Virat got out, so it was important to keep continuing to build a partnership as it is hard for the players coming in to play their strokes freely. From the 25th/26th over we should have started to hit out, but it doesn’t always go to plan,” said Dhoni.