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India v New Zealand, 2nd ODI: Five Talking Points

New Zealand
New Zealand. (Photo Source: BCCI)

New Zealand inflicted a six-run defeat upon the hosts in a thrilling final over to finish in the second game of the five-match One-Day International series at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi. Skipper Kane Williamson sparkling 118 starred with the bat and helped New Zealand set a target of 242 runs batting first in the hot and humid day. The score could have been much better if they had not slipped from a comfortable 158/2 in the 31st over to 242/9 at the end of 50th over. The last six wickets could add only 38 runs to the scoreboard.

In response, the Indians were tied down by the highly effective bowling performance from the New Zealand bowling attack led by left-arm fast bowler Trent Boult and successfully defended the total after surviving a stunning lower-order fightback from Hardik Pandya, who scored a 32-ball 36 in a 49-run stand for the ninth wicket with Umesh Yadav.

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1.Unlucky Williamson comes up short once again at the toss

Although the toss has little to do with the actual outcome or result of the encounter, the fact of the matter saw the New Zealand skipper lose yet another toss on his tour of India.

This also began to play a massive role in proceedings as MS Dhoni then opted to put his side in the best possible position of winning. Moreover, many in the Kane Williamson camp are quick and ready to point the finger at the fact that he lost the toss on many an occasion.

2. Kane Williamson slams ton; Latham plays second fiddle

In spite of losing the toss, Kane Williamson and Tom Latham epitomised the fact the ‘move-on’ effect. While Latham showed the similar solidity he has shown thus far in the series, Kane Williamson took it up a notch to make things much harder for the Indian bowlers.

He began to strike boundaries at will as the Indian bowlers had no answer to the New Zealand skipper’s onslaught. While Latham missed out on his well-deserved half-century, Williamson powered his way to an unprecedented century. He was hauled out in the deep after smashing 118 extremely impressive runs. Needless to say, his knock included 14 boundaries and a six.

3. Kiwis shoot themselves in the foot yet again

As has been the narrative in the series, the New Zealand middle and lower order shot themselves in the foot. The last six wickets fell for just 38 runs as the visitors showed simply no application whilst batting.

Moreover, the Indian bowlers also managed to keep the pressure on the batsmen whilst not allowing the visitors to take off in the final few overs. Jasprit Bumrah showcased his talent as a death bowler after breaching the defences of Tim Southee and Matt Henry.

4. The unusual side of MS Dhoni:

India Skipper MS Dhoni once again saw himself with the responsibility of taking India past the finishing line. The Indian top order turned out to be failures today. The Kiwis bowlers bowled exceptionally well and gained an upper hand in the first half of the chase. Dhoni had to come in with a huge task. There was a good amount of runs to be made and a win was far from sight.

The only positive was the gettable required run rate. This probably made Dhoni switch to an ultra-defensive mode much to the surprise the viewers. The approach wasn;t bad give the situation India were in. However, later on, Dhoni failed to switch gears and was dismissed a least impressive 65 balls 39 runs to leave India in a nervy position.

5. Hardik Pandya’s late heroics go in vain:

Hardik Pandey gave a glimpse of his hard-hitting prowess today with his entertaining 32 balls 36 run knocks. The late fightback from Pandya, who is touted as the next big thing, brought India close to snatching a victory from the New Zealand. MS Dhoni’s departure in the 40th over hurt the chasing effort in a big way. The well-set Kedar Jadhav was already gone.

Pandya was the only batsman left and had Umesh Yadav and the tail enders for support. Boult and Southee were spot on with their yorkers and the required run rate was climbing up. But, despite all the pressure around him, Pandya remained calm and gave his best effort. At one point in the penultimate over, it seemed that the match was going down the wire with Pandya at the crease. But a short-pitched ball from Boult brought an end to his fight and silenced the whole stadium.

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