New Zealand beat India by 15 runs on the Duckworth/Lewis method in the rain-reduced second One-Day International in Hamilton.
Kane Williamson (77) and Ross Taylor (57) scored half-centuries before Corey Anderson thumped 44 in 17 balls as the Black Caps made 271 for seven from 42 overs.
Half-centuries from Virat Kohli (78) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (56) were not enough to help them chase a target of 297 runs in 42 overs, as the match was curtailed due to rain in the afternoon.
They closed on 277 for nine with three balls remaining when the rain returned. That left them well short - they would have needed to have been on 293 to win - and coupled with Australia's dominant performances against England, means that India have slipped to second place in the ODI rankings as well.
Tim Southee (4-72) was the Black Caps' best bowler, while Corey Anderson (3-67) followed his 17-ball 44 earlier with another handy effort with the ball. Kyle Mills (1-50) and Mitchell McClenaghan (1-45) chipped with a wicket apiece, while Nathan McCullum (0-40) went wicketless.
Openers Rohit Sharma (20) and Shikhar Dhawan (22) faced a daunting task first up, and they did better than they have in the past three ODIs in South Africa and New Zealand combined, putting their best stand in past four matches. However it was only worth 22 runs as Dhawan played a suicidal shot to Southee, charging the bowler and getting bowled.
Rohit too only dazzled for a little bit, hitting two fours and a straight six over long off, as he edged one outside off stump to keeper Luke Ronchi. He became Southee’s 100th dismissal in 76 ODIs.
India were already trailing as per the D/L method, needing a partnership to revive their chase, and that is what Ajinkya Rahane (36) provided in the company of in-form Kohli as they steered India ahead.
The latter was obviously the more aggressive batsman in this pairing, bringing up his 29th ODI fifty in the 23rd over of the innings. In the next over, they brought up their 50-run partnership, off only 49 balls.
Just when it seemed that India were beginning to look comfortable, Rahane played an unnecessary shot to counter the rising run-rate and was caught behind attempting a pull shot. He scored 36 runs off 42 balls, with four fours, putting on 90 runs for the third wicket with Kohli.
Skipper Dhoni came out to bat, ahead of Suresh Raina, but they couldn’t take the score closer to the target as they had in Napier.
Kohli was looking to accelerate when he mistimed and hit straight to the substitute fielder, Anton Devcich, at mid on. He made 78 runs off 65 balls, with seven fours and two sixes, and walked off dejected as there was yet another hundred for the taking.
Raina then came out fighting, looking more comfortable at number six than he has batting higher up, as he chipped in with a quick-fire 35 off 22 balls with six fours.
He put on 62 runs in only 39 balls with Dhoni as the chase started looking hopeful once again. But he fell in the 37th over, much to the disappointment of his captain.
Thereafter Dhoni reached his fifty in the 39th over, off 41 balls, looking to take India home single-handedly. His efforts came to nought though as he holed out in the 40th over, falling for 56 runs.
The task was beyond Ravindra Jadeja (12 runs, eight balls, one six), Ravichandran Ashwin (5) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (11 runs, six balls, two fours). Mohammad Shami (1 not out) and Ishant Sharma (1 not out) were unbeaten when the match was called off three balls earlier due to another rain shower as the men in blue sank to their fourth loss in the last five ODIs.
The long rain interruption meant that the match was reduced to a 42-overs-per-side affair. The second power play was reduced to four overs, while the mandatory power play for the Indian innings was reduced to nine overs. Only two bowlers were allowed to bowl a maximum of nine overs in each innings.
Earlier, second successive half-centuries from Kane Williamson (77) and Ross Taylor (57), and a 17-ball 44 from Corey Anderson propelled New Zealand to 271 for seven in 42 overs after rain curtailed their innings.
Shami (3-55) was once again India’s most successful bowler, albeit a touch expensive. Bhuvneshwar (1-43), Ishant Sharma (1-46), Jadeja (1-46) and Raina (1-18) took a wicket apiece, while Ashwin (0-50) and Virat Kohli (0-12) went wicketless.
The first wicket came in the sixth over, as Jesse Ryder (20 runs, 11 balls, four fours) edged a rising delivery outside off stump to Dhoni.
Williamson then carried on from where he left at Napier, taking New Zealand past the 100-run mark in the 18th over, after the first rain break of the day. His second-wicket pairing with Martin Guptill (44 runs, 65 balls, five fours, one six) lasted until the 19th over, costing India 89 runs when the latter top-edged Raina to be caught at short fine leg.
Williamson continued in the same vein with Taylor, as they brought up their 50-run partnership before the rain break came in the 34th over. Afterwards they looked to up the ante immediately as the Kiwis had a little over eight overs left to play since the match was reduced to 42 overs a side.
The former, though, was stumped in the 34th over off Jadeja, in this bid as Corey Anderson came ahead of captain Brendon McCullum as the hosts took their second powerplay.
Williamson scored 77 runs off 87 balls, with five fours and one six, putting up 60 runs for the third wicket with Taylor, after their century stand in the first ODI at Napier.
Anderson made full use of it as he pummelled the Indian bowling for five sixes in his 17-ball stay, carting two each off Ashwin and Ishant.
His 50-run partnership with Taylor came up in only 21 balls, and in total adding a massive 74 runs in 4.4 overs of non-stop hitting. His partner wasn’t quiet either, reaching his 26th ODI fifty, but he seemed a spectator to what was happening at the other end.
The big-hitting all-rounder was out caught in the deep in the 39th over, but he had done his job.
58 runs came off the four power play overs with the loss of just one wicket. New Zealand slowed down a little bit thereafter, with Taylor (57 runs, 56 balls, seven fours) and McCullum (0) falling in the 40th over bowled by Shami.
Kumar bowled Nathan McCullum (1), but Ronchi (18 not out, 10 balls, two fours, one six) and Kyle Mills (2 not out, two balls) helped them garner 101 runs in the 8.4 overs bowled after the interruption.
In the afternoon, Dhoni won a second toss in a row and elected to field once again. The threat of rain could have perhaps proved a factor in this decision, given his team didn’t chase too well in the first match at Napier.
The visitors went in with an unchanged side, while the Black Caps made one change, with Kyle Mills coming in for the injured Adam Milne.
© Cricket World 2014