India paid the price for some poor shot selection as New Zealand clinched the fourth cricket ODI by 19 runs to level five-match series 2-2, here today.
Chasing a target of 281 on a slowish track, India were on course at 128 for 2 before a sudden middle-order collapse saw them lose four quick wickets as they were finally all-out for 241 in 48.4 overs.
This was India’s first loss at skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s home ground in all the international matches that they have played so far.
India’s No 1 batsman Virat Kohli (45) and opener Ajinkya Rahane (57) added 79 runs for the second wicket while skipper Dhoni disappointed the local fans managing a sedate 11 off 31 balls before Jimmy Neesham cleaned him up.
He played 22 dot balls today as he has now played more than 100 dot balls in his last three ODIs.
Especially against left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner (1/38) who bowled 34 dot balls in all and quite a few to Dhoni.
It was Rahane’s leg before off Neesham that triggered a collapse with Dhoni following the suit. Tim Southee then dealt a telling blow by removing Manish Pandey (12) and Kedar Jadhav (0) off successive deliveries — both out to poor choice of shots. From 128/2, India slumped to 154/6 in just five overs and it became the turning point of the match.
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Pandey trying to clear mid-on was out when situation demanded a bit of discretion while Kedar was guilty of trying to hit across the line being adjudged plumb in-front.
Hardik Pandya’s (9) inexperience also showed as he tried to hit an inside out lofted shot despite a fielder being placed at the extra cover boundary.
Axar Patel (38) and Dhawal Kulkarni (25) did try but that was never going to be enough for the ‘Men In Blue’.
Southee (3/48) and Boult (2/40) were again on the money, so was Neesham (2/38) donning the third seamer’s role to perfection.
The spinners gave away 102 runs in their 24 overs and bowled 70 dots which is equivalent to 11.4 overs without runs.
Locked 2-2, the final one-dayer in Visakhapatnam October 29 will determine the winner of the five-match series.