Black Caps now look for knockout blow

Ross Taylor his century in the fourth ODI against India at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
Ross Taylor his century in the fourth ODI against India at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
MS Dhoni launches into a big shot in the fourth ODI in Hamilton.
MS Dhoni launches into a big shot in the fourth ODI in Hamilton.
Kyle Mills bowls during the first innings of the fourth ODI against India in Hamilton.
Kyle Mills bowls during the first innings of the fourth ODI against India in Hamilton.
Brendon McCullum leads the New Zealand team from the field at the conclusion of the third ODI at Eden Park.
Brendon McCullum leads the New Zealand team from the field at the conclusion of the third ODI at Eden Park.
Ravindra Jadeja led India to the brink of a miraculous win in the third ODI at Eden Park.
Ravindra Jadeja led India to the brink of a miraculous win in the third ODI at Eden Park.
Ross Taylor (left) and Martin Guptill celebrate a wicket in the third ODI.
Ross Taylor (left) and Martin Guptill celebrate a wicket in the third ODI.
A shot from MS Dhoni beats the field in the third ODI.
A shot from MS Dhoni beats the field in the third ODI.
Luke Ronchi (left) and Corey Anderson celebrate a wicket in the third ODI.
Luke Ronchi (left) and Corey Anderson celebrate a wicket in the third ODI.
Martin Guptill acknowledges the crowd after scoring a century in the third ODI at Eden Park.
Martin Guptill acknowledges the crowd after scoring a century in the third ODI at Eden Park.
Luke Ronchi lofts the ball down the ground in the third ODI at Eden Park.
Luke Ronchi lofts the ball down the ground in the third ODI at Eden Park.
Corey Anderson launches into a big shot in the third ODI at Eden Park.
Corey Anderson launches into a big shot in the third ODI at Eden Park.
Wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi congratulates Mitchell McClenaghan (right) and Brendon McCullum after dismissing India's Ajinkya Rahane.
Wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi congratulates Mitchell McClenaghan (right) and Brendon McCullum after dismissing India's Ajinkya Rahane.
Virat Kohli celebrates his half century as Nathan McCullum looks on.
Virat Kohli celebrates his half century as Nathan McCullum looks on.
Tim Southee of New Zealand celebrates after taking the wicket of Rohit Sharma.
Tim Southee of New Zealand celebrates after taking the wicket of Rohit Sharma.
Mitchell McClenaghan, right, celebrates with Ross Taylor after taking the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane.
Mitchell McClenaghan, right, celebrates with Ross Taylor after taking the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane.
Martin Guptill of New Zealand misses a catch.
Martin Guptill of New Zealand misses a catch.
Jatinda Singh with the $100k cheque from DB Breweries for his one-handed catch.
Jatinda Singh with the $100k cheque from DB Breweries for his one-handed catch.
Kane Williamson of New Zealand bats as MS Dhoni of India looks on.
Kane Williamson of New Zealand bats as MS Dhoni of India looks on.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar of India bowls as Martin Guptill looks on.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar of India bowls as Martin Guptill looks on.
Martin Guptill bats for the Black Caps at Seddon Park.
Martin Guptill bats for the Black Caps at Seddon Park.
Ishant Sharma, right, celebrates with teammates Virat Kohli, centre, and Suresh Raina after taking the wicket of Jesse Ryder.
Ishant Sharma, right, celebrates with teammates Virat Kohli, centre, and Suresh Raina after taking the wicket of Jesse Ryder.
Jesse Ryder of New Zealand bats during the ODI at Seddon Park.
Jesse Ryder of New Zealand bats during the ODI at Seddon Park.
An Indian fan looks the part at the ODI between NZ and India.
An Indian fan looks the part at the ODI between NZ and India.

The Black Caps have the big boys on the ropes and are now desperate to land the knockout blow.

Having gone 2-0 up in the five-match series against India after a 15-run victory in Hamilton last night, New Zealand head to Auckland for a defining third ODI on Saturday which could secure them a valuable series win or signal a fightback by the tourists, who will also be out to regain the world No 1 ranking from Australia.

Consistency is what the Black Caps have been striving for. Two wins in a row, against this calibre of opposition is great, but captain Brendon McCullum knows it doesn't take much for things to turn for the worse.

"We're playing some decent cricket at the moment and the challenge for us is to keep putting it together, because we know India are going to keep improving," he said. "It's nice that we've started this way but we've got to focus on the next game."

Eden Park's quicker surface will see Hamish Bennett likely brought into the XI, McCullum said, while he is hopeful Jesse Ryder will be available, after leaving the field early in last night's chase after taking a knock on the finger.

New Zealand weren't at their optimum in the field last night, but despite that, still found a way to win, which does wonders for the confidence.

"I still think we can improve from an attention point of view in the field. I thought we weren't quite as sharp as we should be.

"And I think under pressure against a very good Indian batting lineup, we've delivered at key times," McCullum said, adding he was encouraged that different guys in the bowling unit were stepping up. Last night Tim Southee picked up four crucial wickets, surpassing 100 ODI scalps in the process, while, despite being pasted earlier, Corey Anderson was thrown the ball at the end, and delivered.

"One of the things we try to do is ensure that you keep giving guys opportunities even though they may not start well in games," McCullum said. "You've got to keep going back to them because otherwise they never get the opportunity to learn either."

From a batting point of view, the blueprint was executed spot on as Kane Williamson (77) and Ross Taylor (57) again gave a platform for Corey Anderson (44 off 17) to launch two fours and five sixes in a stinging assault which saw New Zealand post a big 292-7 off their rain-reduced 42 overs and see Tui hand out another $100,000 to crowd catcher Jatinder Singh from Te Aroha.

While Virat Kohli (78 off 65) and MS Dhoni (56 off 44) threatened the target, they again weren't able to see their side through, finishing 277-9.

Dhoni was left lamenting a sedate start to their chase, on a wicket which he felt became two-paced.

"I thought once we got off to a start, the openers should have carried on for a bit longer, they could have played a few more shots, got a few more runs and taken a bit of pressure off the middle order," said the skipper.

"Also I think what some of the batters are going through is a phase where first when you come and play a few games you just play your natural game and then all of a sudden you have a reputation to carry on, and that actually puts a bit of pressure on them. But with more and more games they realise themselves what their particular game is and back themselves to play that game."

In the bowling department, Dhoni wants his attack to be more accurate and not concede so many boundaries on the first and last balls of overs.

"We'll have to change a few things, how we're going to play our cricket. But we are definitely looking forward to Auckland.

"As far as the morale is concerned, it's a fantastic, lively dressing room. And what we always emphasise is that cricket is not something that should have a lot of effect on the dressing room. Yes, they are linked, but at the same time it shouldn't be like when you're performing well you have a different dressing room and when you're not the entire scenario changes."

Scoreboard from second ODI between New Zealand and India at Seddon Park, Hamilton:

NEW ZEALAND

M Guptill c Shami b Raina 44
J Ryder c Dhoni b Shami 20
K Williamson st Dhoni b Jadeja 77
R Taylor c Dhoni b Shami 57
C Anderson c Dhawan b Sharma 44
B McCullum c & b Shami 0
L Ronchi not out 18
N McCullum b Kumar 1
K Mills not out 2

Extras (lb 1, wd 7) 8

Total (for 7 wickets, 42 overs) 271

Fall: 25, 114, 174, 248, 250, 251, 252.

Bowling: B Kumar 7-1-43-1, M Shami 7-0-55-3 (2w), I Sharma 6-0-46-1 (4w), R Jadeja 8-0-46-1, V Kohli 2-0-12-0, R Ashwin 8-0-50-0 (1w), S Raina 4-0-18-1.

INDIA

S Dhawan b Southee 12
R Sharma c Ronchi b Southee 20
V Kohli c sub (Devcich) b Southee 78
A Rahane c Ronchi b McClenaghan 36
M Dhoni c Williamson b Anderson 56
S Raina c Southee b Mills 35
R Jadeja b Anderson 12
R Ashwin c Guptill b Southee 5
B Kumar c McCullum b Anderson 11
M Shami not out 1
I Sharma not out 1

Extras (lb 3, wd 7) 10

Total (for 9 wickets, 41.3 overs) 277

Fall: 22, 37, 127, 164, 226, 257, 259, 265, 275.

Bowling: K Mills 9-1-50-1, M McClenaghan 8-1-45-1 (1w), T Southee 9-0-72-4 (1w), N McCullum 8-0-40-0 (3w), C Anderson 7.3-0-67-3 (2w).

Result: New Zealand won by 15 runs (Duckworth-Lewis method), lead five-match series 2-0.

Fairfax Media