New Zealand are on a brink on a rare and prized one-day cricket series victory over India after batting the tourists into submission in Hamilton.
It was a close run thing, though, in another Seddon Park runfest as New Zealand got home by 19 runs in the second ODI with assistance from the Duckworth-Lewis method. India were 277-9 with three balls left when the rain returned.
Some more Corey Anderson magic sealed the deal as the allrounder blasted 44 off 17 balls then removed the imperious MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja within four balls at the business end, chasing a daunting 297 off 42 overs.
The teams now go to Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday when the hosts can do the unthinkable and go 3-0 up in the five-match series against their high-ranking opponents.
New Zealand rattled up 271-7 off 42, either side of a two-hour rain break, so India's required target got upsized.
It looked like New Zealand had enough runs. But Hamilton's witnessed some remarkable chases before, notably New Zealand's 350-9 to beat Australia in 2007. Dhoni had chosen to bowl first, clearly backing his batsmen to chase down anything on the sluggish pitch and short boundaries, where New Zealand had conceded 363-4 against West Indies.
As in Napier, it all hinged on the skipper and Virat Kohli as India needed to go at seven an over throughout.
Kohli again looked like he could stay all night. Guiding the ball where he wanted, then unleashing his power game, he crafted 78 off 65 balls and never looked threatened. He smashed one to the boundary on 11, via Jesse Ryder's hand, which forced Ryder off the field in pain although he was thought to have escaped broken bones.
With the run rate climbing Kohli had to keep sprinting, and Tim Southee enticed a false pull shot to mid on.
Dhoni averages over 50 in ODIs, too, and has a knack for being not out at the end of Indian run chases. The required rate touched 12 an over but Dhoni kept pace. It looked as if Southee had dropped the game when he fumbled a tough running chance that went for four, but Dhoni (56 off 44) offered another much simpler top edge to signal the end of the contest.
Earlier, another display of Anderson pyrotechnics lit up Seddon Park.
And it was almost world record No 2 for the month for Anderson, who ushered in the New Year with a 36-ball century in Queenstown against the West Indies.
The powerhouse allrounder blasted 44 off 170 before he was caught trying for his sixth six. Had the Kookaburra soared a few more metres, past Shikhar Dhawan's safe hands and over the rope, Anderson would have equalled Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya's world record 17-ball ODI half-century against Pakistan in Singapore in 1996.
Anderson is flying fast onto the radar of Indian Premier League owners for next month's player auction. While he could become wealthy, he also helped Te Aroha 23-year-old Jatinder Singh line his pockets with $100,000. An Anderson six off Ishant Sharma flew over long-on and into Singh's right hand to cue wild celebrations on the grass bank.
New Zealand's innings followed the successful Napier blueprint as their batting lineup looks the best balanced and most powerful in recent memory.
Kane Williamson (77 off 87) set a strong platform and a fourth ODI century would have been his, but the two-hour rain delay required some risks. Ross Taylor (57 off 56) got to free his arms then Anderson unleashed as New Zealand plundered 101 off 8.4 overs after the rain.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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