It was another dominant display from Virat Kohli and his men following their eight-wicket win in the first ODI at Napier as they took a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Having posted 324-4 in their 50 overs, India bowled out New Zealand for just 234 runs to cap off an impressive win.
Here, we look at the key takeaways from India’s display in the second ODI.
INDIA’S TOP ORDER REMAINS ON SONG
It needs no saying really but India’s top-order is the envy of all international teams. It was evident once again on Saturday with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan putting on a 154-run stand for the opening wicket.
Rohit continued the sensational consistency he has shown in the ODI format for many years while Dhawan carried on from where he left off at Napier. The duo set up a solid platform for India to launch off from in the death overs with Rohit being unfortunate to miss out on a well-deserved ton.
While Rohit and Dhawan excelled in the opening roles, skipper Kohli too was looking fluent on his way to 43. However, for the second time in a row, the India captain fell short of his half-century and he will be desperate to change that in the third ODI which will be his last outing in New Zealand before he returns home for a break.
DHONI’S REVIVAL CONTINUES
One of the most pleasing aspects of India’s win in the second ODI was the batting performance of veteran MS Dhoni who continued his resurgence following a poor 2018.
The India wicketkeeper had shown his mettle in the ODI series win over Australia with a man-of-the-series display and he proved that he can still provide explosive finishes with his performance on Saturday.
It was only because of Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav’s exploits in the death overs that India went past the 300-run mark with the former smashing an unbeaten 48 off just 33 deliveries. Dhoni’s entertaining cameo contained five boundaries and a six and the 36-year-old is slowly rediscovering the touch that made him such a feared batsman in the death overs.
WILLIAMSON AND TAYLOR FAIL TO LIFT KIWIS
Before the start of the series, Kohli had warned his team to be ready to chase down 300-plus targets in the five-match series given New Zealand’s formidable batting line up.
That has not happened so far with New Zealand’s batting coming up a cropper in both ODIs. They were bowled out for just 157 at Napier and lasted just 40 odd overs on Saturday.
Their batting woes can be attributed to the poor showings of skipper Kane Williamson and stalwart Ross Taylor. The two batsmen had been in exceptional form in 2018 but have failed to come to the party against India.
Williamson started well on Saturday with two sixes and a boundary but then threw his wicket away while attempting to cut Mohammed Shami. Taylor too, got off to a decent start but he was uncharacteristically undone by Kedar Jadhav’s part-time spin to be stumped by Dhoni.
KULDEEP WORKS HIS MAGIC ONCE AGAIN
After a terrific 2018 in limited-overs cricket for Kuldeep Yadav, his 2019 started off on a poor note with the wrist-spinner failing to create an impact in the first two ODIs against Australia before being dropped for the decider at Melbourne.
It has not taken Kuldeep long to get back to his best with the Kiwis bearing the brunt of his force in both ODIs so far. The youngster repeated his four-wicket haul in the Napier win with four wickets on Saturday that derailed New Zealand’s chase completely.
The Kiwi top-order was already back in the dressing room before Kuldeep got to work his magic in the second ODI and the wrist-spinner went for the kill with the dismissals of the dangerous Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls and Colin de Grandhomme. The wicket of Ish Sodhi was the icing on the cake for Kuldeep who finished with figures of 4-45 from his 10 overs.
With Kuldeep looking back to his best, India will have their tails up for the remainder of the series.
On Saturday, the Aussies dispatched Sri Lanka by an innings and 40 runs in the day/night Test at Brisbane with pacer Pat Cummins picking up a 10-wicket match haul.
Following the win, Australia announced the addition of Stoinis for the Manuka Oval Test while opener Matt Renshaw was released from the squad.
“We made the decision to add Marcus to give us the flexibility to play an all-rounder in the event the conditions require an extra bowling option in the line-up,” Australia national selector Trevor Hohns stated.
“Marcus has been a consistent performer this season, he has displayed strong all-round form in first-class cricket and continued that form into the Australian ODI series against India,” he added.
Stoinis has already represented Australia in 24 ODIs and 17 T20s so far in his career but is yet to be capped at the Test level.
The all-rounder has been in good form with both bat and ball for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League and has registered two half-centuries and picked up a total of six wickets in his side’s two most recent matches.
The second Test between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Manuka Oval in Canberra will get underway on February 1.
AUSTRALIA SQUAD FOR SECOND TEST
Tim Paine (capt & wk), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Kurtis Patterson, Will Pucovski, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle.
Debutant Beuran Hendricks struck with only his seventh delivery in international cricket to dismiss Fakhar Zaman early. Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq then settled the nerves with a promising stand before the former fell for 69 to Dale Steyn.
The visitors have made two changes to their playing XI with pacer Mohammad Amir and spinner Imad Wasim returning to the side. The hosts, meanwhile, have handed pacer Beuran Hendricks an ODI debut while Dale Steyn and Quinton de Kock return.
The two teams are locked at 1-1 in the five-match series after South Africa cancelled out Pakistan’s win in the opener with a five-wicket victory in the second ODI at Durban.
Who will get their noses in front in the series? Do not miss any of the action from Centurion by following our ball-by-ball coverage below.