The BLACKCAPS have taken a commanding 2-0 lead in the ANZ ODI Series against India, winning by 15 runs in a tense encounter at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
Rain saw the match reduced to 42 overs per side, having first made an appearance during the first innings. It then returned in the final over of the match, leaving the Duckworth-Lewis system to work out the final result.
In a similar scenario to the first match, Kane Williamson (77) and Ross Taylor (57) did much of the BLACKCAPS donkey work with the bat, before Corey Anderson (44) erupted late on. They finished at 271 for seven, but Duckworth-Lewis revised that total to set India a target of 297.
Virat Kohli (77) and MS Dhoni (56) once again threatened to spoil the BLACKCAPS party, but the asking rate was too much and after 41.3 overs they were held to 277 for nine.
The BLACKCAPS bowlers gave away nothing in the initial overs, quickly helping to escalate the required-run-rate. Matters got worse for the visitors when Tim Southee knocked over the pins of Shikhar Darwin and found the edge of Rohit Sharma to reduce them to 37 for two.
That of course still left the Kohli factor. The prolific number three once again kept his side’s hopes alive, but would be thwarted in his efforts for back-to-back centuries, dismissed by Southee in the 33rd over.
Cameos from Ajinkya Rahane (36) and Suresh Raina (35) kept India within striking distance, but with 100 balls remaining they had a tough ask in still needing 166 runs for victory.
The key of course was Dhoni. The Indian skipper looked ready to launch in the final few overs, but Anderson played the hero once more for the BLACKCAPS, sending the danger man on his way with 17 balls remaining.
From there they needed another 40 for victory, but wickets were now starting to fall regularly and no miracle came forth for India.
While expensive, Southee finished leading wicket taker with four for 71, while Anderson was next best with three for 67.
There seems to be a re-occurring formula to the BLACKCAPS plan of attack with the bat at the moment and it paying dividends.
Following a quick-fire 20 from Jesse Ryder and very handy 44 from Martin Guptill, the duo of Taylor and Williamson once again took the sting out of the Indian bowling attack in the middle stages of the innings.
While batting sensibly, they still ticked over the run-rate at a reasonable clip. The GO button was soon to be pushed, but in the 34th over with the BLACKCAPS 170 for two, the rain forced the players from the field.
They returned after more than an hour on the sideline, with each side having lost eight overs each. The BLACKCAPS played their poweplay not long after, but lost Williamson first ball when he was stumped off Ravindra Jadeja.
From there, it became the Anderson show and he quickly gave the local crowd something to cheer about. The 23-year-old did nothing to tarnish his fast growing reputation as one of the cleanest hitters in world cricket, crashing five sixes in his 17 ball innings.
One lucky punter left the stadium $100,000 richer thanks to Anderson’s antics, holding on to a marvellous one handed catch in the Tui Catch-a-Million promotion. Coming to the cricket? Get a tee-shirt and lanyard.
A late flurry of wickets saw the BLACKCAPS momentum stemmed a little, but they were still left with a very healthy total at the end.
Mohammed Shami took a bit of a whack in his seven overs, but was leading wicket taker for India with figures of three for 55.
It was another clinical performance from the BLACKCAPS, who now head to Auckland in hope of attaining a 3-0 buffer and series win.