No magic from local lad

MS Dhoni fails in Ranchi, Batsmen falter as Kiwis win

Ranchi : 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 on Wednesday.

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.

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.

In pursuit of 261 on a pitch with variable bounce, India started off positively with Rahane returning to form in his 57 from 70 balls that had five fours and a six.

He along with Kohli laid the foundation before the chase went disarray.

Under pressure Dhoni was slow off the blocks before Neesham accounted for both of them in successive overs.

Once Pandey and Kedar were gone, India required 94 off 84 balls.

Axar and Amit Mishra (14)revived their hopes in a 38 partnership from 37 balls. But Mishra was run out after a poor judgment as it was all but over for India.

The match was interestingly poised for both the teams till Neesham got into the act.

The medium pacer had Rahane plumb in the second ball of his new spell. The Indian opener had done all the hard work and batted beautifully on a tricky track where the odd ball stayed low but his dismissal with more than 100 shy of the target put the spotlight on the local hero Dhoni.

Dhoni looked under pressure and struggled to time the ball on the difficult pitch before being cleaned up by Neesham in the next over.

Practically-speaking, the chase was as good as over for the Kohli-dependent India but the crowd did not mind anticipating a Dhoni special in his possible last appearance.

Amid chants of ‘Dhoni, Dhoni’ reverberating the stands, the Indian skipper made an entry with his casual gait and he took his time waiting for the perfect ball to flourish. But the nature of the pitch let down Dhoni on more than one occasions as he had some mishits and survived on till he completely missed the line to be bowled by Neesham.

At 135/4 in the 30th over, India needed a Kohli-like innings but there was no one to carry his bat through.

Pandey looked fluent with two elegant boundaries before Tom Latham timed his jump to perfection at mid on to cut short his innings as India lost Jadhav next ball to leave the chase in total disarray.

Earlier, Martin Guptill struck a fluent half-century but New Zealand failed to seize the momentum as Indian spinners did well to restrict them to a modest 260 for 7.

Opting to bat, New Zealand were off to their best start on the tour with Guptill slamming an 84-ball-72.

New Zealand

M Guptill c Dhoni b Pandya………..72

T Latham c Rahane b Patel…………39

Williamson c Dhoni b Mishra……..41

R Taylor run out………………………..34

J Neesham c Kohli b Mishra…………6

B Watling c Sharma b Kulkarni……14

A Devcich c Pandya b Yadav………..11

M Santner not out…………………….17

T Southee not out……………………..9

Extras: (lb4, w13)……………………17

Total: (For 7 wkts in 50 ovrs)260

Bowling: Yadav 10-1-60-1, Kulkarni 7-0-59-1, Pandya 5-0-31-1, Mishra 10-0-41-2, Patel 10-0-38-1, Jadhav 8-0-27-0.

India

A Rahane lbw Neesham…………….57

R Sharma c Watling b Southee……11

V Kohli c Watling b Sodhi…………..45

MS Dhoni b Neesham………………..11

A Patel b Boult…………………………38

M Pandey c Latham b Southee……12

K Jadhav lbw Southee…………………0

H Pandya c Latham b Santner………9

A Mishra run out………………………14

D Kulkarni not out…………………….25

U Yadav c Taylor b Boult………………7

Extras: (lb3, w9)……………………..12

Total: (All out in 48.4 ovrs)……..241

Bowling: Southee 9-0-40-3, Boult 9.4-1-48-2, Neesham 6-0-38-2, Santner 10-0-38-1, Sodhi 10-1-52-1, Devcich 4-0-22-0.

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