India's overseas performance took a further dip in New Zealand on Wednesday when MS Dhoni's men were beaten by New Zealand in the second ODI at Hamilton, with the 15-run (D/L) loss also snatching the No. 1 ODI rank from the world champions.
Set a revised target of 297, after two rain delays in the New Zealand innings turned the game into a 42-over affair, India once again looked over-reliant on Virat Kohli whose 78 kept India in the game. But Kohli's dismissal once again proved to be detrimental to India's chances, until Dhoni launched a last-ditch effort for an improbable win with his 56.
India's loss became Australia's gain, who have now regained the No. 1 rank in the ICC ODI rankings.
Indian bowling once again failed for most part until a final burst from Mohammad Shami (3 for 55) restricted New Zealand score that got a major push from Corey Anderson's 17-ball 44, which included five towering sixes. Before Anderson, Kane Williamson (77) got his second consecutive half-century and Ross Taylor contributed a 56-ball 57 to set the launchpad.
NZ reached 271 for 7 in their 42 overs, adding a whopping 101 runs in 8.4 overs after the second rain interruption, but the target for India was revised to 297 per D/L method, which was always going to be a stiff ask for the Indian batting with out-of-form openers and a middle order solely dependent on Kohli.
Tim Southee extended Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma's lean patch, dismising both for 12 and 20 respectively, before returning to take two more in a nine-over spell of 4 for 72. Anderson backed his whirlwind 44 with 3 for 67 with the ball to prove his worth as an allrounder.
Kohli and Rahane added 90 runs for the third wicket after Dhawan was bowled by a fullish delivery from Southee and Sharma edged one to Luke Ronchi behind the stumps. The Mumbaikar was done in by Mitchell McClenaghan, who got one to kick up and Rahane could only get a thickish edge to the keeper.
Skipper Dhoni came out to bat ahead of Suresh Raina but he and Kohli could not take the score closer to the target unlike Napier.
Kohli was looking to accelerate when he mistimed and hit straight to the substitute fielder at mid-on. His 78 came off 65 balls, with seven fours and two sixes, and he walked off dejected as there was yet another hundred for the taking.
Raina then came out fighting, looking more comfortable at number six than he has batting higher up, as he chipped in with a quick-fire 35 off 22 balls with six fours. He put on 62 runs in only 39 balls with Dhoni as the chase started looking hopeful once again. But he fell in the 37th over, much to the disappointment of his captain.
Thereafter Dhoni reached his 50 in the 39th over, off 41 balls, looking to take India home single-handedly. His efforts, though, came to a naught as he holed out in the deep in the 40th over.
Rain came again with three balls left in the Indian innings but the umpires asked the players to walk off with the visitors needing 20 off the last three balls. That also proved to be the end of the match.
Earlier, Indian bowlers dished out yet another listless performance as New Zealand scored an imposing 271 for 7 in 42 overs.
Williamson set the platform with a polished knock, helping allrounder Anderson to cut loose as he played a brilliant cameo. Before Anderson, Taylor's brisk fifty included seven hits to the fence.
Shami was once again the most successful bowler for India. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-43), Ishant Sharma (1-46), Ravindra Jadeja (1-46) and Suresh Raina (1-18) took a wicket apiece while R Ashwin's (0-50) poor form with the ball continued.
(With PTI inputs)