India did not go down with a fight with a courageous half-century from Ravindra Jadeja and an impressive 45 from Navdeep Saini, but that didn’t prove enough as New Zealand emerged victorious by 22 runs at the Eden Park in Auckland in the second one-day international against New Zealand on Saturday. The Blackcaps now have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Chasing an below-par 274, India were struggling at 153/7. However, a 76-run good partnership from Jadeja and Saini brought India back into the reckoning. Saini, who surprised the opposition with some fine stroke-play fell 5 runs short of what would have been his maiden ODI fifty. Jadeja fell for 55 as New Zealand survived a massive scare.

India lost their young openers inside the first six overs. Mayank Agarwal continued his lean streak adding just 3 before he was given marching orders by Hamish Bennett in the third over. Prithvi Shaw, who looked promising after opening the innings with consecutive boundaries, wasted no time to follow his partner back to the pavilion. The Mumbai youngster was cleaned up by debutante Kyle Jamieson for 24 in the fifth over.

Tim Southee, who was not his 100 per cent on the day then bowled a peach of a delivery to disturb the woodwork and send India captain Virat Kohli back for 15. It was the sixth incident in ODIs when Southee got Kohli’s wicket, same as that of West Indies bowler Ravi Rampaul. Thisara Perera and Adam Zampa have got Kohli’s number five times in the 50-over format.

The law of averages then caught up with the in-form KL Rahul, who departed for an usual 4 after he was bowled by Colin de Grandhomme. Regular dismissal then didn’t help India’s cause as the tourists, who blanked out the Kiwis 5-0 in the preceding T20I series, had to accept a 2-0 unassailable lead in the three-match ODI series.

For New Zealand, Southee, despite being unwell, was the pick of the bowlers with 2/41 in his 10 overs. Bennett and de Grandhomme too provided crucial breakthroughs as the duo added two wickets apiece.

Earlier, Martin Guptill’s half-century had guided the side to a steady 157/2, but a punch-drunk New Zealand lost their way. India picked up five for 30 but Taylor heroically brought New Zealand back from the dead adding 76 off 51 for the ninth wicket with Jamieson, who added a dogged 25 off 24 on debut.

After Kohli put New Zealand in, they made just seven in first four, that’s how disciplined India’s new-ball bowlers were. Shardul Thakur gave one from two overs and Jasprit Bumrah was on the mark as early as the first over. On a surface where the ball was moving, New Zealand openers Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls opted for a cautious approach.

The next four went for 36 with Guptill and Nicholls beginning to look a lot assured. Henry scored the first boundary with a crunching drive over Thakur’s head. As for Guptill, a day after he said that it isn’t easy facing Bumrah, he’s played the India pacer with comfort, scoring four boundaries and a six off him.

India’s fielding woes continued as Yuzvendra Chahal put down a return catch of Nicholls, but he made amends soon providing India a breakthrough as the left-hander missed a sweep and was given out LBW. India were unlucky to have closed out on a couple of more chances. A review that Chahal should have taken and a run-out opportunity which Manish Pandey made a meal of with Tom Blundell stranded half-way through the pitch.

Guptill reached his fifty off 49 balls and was beginning to look threatening with a six clubbed off Chahal. But with the partnership on the verge of reaching a half-century, Blundell slapped Thakur to Navdeep Saini at mid-on. Fresh off his poor outing in Hamilton, next over Thakur affected Guptill’s run-out allowing India a foot into the door, which in the next few overs, they would break down.

Jadeja got Latham out LBW, missing a sweep, and next over, nailed a direct hit from point to run Jimmy Neesham out. With Colin de Grandhomme departing to a reckless shot and Chahal completing an easy return catch of Mark Chapman, red-hot India were all over India. And all this while, Taylor was stranded at the non-striker’s end.

Chahal picked up his third wicket – Tim Southee – before debutant Kyle Jamieson offered Taylor the resistance New Zealand needed. After completing his half-century, Taylor brought out his leg-side heaves, and lifted New Zealand over 250, thumping three sixes combined off Thakur and Saini. Despite missing out on the penultimate over from Saini, New Zealand took 14 off Bumrah in the final over with Jamieson launching the No.1 ODI bowler over his head.

Brief scores: New Zealand 273/8 in 50 overs (Martin Guptill 79, Ross Taylor 73*; Yuzvendra Chahal 3/58, Shardul Thakur 2/60) beat India 251 all out in 48.3 overs (Ravindra Jadeja 55, Shreyas Iyer 52; Tim Southee 2/41) by 22 runs