A slow wicket, tailor-made for the spinners and a raucous crowd cheering every single positive moment on the cricket pitch for the home team. The conditions, any way you look at it, was perfect for India.
And it looked like being even more so when the spinners put the throttle on the New Zealand batsmen to restrict them to 126/7 in 20 overs. A walk in the park it looked like being for the India batsmen, as far as the chase was concerned; just a matter of how many overs it would take them to reach the target.
Well, New Zealand are one of the best limited-overs side for a reason. The Kiwis, after a long, long huddle just outside the boundary line before walking out to the field, where Kane Williamson spoke and spoke and then spoke some more, came out with a plan, a plan to completely derail India's innings, and that too with spin.
It might have seemed like a not-a-great-plan-that, but it worked like a charm as one India batsman after another tripped over, willingly giving their wicket away, with it handing New Zealand a thoroughly deserving victory, as the home team finished on an embarrassing 79 all out in 18.1 overs.
A spinner was always going to open the innings for New Zealand, who went in with three spinners, keeping out Tim Southee and Trent Boult, and it was the most experienced of the lot – Nathan McCullum – who was given the new ball.
Rohit Sharma started well enough, happy to play the ball that was coming in to him, but Shikhar Dhawan was a different case. The one thing you do not do on a turning wicket, particularly before you have got your eye in, is play across the line; even a schoolkid knows that. Apparently, that simple brief did not reach Dhawan, who duly played one across the line, going for the sweep shot to get struck plumb in front of the wicket.
As if that daft shot wasn't enough, Rohit would follow one up in the third over. With Mitchell Santner (4-0-11-4), the left-arm orthodox brought in, Rohit jumped down the track – fair enough -- but looked to play across the line again, trying to flick one to midwicket. He was nowhere near the pitch of the ball, and with the white cherry turning just enough, Luke Ronchi did the rest with his gloves knocking down those stumps.
Next to go was Suresh Raina, so impressive with the ball in the first innings, somehow finding a leading edge, before Yuvraj Singh played a forcing shot off his front foot, something you should never do on a slow wicket, to give McCullum (3-0-15-2) a return catch and his second wicket.
At 26/4, India needed Virat Kohli, the only batsman looking comfortable at the crease, and MS Dhoni, the premier finisher, to take the game to the end. But, after a 13-run stand in a little over three overs, Kohli (23, 27b, 2x4) went for an extravagant drive off the very first ball from legspinner Ish Sodhi (4-0-18-3) and found the outside edge to Ronchi.
Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja came and went quickly, looking like they were playing spin for the first time, and with the run rate climbing and climbing, it was too much for even Dhoni (30, 30b, 1x4, 1x6) to do.
Earlier, India made a strong start with the ball, restricting the big New Zealand batsmen from getting their groove on. The first over was a brilliant one from a spectator's perspective, with a couple of sixes raining into the crowd, while R Ashwin picked up a wicket as well.
But New Zealand, despite losing wickets at regular intervals, hung in there, with Luke Ronchi smashing a few in the final over to take the score past 120, which, in the end, proved to be more than enough.
Watch the full highlights of the India vs New Zealand match HERE