India might have been outplayed in the first ODI, but Virat Kohli's men looked in superb form with both the bat and ball to win the second ODI by six wickets in Pune on Wednesday. India have, thus, levelled the three-match ODI series 1-1, making the third game winner-takes-it-all contest.
This Pune win was made possible with some good batting from Shikhar Dhawan, who scored an important 68 runs while chasing 231 runs to win. Dinesh Karthik also completed his half-century.
One also needs to applaud India bowlers especially Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, who took three and two wickets respectively. It was their superb effort, which restricted NZ to 230 runs only.
India did not start well in the second innings, with Rohit Sharma failing once again. However, it was his opening partner Shikhar, who looked in great form. The left-hander, alongside captain Virat Kohli (29, 29 balls, 3x4, 1x6), scored freely and even the dismissal of skipper did not stop Shikhar from playing his natural game.
There was concern when Kohli went back to the pavilion, but Karthik played a matured knock, providing all the necessary support to Shikhar. The two inched closer to the target without playing risky cricket.
With around 86 runs required, India lost Shikhar (68, 84 balls, 5x4, 2x6) but the opener had done his fair share of job, and it was left for Karthik and Hardik Pandya, who came at number 5, to see India home. Karthik also completed his 50 in the 40th over.
Pandya, after a good partnership with Karthik, was out after a brisk 31-ball 30, allowing India's popular cricketer MS Dhoni to walk into the field with a willow in his hand. Dhoni was wonderfully greeted by the Pune crowd, who were not disappointed as the former captain hit some boundaries to entertain his fans.
Karthik hit the winning runs for India, and remained unbeaten on 64 runs. India won the match with four overs to spare.
What happened in the first innings?
After winning the toss and electing to bat, the Kiwi batsmen found it tough against the hosts bowlers. New Zealand were jolted early when new ball bowlers Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah sent back Martin Guptill (11) and captain Kane Williamson (3) inside the opening six overs.
Guptill was caught by MS Dhoni in the third over while Williamson departed in the sixth. The skipper reviewed the LBW decision but "Umpire's Call" stood.
Colin Munro (10), bowled by Bhuvneshwar, and Ross Taylor (21), caught by Dhoni off a Hardik Pandya short ball, were back in the pavilion as the visitors slumped to 58/4 in 16 overs.
It was left to Tom Latham, centurion in the last match, and Henry Nicholls to put the innings back on track with a half century partnership.
However, Axar Patel removed Latham (38, 62 balls, 2x4) bowled, to extend India's domination in the match. Latham could not capitalise on a reprieve when he was dropped on 29 by Dhoni off leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.
Nicholls (42, 62 balls, 3x4) had his stumps disturbed by a superb delivery from Bhuvneshwar and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme's (41, 40 balls, 5x4, 1x6) fine knock was ended by Chahal.
Chahal took two in two, sending back Grandhomme and Adam Milne (0) in successive deliveries but a hat-trick was denied by Tim Southee.
Mitchell Santner (29) and Southee (25 not out) ensured that New Zealand crossed the 200-run mark. They finished with 230 runs on the board, which did not prove to be enough as India chased down the score in 46 overs to stay alive in the series.
The third and deciding ODI will be played on October 29 in Kanpur.