MS Dhoni once again coached the Indian spinners as the visitors continued their fairytale run in the southern hemisphere skittling New Zealand out for 157 in the first ODI at Napier on January 23.
Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to bat first but India started on the front foot courtesy paceman Mohammed Shami. The Bengal bowler carried over his good form across the Tasman sea into New Zealand as he removed openers, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro. Shami's wicket of Guptill made him the quickest Indian to 100 ODI wickets.
The reunited duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal then took over. Chahal dismissed in-form Ross Taylor and then middle-order batsman Tom Latham. He got both his wickets caught and bowled.
Part-timer Kedar Jadhav got his customary wicket against the Kiwis too when Henry Nicholls played an uppish on-drive. But that wicket belonged as much to Kuldeep as Jadhav given the fantastic catch the former held on to at mid-wicket.
Kuldeep then got into the mix with the ball, taking New Zealand's last four wickets for 11 runs before Shami had trapped Mitchell Santner plumb in front for his third wicket of the match.
But the golden story of the first innings was how the Chinaman bowler got his and India's final wicket. Of course, Dhoni was the mastermind behind the heist. It was the last ball of Kuldeep's spell when Kiwi number 11 Trent Boult was on strike.
"Ye aankh band kar ke rokega. Andar nahi aana chahiye. Idhar se daal. Isko doosra wala dal sakta hai," Dhoni quipped from his the stumps in his usual baritone.
Kuldeep followed suit, bowling the googly from around the wicket. Like magic, Boult tried to defend and edged the ball to Rohit Sharma at first slip. Kuldeep beamed with joy and disbelief as to how Dhoni predicted the exact nature of the dismissal.
Social media noticed the same and exalted at Dhoni's invaluable brilliance.
"Yeh aank band karke rokega. Dusra waala daal sakta hai isko." MS Dhoni from behind the stumps reads Boult, suggests Kuldeep to bowl a googly. Kuldeep obliges and Rohit takes a simple catch at first slip.— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) January 23, 2019
NZ have been bowled out for 157. #CricketMeriJaan #NZvIND