New Zealand have wrapped up the ODI series against India with a game to spare after triumphing in game two in Auckland by 22 runs.
The closely contested ODI swung from one side to the other before the hosts finally emerged victorious owing to a spirited all-round display from debutant Kyle Jamieson.
Earlier in the game, veteran Ross Taylor struck an unbeaten 73 to lift his team total to an imposing 273-8 following a middle-order collapse that threatened to cut short the New Zealand innings.
Fresh from a freakish ton in the previous match, Taylor combined with Jamieson in an undefeated 76-run partnership for the ninth wicket as the home side went to the innings break high on confidence.
Taylor was once again at his belligerent best, managing to assert his dominance over the Indian bowlers with a flurry of boundaries.
He found able company in Jamieson, who also feasted on some ordinary death overs bowling from the tourists to make an immensely valuable contribution of 25 not out from 24 deliveries.
New Zealand had made a strong start to their innings with Martin Guptill finally finding form with the bat after an extended lean run in the 50-over format. Guptill made his first half-century since his side’s opening match of the World Cup last year as he and Henry Nicholls forged breezy 93-run stand for the first wicket.
Following Nicholls’s dismissal, Tom Blundell joined senior batter Guptill to help New Zealand keep scoring at a brisk rate.
However, as soon as Blundell departed off the bowling of Shardul Thakur, the Black Caps faltered against spin with Ravindra Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal wreaking havoc on the opposition’s batting lineup.
Jadeja’s tidy spell of bowling saw him concede just three boundaries in 10 overs while Chahal snapped up three wickets.
A series of single-digit scores from the middle-order meant New Zealand were teetering at 197-8 in 41.3 overs when Jamieson partnered Taylor on the crease.
India’s chase was dotted with a regular loss of wickets, constantly shackling their efforts to break free from the pressure built up by the Kiwi seamers.
Prithvi Shaw’s bright cameo at the start of the innings promised a carnage from his bat but he perished off the bowling of Jamieson to hand him his maiden ODI wicket.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli was castled by pacer Tim Southee for just 15 despite the latter being ill ahead of the game. Southee’s dismissal of Kohli was the ninth time he has tamed the champion batsman across formats, helping him move past James Anderson and Graeme Swann who claimed the Indian captain’s scalp eight times.
The unwell Southee bowled out his quota of overs early and left the field after the 25th over after making another important incision by removing Kedar Jadhav for just nine.
By then, India looked set to crash to a humiliating defeat but Navdeep Saini and Jadeja conjured a stunning 77-run partnership for the eighth wicket to give the hosts a real scare.
Saini, playing just his fourth ODI, showed off his crafty batting skills in a dogged innings as he slammed two sixes and five fours in a 49-ball 45.
Jadeja, meanwhile, patiently whittled down the number of required runs amidst the climbing asking rate.
He was the last man to get out for a fighting 55 as India were bundled out for 251 with nine balls remaining.