Williamson’s ton takes New Zealand to 242/9

New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) Riding on skipper Kane Williamson’s eighth career century, New Zealand put up an improved batting performance before losing the track to post 242/9 in the second One-Day International (ODI) against India here on Thursday.

Williamson (118) helped the visitors recover from yet another disappointing start after being sent in to bat by the hosts at the jam-packed Ferozeshah Kotla.

But just when it looked like New Zealand were heading for a decent total, Indian bowlers pulled the plugs by taking six wickets within a span of 38 runs to restrict the visitors below the 250-run mark on a slow Kotla pitch.

Seasoned leg-spinner Amit Mishra and young medium pacer Jasprit Bumrah took three wickets each to break the backbone of the Kiwi batting even as Umesh Yadav, Axar Patel and Kedar Jadhav chipped in with one wicket each.

The 26-year-old Williamson, who came in after opener Martin Guptill was clean bowled off the second ball of the match by pacer Yadav, was involved in all the three decent partnerships which took the Black Caps to some sort of respectability.

Playing his 95th match, the right-hander first put on 120 runs with opener Tom Latham (46) for the second wicket before adding 38 and 46 runs respectively for the second and third wickets with Ross Taylor (21) and Corey Anderson (21).

In his attempt to avoid another batting collapse, Williamson started cautiously picking the odd singles before changing gears once Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni employed his spinners.

Williamson, who was dropped twice on 46 and 59, took full advantage of the lives as he went on to bring up his century off 109 balls, with 13 boundaries and a six.

His second wicket stand with Latham turned out to be the cornerstone of their batting effort.

It was once again part-timer Jadhav, who gave India the vital breakthrough by removing Latham, and help the home side make inroads into the Kiwi batting line-up. The southpaw’s run-a-ball 46 comprised of six fours and a six.

Taylor, who joined Williamson at the fall of Latham was visibly out of touch, scoring a 42-ball 21, but more importantly stood firm with his skipper for a 38-run stand.

Taylor’s stay at the crease was cut short by Mishra, who deceived him with a faster ball only to be caught at deep mid-wicket by Rohit Sharma.

The former Kiwi skipper’s dismissal brought in all-rounder Anderson, who added 46 vital runs with Williamson to take the team over the 200-run mark. He soon fell prey to the leggie after scoring 21 off 32 balls, which included two boundaries.

Adding salt to injury, Mishra then packed back Williamson with a shorter delivery to be caught by Ajinkya Rahane at the long-on boundary. Williamson’s 128-run innings was laced with 14 boundaries and a massive six.

Struggling at 213/5 and with almost seven overs to go, Indian bowlers took full advantage of the situation to pack the next four batsman within a span of 29 runs.

Luke Ronchi (6), Anton Devcich (7), Tim Southee (0) and Matt Henry (6) looked to be in a competition to get back to the pavilion as Bumrah piled on the misery taking three wickets with his brilliant yorkers alongside Patel’s miserly efforts to restrict them to 242/9.

–IANS

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