New Zealand 309 for 3 (Latham 145*, Williamson 94*, Malik 2-66) India 306 for 7 (Ayer 80, Dhawan 72, Gill 50, Ferguson 3-59, Southee 3-73) from seven wickets
New Zealand needed 91 runs in the last 11 overs with seven wickets remaining. A few quick wickets and India could have been in the hunt, but that’s when Latham decisively swung the game to New Zealand.
At the start of the over, Latham were on 77. By the end of it, he had scored his seventh ODI century off just 76 balls.
Latham’s strike reduced the equation to 66 needed off 60 balls. By the time New Zealand crossed the finish line, he was toying with the bowling, punching the fast bowlers through the covers, pulling them to the area he liked, and even Yuzvinder was reverse-sweeping Chahal behind the keeper with the back of the bat. .
The winning runs also came through Williamson’s trademark dub at deep third with a four.
In the morning, after Williamson bowled, Dhawan and Gill put on 124 runs in 23.1 overs to set the platform for India, their fourth century in nine innings.
It was Dhawan who broke the shackles of Ferguson in the 15th over by hitting back-to-back fours. Three overs later, he hit two more fours off Adam Milne, completing his half-century off 63 balls.
These two wickets put a brake on the scoring rate, with Iyer and Rishabh Pant managing just ten runs between 27 and 31 overs. Mullen could have sent Iyer back when the batsman failed to get a rise on the ramp shot, but Latham failed in time. He jumped behind the stumps and grabbed the opportunity. Iyer was playing at 11 runs off 21 balls at that time. He scored 80 runs in 76.
Ferguson dismissed both Pant and Suryakumar Yadav in the 33rd over, forcing Iyer and Sanju Samson to strengthen for a while.
But, as the innings progressed, Iyer, who had struggled to begin with, seemed to grow in confidence. He and Samson both seemed to enjoy the extra pace, and added 94 runs off 77 balls for the fifth wicket. Eyre preferred the aerial route, while Samson hit more with the ground.
Samson fell for 36 off 38 balls but Iyer continued. After scoring his fifty off 56 balls, he went all out. At the other end, Washington hit everything from an on-the-up drive to a falling lap shot as India scored 96 in the last ten overs and looked like the momentum was going into the break.
New Zealand made a positive start to their chase, with Finn Allen and Dion Conway putting on 33 for no loss after five overs. Thakur got Allen caught behind, two balls later Chahal caught him at short mid-wicket and brought him down.
Williamson had another slow start. He was 11 off 22 balls before Chahal allowed him to break free, bowling two short balls in his first over, the 15th over of the innings. Williamson sends him over the mid-wicket boundary.
Malik, however, bowled at a fast pace and took the wickets of Conway and Daryl Mitchell. He also squared Williamson and induced an outside edge, but first slip was too wide, possibly where he was to prevent Williamson from playing to deep third.
Malik was also the only bowler to trouble Latham.
But once the stand between Williamson and Latham began to grow, the Indian attack looked toothless.
Latham used the sweep shot to good effect against Chahal and Washington, while Williamson focused mainly on rotating the strike. Williamson was the first player to complete his half-century off 54 balls. Latham arrived there in 51 before creating a one-man show.
A nick from James Neesham forced New Zealand to play four front-line seamers along with Santner. It had compromised New Zealand’s batting depth to some extent, but Williamson and Latham made sure it didn’t affect them.
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo.