Rain had the final say as a spot-start second ODI between India and New Zealand in Seddon Park was abandoned due to rain on Sunday. There were some predictions of rain threatening to disrupt the proceedings, but it washed off the match.
Before rain eventually prevailed, 12.5 overs of play was possible as India were pushed into batting first by New Zealand, who won the toss for the second time in as many matches of this series.
Shubman Gill and Suryakumar Yadav entertained the crowd with some scintillating stroke-play on a pitch which was aiding fast bowlers. Suryakumar hit three glorious sixes in his unbeaten 25-ball 34, while Gill was crisp in his timing and placement of shots to be 45 not out off 42 deliveries.
For New Zealand, pacer Matt Henry took out captain Shikhar Dhawan for just three just after the match was reduced to 29 overs a side affair due to a lengthy rain interruption. The washout means India cannot win the series now and their best chance now is to square the ODI series in the final match of the tour at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Wednesday.
Earlier, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss for the second time in the series, and elected to bowl first again. The toss had been delayed by 15 minutes due to cloudy conditions, and the pitch being covered in the run-up to the match.
New Zealand made one change: – bringing in spin all-rounder Michael Bracewell in place of fast bowler Adam Milne. India made two changes: – Deepak Chahar and Deepak Hooda came in place of Shardul Thakur and Sanju Samson.
Shubman Gill drove elegantly past mid-on twice and cut Tim Southee fiercely through cover. But rain arrived and cut short the proceedings as India were 22/0 in 4.5 overs. Rain kept play away for nearly nearly three and half hours, before it stopped for the match to resume,
Now reduced to 29-overs-a-side, India needed to up the ante from the word go. In a bid to do so, Shikhar Dhawan mistimed his chipped drive of Henry to mid-on on the second ball after the resumption of play.
But Gill continued to be strong, pulling Henry powerfully over deep backward square leg for six. Suryakumar joined the party by upper-cutting a rising delivery from Lockie Ferguson over keeper’s head for a boundary.
Gill was glorious in lofting inside-out off Michael Bracewell over extra cover, before Suryakumar slammed a cracking slog-sweep off Mitchell Santner over deep mid-wicket fence for six in the next over.
He continued to show signs of audacious stroke-play by reverse-sweeping off Bracewell for a maximum and then shuffled away to create room for heaving Ferguson over deep mid-wicket for another six, followed by flicking him through fine leg.
But immediately after this, the rain returned again, forcing the players off the field. With the downpour becoming heavier, the bigger covers came on the pitch and outfield. But rain refused to relent and the game was finally called off as umpires shook hands with both captains.
The washout means India cannot win the series now as New Zealand are still 1-0 ahead and their best chance now is to square the ODI series in the final match of the tour at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Wednesday.
The abandonment also means New Zealand and India shared five points each on the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League Standings. New Zealand are now third in the standings with 125 points, just below England, while India are at the top and have already qualified for the 2023 ODI World Cup on account of being tournament hosts.