India paid the price for some poor shot selection, at India skipper MS Dhoni's home ground, the visitors have levelled the 5-match series 2-2. Both the teams will now lock horns on Saturday (October 29) at Vishakhapatnam to seal the series.
Chasing a target of 281 on a slowish track, India were on course at 128 for 2 before a sudden middle-order collapse saw them lose four quick wickets as they were finally all-out for 241 in 48.4 overs.
This was India's first loss at skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's home ground in all the international matches that they have played so far.
India's No 1 batsman Virat Kohli (45) and opener Ajinkya Rahane (57) added 79 runs for the second wicket while skipper Dhoni disappointed the local fans managing a sedate 11 off 31 balls before Jimmy Neesham cleaned him up. He played 22 dot balls today as he has now played more than 100 dot balls in his last three ODIs.
Especially against left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner (1/38) who bowled 34 dot balls in all and quite a few to Dhoni. It was Rahane's leg before off Neesham that triggered a collapse with Dhoni following the suit.
Tim Southee then dealt a telling blow by removing Manish Pandey (12) and Kedar Jadhav (0) off successive deliveries -- both out to poor choice of shots. From 128/2, India slumped to 154/6 in just five overs and it became the turning point of the match.
Pandey trying to clear mid-on was out when situation demanded a bit of discretion while Kedar was guilty of trying to hit across the line being adjudged plumb in-front.
Hardik Pandya's (9) inexperience also showed as he tried to hit an inside out lofted shot despite a fielder being placed at the extra cover boundary. Axar Patel (38) and Dhawal Kulkarni (25) did try but that was never going to be enough for the 'Men In Blue'.
Southee (3/48) and Boult (2/40) were again on the money, so was Neesham (2/38) donning the third seamer's role to perfection. The spinners gave away 102 runs in their 24 overs and bowled 70 dots which is equivalent to 11.4 overs without runs.
Opting to bat, New Zealand were off to their best start on the tour with Guptill slamming an 84-ball-72 studded with 12 boundaries.
Along with Tom Latham (39 from 40 balls; 4x4) he laid a solid foundation putting together 96 from 93 balls for the opening wicket before left-arm spinner Axar Patel (1/38) gave the much-needed breakthrough after a lacklustre performance by the seamers.
Guptill looked in full flow and completed his 31st ODI fifty from 56 balls but Hardik Pandya ended the threat inducing a thin edge of the Kiwi opener midway into their innings.
With 184/2 after 35 overs and a set Kane Williamson in the middle, New Zealand were still in sight of 300. But Amit Mishra (2/41) took the crucial wickets of Williamson (41 from 59 balls; 4x4) and James Neesham (6) in successive overs to derail the visitors gameplan.
Williamson was foxed by the bounce and took an edge to Dhoni, while Neesham's mistime found Kohli at cover as India did well to arrest their progress.
Patel returned with tidy figures of 1 for 38 from his quota, while part-time off-spinner Kedar Jadhav returned wicketless but conceded just 27 runs from his eight overs to put brakes on New Zealand's brisk start.
Kiwi skipper Williamson not only read the coin rightly for the first time in the series after three Tests and three ODIs, but he also read the pitch perfectly and opted to bat on a slow pitch with variable bounce.
Having started off with a maiden, India courtesy Kulkarni leaked 16 runs in the second over, a trend that continued till the powerplay with Guptill and Latham batting with ease against some lacklustre bowling by the seamers.
Brought in place of an indisposed Jasprit Bumrah in the solitary change to India XI, Kulkarni bowled full on a slow surface and Guptill, having assessed the condition in the first over, hit three exquisite boundaries to start off.
Yadav bowled with pace but the accuracy was missing and often was wayward down the leg trying to get across the line against the left-handed Latham to a packed offside field. The left and right hand easily dissected the field with boundaries all around the wicket and Dhoni continued with this pair for 10 overs before Mishra and Patel were brought in.
From 80 without loss in 10 overs, the spin duo's tight bowling brought the run-rate down before Patel gave the breakthrough denying Latham (39) a sixth fifty on this tour.
The left-hander took a top edge while trying for a slog sweep to a width delivery before Rahane took the catch at short fine leg.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Axar Patel, Hardik Pandya, Amit Mishra, Umesh Yadav and Dhawal Kulkarni.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling (wicketkeeper), James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Ish Sodhi and Anton Devcich.
(With inputs from agencies)