Kane Williamson's gamble to compromise on speed and pick three specialist spinners paid off as New Zealand humbled hosts India by 47 runs in a spin-dominated Super 10 contest of the World Twenty20, in Nagpur, on Tuesday.
Electing to bat first, New Zealand put up 126 for seven, on a pitch aiding the spinners right from the start, before their spinners sent the hosts crashing for a lowly 79.
1. Toss proved crucial for New Zealand
New Zealand's score of 126 in the Group Two contest, on a prodigiously turning track at Nagpur's VCA Stadium, was a seemingly below-par total against the host nation, famed for their proficiency against spin bowling.
2. New Zealand's spinners thrived on a turning pitch
New Zealand's three-pronged spin attack, however, ensured it was more than enough as Mitchell Satner (4-11), Nathan McCullum (2-15) and the Indian-born Ish Sodhi (3-18) wrecked the hosts as they folded for 79 in 18.1 overs.
3. Ronchi's late cameo boosted New Zealand's total
The first three balls of the match contained the kind of drama and excitement fans will be expecting from the sixth edition of the tournament in cricket's emotional and financial home in India.
After Williamson won the toss and decided to set a target, Martin Guptill nonchalantly hit the first delivery from Ravichandran Ashwin over the bowler's head for a six.
The off-spinner settled scores with the very next ball, trapping the batsman leg before with a delivery that, replays suggested, would have gone over the stumps.
New-man in Colin Munro reverse hit the next ball for a six but threw his wicket in the next over.
As wickets kept tumbling at the other end, Corey Anderson (34) tried to steady the innings and it was Luke Ronchi's (21 not out) 11-ball cameo that took them past the 125-mark.
4. India's top order gave away wickets cheaply
The Indian fans expected the chase to be a stroll in the park but McCullum and Santner had other ideas.
They blew away India's top order, reducing them to 26-4 in the fifth over to derail their chase.
Virat Kohli (23) resisted the onslaught for a while but Sodhi struck a crucial blow with his very first ball to send back the Indian batting mainstay.
5. 'Batsmen let India down'
Home captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni waged a lone battle with a run-a-ball 30 but the celebrated 'finisher' could not get his team over the line.
In the final analysis, New Zealand beat India at their own game, their spinners claiming nine of the 10 wickets, though Dhoni insisted the defeat was more down to his team's careless batting.
"It was our batting that let us down," the home captain said after India's fifth futile attempt to beat New Zealand in Twenty20 Internationals.
"There were quite a few soft dismissals. It was not like the deliveries got a lot of batsmen out. Maybe it was our shot selection... there was no partnership also," Dhoni rued.