Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed the sluggish start by his side — in pursuit of a demanding 293 in 42 overs — as one of the principal causes for his team’s defeat here on Wednesday.

“When you make just 37 runs in the first 10 overs and lose two wickets, you are putting the middle-order under a lot of pressure,” he said.

Dhoni added, “It was not an easy wicket to push the scoring. The pitch was slow and a bit two paced.”

The Indian captain said his team was still trying to cope with the new fielding and bowling rules in ODIs. “I think the rules have affected us. We are trying to get used to it but are finding it difficult to stop the flow of runs.”

He added, “We are either not starting or finishing an over well.”

Defending Ashwin

About R. Ashwin’s wickets drying up in ODIs, Dhoni said, “I feel he has bowled well. He has the variations. We don’t want to put too much pressure on him by constantly reminding him about wickets. He has bowled in difficult periods. If I bowl him upfront, he will be less expensive.”

The Indian captain said, “We are a happy dressing room, whether we win or lose. The atmosphere in the team is very good. We always believe we can come back.”

New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum said “I am very pleased with this victory. The Indians have some very, very good players. We had to play well.”

McCullum acknowledged the bowling display of paceman Tim Southee. “We ideally want to take wickets upfront to put pressure on the Indian batting. We have a strong bowling group.”

He said, “We put down a couple but fielded very well. It was a good team effort.”

The New Zealand captain indicated that paceman Hamish Bennett could play in the third ODI at Auckland. “The pitch there is much quicker than the one here.”

Man of the Match Kane Williamson said “Playing at the No. 3 spot, I get to build an innings. I am enjoying the role.”

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