A 154-run opening partnership between Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma set India on course to a 90-run win over New Zealand in the second one-day cricket international on Saturday and a 2-0 lead in the five-match series. Sharma made 87 and Dhawan 66 as India posted 324-4 after winning the toss and opting to bat.

New Zealand mustered only 234 from 40.2 overs in reply for its second heavy defeat after losing the first match of the series by eight wickets. While India has solidified its position as one of the favorites to win the 50-over World Cup in England in the middle of the year, New Zealand’s high expectations of its own chances have been re-calibrated after two crushing defeats.

India actually fell short of the total it should have achieved after Dhawan and Rohit were finally separated after 25 overs. Captain Virat Kohli made 43, Ambati Rayudu 47 and M.S. Dhoni an unbeaten 48 from 33 balls but India didn’t fully capitalize on the foundation set by the openers. Dhawan carried his bat for 75 in the first match of the series in Napier.

At 173-2 after 30 overs India was on target for a total well in excess of 350 but it dawdled at times in the late stages of its innings, going 25 balls without a boundary after the 40th over. Only a spritely late partnership of 53 from 26 balls between Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav, who hit 22 from 10 balls with three fours and a six, lifted India comfortably beyond 300.

“I made a conscious effort after the drinks break that I’m going to go hard between 34-40 overs so we can get 340-350. Once I got out, the new batsman had to take time. These are the things we need to look into with the World Cup nearby,” he said.

“We would like to score those 15-20 runs extra but at the same time, good to see us chip our way to a balanced total.”

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