In the first ODI on Friday at Auckland, India reached 306/7 in 50 overs after labouring to 186/4 in 38 overs and thought they had a winning total on their hands. It seemed more plausible after their bowlers removed three wickets for 88 runs in 20 overs.
However, Tom Latham's 104-ball 145 and Kane Williamson's 94 not out off 98 balls took the game away from them as the hosts cruised to a seven-wicket victory with 17 balls to spare. Latham was the aggressor in the unbeaten partnership of 221 runs with 19 boundaries and five sixes.
The innings also had some fortunate shots like a miscued six off Umran Malik and a chopped on inside-edge off Arshdeep Singh's yorker and a mis-timed cover drive off Shardul Thakur for a four.
"It's one of those days. Whatever shots you play, comes off. I am at my best when I react to the ball rather than pre-meditate. Things fall in place and you are in a zone," Latham described his innings in the post-match press conference.
The left-hander looked peerless in his onslaught of four boundaries and a six off Thakur's 40th over, which threw a wrench in India's plans.
"Preparation has been nice. The focus was on being in strong positions (footwork wise) and reacting to the ball," he added.
While he reached his second hundred against India and took his average against them to a stunning 65.08 from 17 ODI innings, Latham was content with taking his team to the win.
"We (him and Williamson) feed off each other. We all know Kane and he is not (the one who cares) about milestones. Bigger picture for me was the game situation and once I got the hundred, we still had a decent time to bat and I was trying to get the team across the line," the 30-year old said.
Latham also revealed that he had help from his teammates who played for Sunrisers Hyderabad in tackling the raw pace of debutant Umran Malik.
"Yes, he (Umran) was pretty quick. Obviously, everyone was saying that throughout the IPL. Kane and Glenn (Phillips) have seen him at SRH so we had little bit of information," Latham said.
Speaking about India's recovery in the first innings, Latham said: "It was a par-score. We did some good stuff with ball at the start and in the middle overs. They had a couple of cameos that got them over 300-run total."
India will face New Zealand in the second ODI on Sunday at Hamilton.