Mitchell Santner and Daryl Mitchell claimed two wickets each, while Scott Kuggeleijn and Blair Tickner chipped in with a piece each as hosts New Zealand restricted the touring side India to 208 runs for the loss of six wickets in the run-chase of 213 runs.
To support the Hitman, Rishabh Pant came out to share the crease. However, the wicketkeeper could not build a solid much-needed partnership and returned for 28, which opened the flurry of Indian wickets. Dhawan fell for 38 in the very next over.
Having required 16 runs off last over, Dinesh Karthik and Krunal Pandya displayed their cameo but could not seal the series-decider match for India. Karthik and Pandya remained unbeaten on 33 and 26, respectively.
Earlier, New Zealand exploited the batting-friendly conditions and posted an imposing 212 runs for the loss of four.
Opener Colin Munro, who was adjudged Man of the Match, smashed a 40-ball 62 and shared an 80-run partnership with Tim Seifirt to lay the foundation for a big total after the Indian captain opted to bowl.
For India, left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya was the most expensive bowler as he conceived 54 runs. Meanwhile, Kuldeep Yadav picked up two wickets, while Khaleel Ahmed and Bhuvneshwar Kumar took a piece each.
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