Mount Maunganui: India win third ODI against New Zealand by seven wickets for unassailable 3-0 lead in five-match series.
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma mastered the chase once again after Hardik Pandya made an immediate impact upon his return as India sealed the series in style by registering a seven-wicket win in the third ODI against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui. This is India’s first series victory in New Zealand since 2009.
Pandya registered figures of 2/45 and took a stunning catch to remove Kiwi captain Kane Williamson after being drafted straight into the playing XI upon his return to the squad after being suspended for sexist comments on a TV show.
Winning the toss and electing to bat first, the hosts reached 243 on the back of Ross Taylor’s 93 which was also their highest score in the series so far. India struck early as Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/46) and Mohammed Shami (3/41) removed the openers cheaply.
Taylor and Williamson looked to get the Kiwi innings back on track, putting together a patient 33-run partnership before Yuzvendra Chahal (2/51) accounted for Williamson (28) with the help of some athletic brilliance from Pandya who took a diving catch at mid-wicket.
Tom Latham (51) then joined Taylor and the two tackled the threat of Kuldeep Yadav (0/39) and Chahal by showing applying themselves on the crease. The two put together 119 runs for the fourth wicket but Latham perished soon after reaching his half-century as he looked to up the ante.
Taylor’s innings came to an abrupt end as he edged Shami’s delivery to wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik – who replaced an injured MS Dhoni in the line-up. Taylor faced 106 deliveries for his 93 and hit nine boundaries.
Pandya then removed Henry Nicholls (6) and Mitchell Santner (3) in successive overs as the New Zealand lower-order failed to build on the platform provided by Taylor and Latham.
Set 244 to win, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma started aggressively before Trent Boult (2/40) removed in-form Dhawan for 28 as he edged one straight to Taylor at first slip. The left-hander struck six boundaries during his short stay at the crease.
Skipper Kohli joined Rohit in the middle and the two stitched together a 113-run partnership to take the game away from the hosts.
It looked like another walk in the park when the two were batting but both departed in quick succession to give New Zealand some sort of hope. Santner had Rohit stumped, beating him in flight as he departed for 62 while going for an ugly heave straight down the ground. His innings included three boundaries and two maximums.
Kohli departed for 60, playing a rare false shot straight to Nicholls at cover off Boult’s bowling. He hit six fours and one six in his last match of the tour. However, Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu then got together an unbeaten 77-run partnership to ensure no further hiccups for India in the chase. They remained unbeaten on 38 and 40 respectively. This was the third 50+ stand for the fourth wicket in the last four ODIs for India, providing them bit of a solution for their middle-order woes.
Karthik again made the most of his opportunity, hitting five boundaries and one six while Rayudu looked more aggressive than usual, registering the same amount of fours and maximum.
Except Boult, none of the Kiwi bowlers looked threatening enough. Santner (1/45) was the only other bowler who picked a wicket. With the series now sealed, India will be looking for a clean sweep and also give opportunity to the likes of Shubhman Gill and Khaleel Ahmed waiting in the wings. The fourth ODI will be played in Hamilton on Thursday.