WELLINGTON, Feb 3: India claimed their biggest series win on New Zealand soil, overcoming a disastrous start to earn a hard fought 35-run win in the fifth ODI here on Sunday.
India’s Kedar Jadhav celebrates the wicket of New Zealand’s captain Kane Williamson during the final ODI at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, on Sunday. – AP/PTI
The 4-1 scoreline is the best that India have achieved in New Zealand across formats since they started touring the country in 1967.
At 18 for four, India were heading towards another sub-100 total before the middle-order batsmen fought back to post a fighting total of 252. The 98-run stand for the fifth wicket between Ambati Rayudu (90 off 113) and Vijay Shankar (45 off 64) was the highlight of the middle-order fight back.
Hardik Pandya’s 45 off 22 balls also went a long way in India posting a challenging target and his two wickets later on showed why he is such an important member of the team.
New Zealand batsmen, including skipper Kane Williamson (39), squandered their starts in the chase but the home team remained in the contest until Jimmy Neesham (44 off 32) was dismissed in the 37th over.
His freak run out, which was effected by the ever so sharp Mahendra Singh Dhoni from behind the stumps, came after a lbw appeal was turned down. New Zealand eventually ended with 217 in 44.1 overs despite Matt Henry’s unbeaten 17 off 9 in the final overs.
Leggie Yuvzendra Chahal took three timely wickets for India, conceding just 41 runs in 10 overs.
Irrespective of the game’s outcome, Rayudu played one of the most significant knocks of his career and made a compelling claim for a World Cup spot.
At the toss, skipper Rohit Sharma called the eight wicket loss in the previous game ‘humiliating’ and embraced the challenge of batting on a testing surface by opting to bat.
With top-four falling cheaply, it looked Rohit’s brave call backfired but Rayudu and Shankar produced an innings-reviving stand under immense pressure.
Pacer Henry was the standout bowler for the hosts, taking four wickets for 35 runs while Trent Boult picked up three for 39.
After being bowled out for a paltry 92 in the fourth ODI, India had a point to prove.
India: Rohit Sharma b Matt Henry 2, Shikhar Dhawan c Matt Henry b Boult 6, Shubman Gill c Santner b Matt Henry 7, Ambati Rayudu c Munro b Matt Henry 90, MS Dhoni b Boult 1, Vijay Shankar run out (Neesham/Munro) 45, Kedar Jadhav b Matt Henry 34, Hardik Pandya c Boult b Neesham 45, Bhuvneshwar Kumar c Ross Taylor b Boult 6, Mohammed Shami run out (Boult) 1, Yuzvendra Chahal not out 0. Extras: (b 5, lb 7, w 2, nb 1) 15. Total: (All out in 49.5 overs) 252. Fall of wickets: 8-1, 12-2, 17-3, 18-4, 116-5, 190-6, 203-7, 248-8, 252-9, 252-10. Bowling: Matt Henry 10-1-35-4, Trent Boult 9.5-2-39-3, James Neesham 5-0-33-1, Colin de Grandhomme 7-0-33-0, Colin Munro 10-0-47-0, Mitchell Santner 3-0-18-0, Todd Astle 5-0-35-0.
New Zealand: Colin Munro b Shami 24, Henry Nicholls c Kedar Jadhav b Shami 8, Kane Williamson (c) c Dhawan b Kedar Jadhav 39, Ross Taylor lbw b Hardik Pandya 1, Tom Latham (wk) lbw b Chahal 37, James Neesham run out (Dhoni) 44, Colin de Grandhomme lbw b Chahal 11, Mitchell Santner c Shami b Hardik Pandya 22, Todd Astle lbw b Chahal 10, Matt Henry not out 17, Trent Boult c Shami b Bhuvneshwar 1. Extras: (W-3) 3. Total: (All out in 44.1 overs) 217. Fall of wickets: 18-1, 37-2, 38-3, 105-4, 119-5, 135-6, 176-7, 194-8, 204-9, 217-10. Bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 7.1-0-38-1, Mohammed Shami 8-0-35-2, Hardik Pandya 8-1-50-2, Vijay Shankar 4-0-19-0, Yuzvendra Chahal 10-0-41-3, Kedar Jadhav 7-0-34-1. – PTI