India v New Zealand | India beat New Zealand in nail-biting finish to win series 2-1

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India v New Zealand | India beat New Zealand in nail-biting finish to win series 2-1

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SportsCafe Desk


India squeezed out a last-over win from New Zealand’s grasp as some magnificent death bowling by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah saw the hosts restrict the Kiwis to 331. Earlier, India had posted a massive target of 338 runs with both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli hitting centuries.

Brief scores: India 337/6 in 50 overs (Rohit Sharma 147, Virat Kohli 113; Tim Southee 66/2, Mitchell Santner 58/2 ) beat New Zealand 331/7 (Colin Munro 75, Tom Latham 65; Jasprit Bumrah 47/3, Yuzvendra Chahal 47/2) by Seven runs.

New Zealand opted to bat first and India skipper Virat Kohli admitted that with the dew factor coming in as the game aged, batting second was the prudent option. However, with both the teams remaining unchanged India knew that the better team will take home the series on a grassy Kanpur pitch.

Rohit Sharma’s fifty gives India strong start after an early wicket

The Kiwis have been at their clinical best in terms of bowling in this series and the duo of Tim Southee and Trent Boult stuck to their plan of bowling wicket-to-wicket on a track that offered very little seam. The discipline paid off as Shikhar Dhawan mistimed his shot on a good length ball giving a catch to Kane Williamson at the midwicket and India got reduced to 29/1 in the seventh over. India’s batsmen have been largely opportunistic since the beginning and opened hands only at the loose balls. With Virat Kohli joining Rohit Sharma at the crease, the plan bore fruition as runs kept coming with occasional boundaries. Left-arm orthodox bowler Mitchell Santner was introduced in the 14th over after the batting duo rendered the pace attack ineffective, but it helped New Zealand very little. Rohit Sharma brought up his 35th ODI fifty in the 17th over, which was soon followed by India’s 100-run in the 19th over. The hosts propelled to a decent score of 134/1 at the end of the 25th over with the batsmen looking unstoppable.

Sublime Rohit and magnificent Kohli help India put up a huge target

The Kanpur crowd were in for a treat for the eye as Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma hit New Zealand all over the ground with some impeccable shots. The nascent and cautioned partnership had now developed into an adventurous and ruthless one, and Williamson’s hope for a break with desperate bowling changes hardly mattered. Their confidence truly reflected in the 36th over when Kohli and Sharma hit Boult for four boundaries taking 17 off the over. Rohit Sharma brought on his 15th ODI ton and first against the Kiwis in the 33rd over, before he gave into fatigue and lost his wicket to Southee just three runs short of 150. Virat Kohli’s supporting innings had matured into an explosive one by now and the skipper brought on his 32nd ODI ton in the 44th over, which is also his second of the series. As India were setting sight on a massive target, they lost its third wicket in Hardik Pandya, who gave away his catch to Southee at the long-off, reducing India to 273-3. Kohli soon made way to the pavilion before MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav helped India reach a decent 336 runs which is the highest total at the Green Park till date.

Munro and Williamson stand tall to give Kiwis an assuring start

With the pitch offering very little movement, Bhuvneshwar Kumar struggled to find his last game’s mojo as New Zealand started the chase robustly with Colin Munro leading the charge with his explosives. The Kiwis weren’t planning on a safe start and the first three overs reflected it when Munro and Guptill hit four boundaries and a six. Jasprit Bumrah was the only bowler to get some purchase and his disciplined length bowling eventually paid off when he dismissed Guptill in the sixth over claiming his 50th ODI wicket and reducing New Zealand to 44/1. Pace gave way to spin soon as Axar Patel and Jadhav came in, and although it checked runs, none got the wicket as Munro soon brought up his fifty in the 14th over. Skipper Kane Williamson had ripened his hands by then and also reached his half-century in the 22nd over with an elegant boundary off Jadhav’s ball. Their 100-run stand came on in the 24th over and as the game had started to reek of New Zealand’s win at Wankhede, and then Yuzvendra Chahal scalped off Munro’s stumps with a magical leggie reducing the Kiwis to 154-2 at the halfway mark.

Bumrah and Bhuvi diffuse Latham heroics to give India a brilliant win

Though Kane Williamson soon followed Colin Munro’s path by giving away an easy catch to MS Dhoni, Ross Taylor and Tom Latham haled the mast steady with quick singles. Though the run rate decreased in the middle overs, New Zealand had wickets in hand to finish the chase and the duo brought up the 200-run mark in the 34th over. However, just when things looked straightforward for the Kiwis, in came Jasprit Bumrah to dismiss Taylor, who misjudged his slower bouncer delivery and gave away an easy catch to Jadhav at backward point. With 90 needed of the last 10 overs, Taylor’s wicket didn’t change things much for New Zealand as Henry Nicholls came in. Latham brought up his fifty in the 43rd over with another of his trademark sweep shot off Chahal’s delivery keeping his side very much in the game. However, Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah came back with some brilliant spells at the death overs, dismissing Nicholls immediately and the dot ball pressure ended up taking out Latham after a mix up with Colin de Grandhomme. Though Santner took the game to the last over with 15 to get off it, Bumrah remained invincible on the day giving just eight runs of the last over.

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