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Friday, 31 January 2014

Report: New Zealand vs India, 5th ODI - India Tour NZ


India lost the last game of the one-day series by 87 runs to New Zealand at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington. The New Zealand batting line-up dominated the fifth ODI despite their openers being kept on a tight leash by India’s new-ball bowlers. A solid 152-run stand by Kane Williamson (88) and Ross Taylor (102) helped the hosts seize control of the game after the scratchy start.

James Neesham (34* off 19) provided the finishing touch as the Black Caps set India a formidable 304-run target. Led by debutant Matt Henry’s maiden four-wicket haul and Kyle Mills economical spells finishing with 10-1-35-2, the hosts bowled India out for 216 to claim a 4-0 series win.  

Earlier, MS Dhoni won the toss and opted to bowl first. The pair of Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar started the proceedings on a good note for the visitors until the NZ middle-order came to the party.

Shami had started with a maiden first over to finish with an exceptional first spell (5-3-11-0) and received excellent support from the other end from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Martin Guptill and Jesse Ryder were not allowed to set the stage of fire as the bowlers pegged away around the off-stump area and varied their length.

A superb diving catch by Ajinkya Rahane in the gully region sent Ryder back giving Bhuvneshwar his first scalp of the day. In his next over, the pacer would have also had the wicket of Guptill had Varun Aaron not spilled the offering at mid-on. But the opener only managed to add seven more to his tally before he was caught by Shami at mid-on off Aaron.

However, Williamson-Taylor pair once again stitched together a partnership to wrest the advantage from India and set the platform for a formidable total. They kept the scoreboard ticking when the opportunity presented itself.  Although he missed out on a well deserved century, Williamson displayed a wide range of shots as he out did the India bowlers. He swept, pulled, drove and ran quick singles. During his fluent 91-ball knock he struck eight boundaries and had lofted Shami over long off into the stands before perishing during the batting powerplay.  

Brendon McCullum and Taylor attacked the bowlers during their 50-run partnership as the Black Caps capitalised on the foundation. Brendon who survived earlier, was eventually back in the pavilion after a quick 18-ball 23. James Neesham taking over from his captain went after the Indian bowlers. Taylor who had slog-swept Virat Kohli for his trademark six worked his way to second successive century in the series at the other end. He brought it up with a boundary through mid-wicket before perishing to sweep off the next ball off Shami; Shikhar Dhawan caught the ball in the outfield.

Neesham and Ronchi then added 29 runs off the next two overs to take the team to 303.

Chasing the target, India’s top-order caved in to the Kiwi pace attack. Rohit Sharma was back in the dressing room having edged Kyle Mills to Taylor in the slips for four. And Shikhar Dhawan, who was back in the eleven poked at a Henry delivery and was caught by Nathan McCullum at second slip and left India reeling 20 for two. The pacer had bowled a wicket maiden for his first wicket in the ODIs. Although the hosts missed a couple of tough chances, India’s woes continued. Henry had Ajinkya Rahane leg-before for two.

At 30 for three Ambati Rayudu joined Kohli and while looking to stem the fall of wickets, the duo had a 48-run partnership.

Rayudu (20) was the first to go when a delivery took the edge of his bat and ended in Williamson’s hands. With the partnership broken just as it began to take shape, MS Dhoni made his way to the middle.

Kohli got to his half-century and led the charge against the Kiwis. After having lofted Neesham over long off for six in his innings earlier, he smashed the bowler on the other side after reaching his fifty. A bit later he launched Mitchell McClenaghan into the stands. As they tried to catch up with the increasing run rate and keep India in the hunt, Kohli departed holing out to long on, off Nathan McCullum.

Dhoni was let off by his opposite number as he worked to carry the innings forward with Ravichandran Ashwin. But the lower-order bat lost his bails to Williamson leaving India on 167 for six. Mills who had bowled a stingy first spell (6-1-8-1), returned to claim another wicket. Ravindra Jadeja stepping out to the pacer walked back after taking the aerial route.   

With the asking rate over 18 runs per over, Dhoni who had taken his tally past 8000 runs in the 50-over format, departed while going for the big hit off Williamson. Bhuvneshwar and Shami took India past the 200-run mark.

And while Bhuvneshwar was let off earlier in the over, Ronchi caught him for 20 to hand Henry his fourth wicket. In the following over Neesham bowled Aaron to wrap-up the Indian innings with two balls to spare.

New Zealand 303 for 5 (Taylor 102, Williamson 88) beat India 216 (Kohli 82, Dhoni 47, Henry 4-38) by 87 runs

  • Dhoni: "I think throughout the series, this New Zealand team have played very good cricket. Their new ball bowling has been fantastic but where they have really taken the game away from us has been middle order batting.

    I think they have batted really well throughout.They started off slowly tonight but they kept wickets in hand and continued to build partnerships and knew they could get 80-90 runs near the end. They have done it in every game in this series apart from maybe one match so I think it's the middle overs that have really made us suffer.

    I think it is important to improvise and adapt quickly, that is where we are lacking to some extent but from a talent perspective we have many players who have done well at major events. They just need to play their natural game and their strokes and we have not been doing that as much as we could have done but overall our players have the talent.

    It will be an interesting Test series, it's always good to play the format. It is a bit more of a test of character than anything else. I think it will be good for the players and a decent challenge for them."

  • Brendon McCullum: "It's probably in the time I've played, the best series we have won. To do it in the manner we have done it in is delightful and I think it is something we will hold on to for a very long time.

    We are extremely respectful of how good this India team is and what they have achieved over a period of time, which makes this win mean even more to us. It has certainly been a big series for our side.

    I am very happy with how people have come into the team. You saw how Matt Henry was brought in tonight and he took to it pretty comfortably and he bowled outstandingly well and he got the rewards.

    It's great when you see those new guys do well. We saw Hamish Bennett and the emergence of Corey Anderson and Jimmy Neesham, plus a few of the old hands in the form of Ross Taylor Kyle Mills and Kane Williamson. To operate as a total package and to see the parts that everyone plays, has been one of the most pleasing aspects.

    The pairing of Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson has really helped us see how many runs we can get. I am glad they have done so well and the whole country has enjoyed watching. I just wanted thank all the fans, we haven't always been the most consistent team and I would like to dedicate this win to them."

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