Rohit Sharma marked the 10th anniversary of his elevation to India’s regular opener in ODIs with his first ODI hundred in three years. Shubman Gill continued his sizzling hot form to notch yet another hundred. And Devon Conway joined the party later in the evening.
Still, it was a brilliant spell by Shardul Thakur that stood on amongst an expected run-feast at the Holkar Stadium. Shardul’s decisive spell in the middle over resulted in India registering a 3-0 whitewash with a 90-run win.
When Shardul was reintroduced into the attack after the 25th over, Conway was on fire. Yuzvendra Chahal, having replaced Mohammed Siraj who was rested along with Mohammed Shami, was repeatedly despatched into the stands. Umran Malik’s pace was comfortably negotiated for a boundary spree.
And at 184 for two at the midway stage, New Zealand was on course of overhauling a target of 386. Then came Shardul and surprised Daryl Mitchell with a short ball right away that kissed his glove, en route Ishan Kishan, who had earlier missed a stumping chance off Chahal when Conway was on 58.
Next up was a knuckle ball that captain Tom Latham scooped to Hardik Pandya at mid-off. While Glenn Phillips saved the hat-trick, he to-edged a cross-seam delivery in Thakur’s next over for Kohli to complete the skier walking in from midwicket.
The 10 balls had swung the game in India’s favour before Malik delivered the knockout punch by rushing Conway into a pull straight to Rohit at midwicket.
Earlier in the afternoon, Latham surprisingly opted to field first on a batting paradise. The India captain and Shubman ensured the Kiwis paid a hefty price for their decision-making mistake.
Barring Lockie Ferguson, unarguably the pick of the Black Caps pace pack, no other bowler could contain an on-song Indian opening pair. While Rohit rode on aerial hits, Shubman found gaps through a quick outfield at will.
Rohit’s flat six straight over Mitchell Santner’s head to bring up his fifty was a delight to watch but it was Shubman whose lofted cover drive off offie Michael Bracewell for a one-bounced four in the 23rd over that turned out to be the highlight of the duo’s jugalbandi.
Both the openers completed their hundreds in the 26th over, in Blair Tickner’s second spell. With the partnership having crossed 400, the signs were ominous for New Zealand. Bracewell then gave the breakthrough with Rohit missing a wild heave and the ball crashed into the stumps.
Despite the middle-order continuing to score freely, the wickets kept tumbling frequently as India found itself in a touch of bother at 313 for six in the 43rd. Hardik Pandya then found an ally in Shardul Thakur as their cameos helped India cross the 380-mark.