New Zealand's dream of winning its first-ever One-Day series in India went up in smoke as a dream spell from leg-spinner Amit Mishra (6-2-18-5) for the home team triggered off an early Diwali celebration at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Stadium here on Saturday night.
Chasing 270, the Black Caps were never really in the hunt as they were bundled out for 79 in 23.1 overs, handing the M. S. Dhoni-led team a 190-run win.
It all started with pacer Umesh Yadav cleaning up opener Martin Guptill with the fourth ball of the innings — a delivery which had him squared and clueless.
From the other end, pacer Jasprit Bumrah saw southpaw Tom Latham surprised by low bounce as he went for the flick only to give a simple catch to mid-on.
It was a situation which merited two of the best New Zealand batsmen - captain Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor - to come good. But, they were done in by the guile of the spin duo of left-armer Axar Patel and leggie, Mishra.
First, Axar induced the Kiwi captain to hit to the deep to see Kedar Jadhav take a fine running catch to his left at long-off.
Then, Mishra struck a double blow in the 16th over when he forced a struggling Taylor to nick to wicketkeeper Dhoni – trying to run one down to the third man. Then, he left B. J. Watling flummoxed with a googly to leave the Kiwis in dire straits at 66 for five in the 16th over.
After that, it was only a question of time before India wrapped up the contest and the series in style. Even debutant Jayant Yadav came to the party, picking a wicket with his gentle off-breaks.
Rohit, Kohli shine
Earlier, batting first for the first time in this series, after winning the toss, India was off to a slow start, scoring 45 for one in 10 overs – losing Ajinkya Rahane cheaply in the 10th over.
However, the classy Rohit Sharma rediscovered his form. Though slow to start, scoring five runs off the first 21 balls, he compiled a stroke-filled 70, laced with his trademark strokes on either side of the wicket.
The way he stood up to hit a six each off pacers Tim Southee, James Neesham and leggie Ish Sodhi were ominous signs of Rohit’s ability to handle pace and spin with ease.
But, Rohit suffered cramps on 46, which hampered his movements later on. With restricted footwork, Rohit perished soon — mistiming a pull stroke of a bouncer from left-arm pacer Trent Boult after putting on 79 runs off 78 balls for the second wicket with Virat Kohli.
The advent of captain Dhoni at No. 4 was what the situation demanded, and the crowd loved it. Virat, who was content till then in rotating the strike, took a more aggressive mantle soon.
A 71-run stand off 93 balls between Kohli and Dhoni for the third wicket was broken, when it was threatening to take the innings to dangerous proportions, as the latter was trapped leg-before, trying to sweep left-arm spinner, Mitchell Santner.
Soon, Manish Pandey failed to grab the huge opportunity to come up with a big score by heaving one against the spin from Sodhi straight to the deep fielder to leave India at 195 for four in 38.4 overs.
The focus was again back on Kohli, who earlier saw bowler Sodhi fail to latch on to a difficult return catch when on eight. And he responded in style with a responsible half-century, sans flamboyance.
Towards the end, Kedar Jadhav came up with a useful knock to ensure a far more challenging score.
The Kiwis bowling on a slow pitch was pretty disciplined with Santner picking up wickets in the crucial middle-overs even as Sodhi was more expensive in picking two wickets.
At the start, pacer Tim Southee was fast and precise, mixing the slower ones to good effect with left-armer Trent Boult proving to be a perfect foil.
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