Rohit Sharma's 39th fifty and his 113-run stand with Virat Kohli, who also hit a fifty gave India yet another clinical win over New Zealand. (Image credit: Twitter)
After conquering Australia, Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team has destroyed New Zealand in style. Rohit Sharma’s 39th fifty, the skipper’s 49th fifty and yet another clinical performance by the bowlers gave the Indian cricket team a thumping seven-wicket win in the third ODI at The Bay Oval against New Zealand on Monday. The win ensured an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series and it gave India their first series win in New Zealand since 2009. In 2014, India was undone by some inspired performances from New Zealand’s batsmen and bowlers as they were hammered 0-4. Five years later, New Zealand was at the receiving end of yet another display of clinical batting and bowling from a side that is on top in all departments.
New Zealand chose to bat while Kohli made two changes. MS Dhoni was rested after he was diagnosed with a sore hamstring while Hardik Pandya, who was suspended for his comments on the show Koffee With Karan, was included in place of Vijay Shankar. Martin Guptill and Colin Munro, who have often provided fast starts to the team in the powerplay stages have struggled in this series. The failures of Guptill and Munro at the top have put pressure on the rest of the New Zealand batting, who have struggled for momentum.
Mohammed Shami should have had Munro but Dinesh Karthik spilled the chance but the bowler had the last laugh, luring the left-hander into the drive and edging to Rohit at slip. Guptill slammed a six and four off Bhuvneshwar but he drove at a full ball and edged to Karthik who made no mistake. Williamson, the skipper, looked good and he set about rebuilding the innings with Ross Taylor. However, on 28, Williamson danced down the track to Yuzvendra Chahal to whip it to midwicket but Pandya, on return, dived to his left to take a stunning catch.
Taylor, who had gotten starts in Napier and in the previous game, dug in and he got good support from Tom Latham. After being troubled by Pandya and Shami’s bouncer barrage and by the guile of Chahal, both batsmen made confident progress. Taylor cracked two fours off Pandya and notched up his 46th fifty with two fours off Kedar Jadhav. Latham grew in confidence and slogged Chahal for a six over long leg but the partnership of 119 was broken when Latham (51) holed out to deep midwicket.
The partnership ended at the wrong time as New Zealand struggled for death overs momentum. Pandya got rid of Mitchell Santner (3) and Henry Nicholls (6) while Shami ensured Taylor (93) would not get to his century as he steered a length ball to Karthik. New Zealand failed to bat out the 50 overs and they were bowled out for 243.
India too strong
In response, Dhawan and Rohit started brilliantly and the run-rate was over six. However, Dhawan (28) played a loose shot to be caught by Taylor at slip off Trent Boult. From that point on, it was one-way traffic. Rohit and Kohli found the gaps on a regular basis and New Zealand ran out of ideas. Rohit launched Santner over deep midwicket and Kohli got going with two boundaries off Ish Sodhi. The partnership between the duo went past 100, the 16th time they had achieved this feat. Rohit and Kohli notched up their 39th and 49th fifty respectively but Santner broke the stand as Rohit fell for 62, stumped only for the second time in his career.
New Zealand had some hope when Kohli drove a full ball from Boult to Nicholls at cover but Karthik and Rayudu ensured there would be no further hiccups as they steered India to a comprehensive win. It was the ideal way for Kohli to end his sojourn in the Southern Hemisphere and India will now be aiming to dish out more pain to New Zealand.