Team India kept their winning record against the Kiwis intact as home as the Men in Blue won a nail-biting thriller at the Green Park in Kanpur to win the three-match series by a 2-1 margin. Courtesy brilliant centuries from Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, India posted a total of 337 in their 50 overs. While Rohit scored 147, Kohli was dismissed on 114.
It was a sensational batting display by the visitors as they ran India perilously close courtesy brilliant knocks by Colin Munro, Kane Williamson and Tom Latham. The trio struck magnificent half-centuries but it wasn’t enough for the Kiwis in the end as Jasprit Bumrah, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled a sensational final four overs to help India win the encounter by six runs.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to bowl. The Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan walked out in the middle. Both began fluently and struck some gorgeous shots, to begin with. Dhawan came dancing down the track and smashed Tim Southee through the cover region for a beautiful boundary to start off proceedings. Rohit Sharma also looked in good touch.
At the score of 14, Dhawan was dismissed off the bowling of Southee as he attempted an expansive drive over the cover region. It struck him higher on the bat, and he wasn’t able to get the power which he would have liked. Kane Williamson stationed at the mid on region completed an easy catch. From there on it was a sensational partnership between Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli which took India to a comfortable position.
After missing out in the first two encounters, Rohit Sharma was determined to make a big score. He paced his innings to perfection and took the occasional risks when required. He toyed with the Kiwis bowling attack, and along with Kohli, the home team was looking set to put up a huge total. Like most of the days, the short arm pull was one of the most productive shits during his superb knock.
Kohli, on the other hand, was also looking in great touch which helped India score at a reasonable pace. Both batsmen started taking on the Kiwis bowlers after the 35th over mark as the visitors were left scratching their head. Rohit Sharma completed his 15th ODI century and immediately after completing his century he was unstoppable.
He started finding the gaps on a consistent basis and all of a sudden India was looking at score beyond 350. In the meantime, Kohli also continued his purple patch and went on to smash his 32nd ODI century of his career. Rohit Sharma was finally dismissed after scoring a brilliant 147 of 138 deliveries, an innings which was studded with 18 fours and a couple of hits over the fence.
Kohli also headed back to the pavilion soon after completing his century as India failed to cross the 350 mark. Courtesy few good shots by MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav towards the last half of the innings, India reached a total of 337 at the end of their 50 overs.
Chasing the relatively significant total for a series decider, New Zealand began impressively as openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro started taking on the Indian bowlers from the outset. It was Munro who took Bhuvneshwar Kumar to the cleaners in the first powerplay and smashed a couple of big sixes over the square leg region.
Meanwhile, Jasprit Bumrah gave India the maiden breakthrough when Guptill mistimed a full length slower delivery straight to the cover fielders. It was a much-needed breakthrough for the home team. Skipper Kane Williamson joined Munro in the middle, and the duo carried on the good work and started scoring freely.
Munro didn’t stop his attacking instincts and continued scoring at a brisk pace. He was eventually dismissed on 75 when Yuzvendra Chahal breached his defence with a brilliant leg break. Williamson too headed back to the pavilion soon after as Chahal yet again bamboozled him with a well-flighted leg break. It went up in the air, and MS Dhoni completed an easy catch.
The match winners from the opening encounter Tom Latham and Ross Taylor started rebuilding the innings. Both played sensibly and struck the boundaries whenever the pressure mounted. Latham looked in terrific touch and struck some delightful shots, and Ross Taylor barring a few lucky breaks started gaining in confidence and started finding the boundaries on a consistent basis. After a brilliant 79 runs stand, it was Bumrah who foxed Taylor with a lethal slower delivery which took off after pitching. Kedar Jadhav stationed in the point region completed a straightforward catch.
Henry Nicholls joined Latham in the middle, and the duo found the boundaries consistently to get the required rate down to less than ten runs per over. The duo shared a quickfire 59 runs stand as the scales shifted in favour of the visitors. They required less than nine runs per over from the last four overs, and the match was well within their grasp.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar who had a poor day till then produced a magical over where he breached through the defence of Henry Nicholls and conceded only five runs. Bumrah kept up the pressure and bowled a brilliant 48th over as the Kiwis required 25 to win from the last two. Bhuvneshwar Kumar conceded a six in the penultimate over but held his nerves to restrict the batsmen to only ten runs.
With 15 required of the final over, Bumrah was handed the final over. Again, he was at his imperious best bowling the Yorkers and slower deliveries to perfection. India eventually clinched the match by six runs and with that the series by a 2-1 margin.
After the win, Sachin Tendulkar too took to Twitter to express his feelings on a nail-biting finish that was on display in Kanpur.
Here’s Sachin’s tweet:
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) October 29, 2017