India rode on half-centuries from Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, and a couple of forties from MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav, to take them to a par 269/6 against New Zealand in the fifth and final One-Day International against New Zealand in Visakhapatnam on Saturday. With the series tied 2-2, both teams are in a must-win situation, playing for the trophy.
Sharma, who had not had a great series before this match, used the platform to regain his form. The Mumbai batsman announced his intent right from the start as he went for his shots. He lost his opening partner Ajinkya Rahane early, but then combined with Virat Kohli for a 50-partnership. The 29-year-old soon brought up his 29th ODI half-century, before he tripped awkwardly while taking a run. He was limping after that, but continued to play on, deciding to take running out of the equation by going for his shots.
On 66, Sharma was dropped by Ross Taylor at short-midwicket, but could not make much use of his second life as he slogged Trent Boult straight down deep midwicket's throat after mistiming a pull. He was finally gone for 70. This brought the Indian captain MS Dhoni out to join his deputy Kohli. The two had put up 151 together in Mohali to help India chase 285 and soon enough, as Dhoni hit his first six of the match straight down the ground, it looked like the Kohli-Dhoni show had started again. However, another 50-partnership later, Dhoni departed for 41. Manish Pandey ended a horrid series with a duck, before Kohli holed out to long-off after scoring 65 as the innings entered the final stretch.
Just like that, India were 220/5 with less than seven overs left, and in real danger of falling short of the par score of 260 in a must-win match. However, Jadhav stepped up to the stage and smacked India to 269 with a flurry of boundaries in the death overs to give his team a good chance of winning the series.
India 269/6 in 50 overs (Rohit Sharma 70, Virat Kohli 65; Ish Sodhi 2/66) vs New Zealand.