India overcame a disastrous start to earn a hard fought 35-run win over New Zealand in the fifth One-day International on Sunday to finish the series with a 4-1 scoreline in their favour, proving the heavy loss at Hamilton was an aberration.
as India eventually ended up with a fighting 252. Hardik Pandya’s 45 off 22 balls also went a long way in India posting a challenging target, and his two wickets with the ball showed why he is such an important member of the team.
New Zealand batsmen, including skipper Kane Williamson (39), squandered their starts in the chase but the home team remained in the contest until Jimmy Neesham (44 off 32) was dismissed in the 37th over. His freakish run out, which was effected by the ever-so-sharp MS Dhoni from behind the stumps, came after a lbw appeal was turned down.
New Zealand eventually ended with 217 in 44.1 overs despite Matt Henry’s unbeaten 17 off 9 in the final overs. Leg spinner Yuvzendra Chahal took three timely wickets for India, conceding just 41 runs in 10 overs.
Irrespective of the game’s outcome, Rayudu played one of the most significant knocks of his career and made a compelling claim for a World Cup spot. That his innings came when India were staring at another batting collapse made it all the more crucial.
One of the highlights of the match was Pandya hitting three consecutive sixes in an over off Todd Astle and that’s not the first time he had done it in his career, either.
New Zealand don’t often lose a series at home and that underlined how impressive India were through the last couple of weeks.
Here are some other statistical highlights from the game, including the end of a unique streak for Rohit Sharma:
(With PTI inputs)