New Delhi: In a nail-biting game, India defeated New Zealand by 6 runs in the third and final ODI to win the series 2-1. Hosts, who lost the first match of the series, bounced back and won two straight games to upset the Black Caps.
New Zealand, who came out to chase the target of 338, started on a positive note as the openers Colin Munro and Martin Guptill provide a good start to the visitors. Munro made his intentions clear when he thrashed 18 runs in the first over of the innings, bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
However, India picked up an early wicket by removing Guptill in the sixth over to put pressure back on the visitors. Later, Kane Williamson and Munro smashed a half-century each and built up a solid partnership of 109 off 105 balls.
The pair batted with supreme confidence on a flat surface, especially Munro who was not afraid to switch hit and charge down against the spinners. It was also a knock of substance from Williamson, who had not fired in the series until tonight.
The two had taken New Zealand to 152 for one in 24 overs before under pressure India bounced back in the match with Yuzvendra Chahal removing the set batsmen. Their fall stopped the run flow and the required run rate per over went beyond eight, leaving the heroes of Mumbai Ross Taylor and Tom Latham a lot to do.
They batted well, completing a 79-run partnership off 69 balls with their team needing 91 off the last 10 overs.
Latham carried on and played flawlessly to take his team to the brink of victory alongside Henry Nicholls before nerves got the better of them during the business end of the innings.
The target was imposing but New Zealand fought gamely through Colin Munro (75 off 62), Kane Williamson (64 off 84) and Tom Latham (65 off 52) before being restricted to 331 for 7 in the wake of some fine death bowling by Jasprit Bumrah.
For the better part of the match, Indian bowlers dished out an ordinary bowling performance but bounced back when it mattered the most — in the final three overs.
Required to defend 15 runs in the final over, ‘King of Death’ Bumrah (3/47 in 10 overs) delivered yet again and conceded only eight runs in the 50th over. More importantly, he bowled an astounding 32 dot balls in his 10-over spell.
Overall, pacer Bumrah scalped three wickets, leg-spinner Chahal took two wickets and Bhuvneshwar, who had an off day as he leaked 92 runs from his 10 overs, picked up one wicket.
Earlier, sent into bat, India scored 337 for six in the series-deciding third and final ODI. It was brilliant tons from opener Rohit Sharma (147) and skipper Virat Kohli (113) which helped the hosts post a challenging total.
Rohit struck his 15th century in ODIs, fifth of this year and first against New Zealand, while Kohli slammed his 32nd ton and fifth against the visitors to help India score the highest total in 15 ODIs at Kanpur. The previous was 303 by South Africa against India in 2015.
Also, it was also Kohli’s sixth century in 2017, the most by a captain in a year. Previously, Sourav Ganguly (2000), Australia’s Ricky Ponting (2003, 2007), South Africa’s Graeme Smith (2005) and AB de Villiers (2015) struck five.
For New Zealand, pacer Tim Southee, Adam Milne and spinner Mitchell Santner scalped two wickets each. (With Wires inputs)