India vs New Zealand 3rd ODI: After producing another impeccable bowling performance, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli slam fifties as India chased down the target of 244 with ridiculous ease to win the third ODI in Mount Maunganui by 7 wickets. With this dominating victory, the Indian team has taken an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match ODI series. (India vs New Zealand 3rd ODI: Highlights)
This is also India’s second ODI series win against New Zealand in the Kiwi land after 3-1 win in 2009 under the leadership of MS Dhoni. For his incisive spell of fast bowling, Mohammed Shami (3/41) bagged the ‘Man of the Match’ award, this is his second MoM of the series. It would not be wrong to say that Shami had sealed the third seamer’s spot for the World Cup with a sterling show in white-ball cricket so far. (SCORECARD)
Rohit scored a fine 62 off 77 balls while Kohli made 60 off 74 balls – the pair added 113 for the second wicket.
On the other hand, New Zealand would be thoroughly disappointed with their performance in the series so far. They had batted and bowled poorly in Napier and the pattern continued in Mount Maunganui on Saturday. Captain Kane Williamson would have expected his men to bounce back strongly with the series on the line but barring Ross Taylor (93) and Tom Latham (51), the batsmen showed no fight.
It was a complete team effort after the bowlers shot New Zealand out for 243 in 49 overs with all-rounder Hardik Pandya (2/45 in 10 overs) making his presence felt with the ball as well as on the field. Pandya was playing his first match after the suspension on him for sexist remarks on a TV show was lifted.
Team India openers – Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan began aggressively and added 39 for the opening wicket before Dhawan fell to Trent Boult for 28. Kohli then joined Rohit in the middle as India marched towards their second successive series win this year. Once Dhawan (28, 6×4) was dismissed, caught in the slips off Boult, Rohit, who till then went slow, finally opened up. He signalled his intentions with a straight six off Mitchell Santner.
Kohli, at the other end, punched Lockie Ferguson through the point and then hit Ish Sodhi for two boundaries. The first was a top spinner that was pulled in the mid-wicket region while the next was a wrong ‘un on the fifth stump which he cut for another boundary.
Rohit, who has treated Ferguson with a lot of disdain, than hit a front-foot pull off the bowler for his second six. His skipper also got a six off Ferguson even though he was not in complete control as the ball flew off the top edge. Rohit, who now has 39 half-centuries, was stumped off Santner’s bowling when he tried to go for an ugly hoick. His innings had three boundaries and two sixes.
Kohli, who now has 49 half-centuries in ODIs, also hit six fours apart from the six off Ferguson. Just when a 40th ODI ton was looking imminent, Kohli’s uppish drive off Boult failed to clear Henry Nicholls at extra cover.
However, Dinesh Karthik (38, 38 balls) and Ambati Rayudu (40, 42 balls) did their cause no harm with an unbroken 77-run stand for the fourth wicket to steer the team home.
Earlier, during New Zealand innings, Pandya seemed unfazed by the tribulations of the past few weeks and made a significant contribution to India’s impressive bowling effort. Pandya delivered figures of two for 45 in 10 overs and choked the run flow during the middle overs. Skipper Kohli’s stand on the kind of balance that the Baroda all-rounder brings to the side stood vindicated during another controlled bowling effort by the visitors.
Save the 119-run fourth wicket stand between Ross Taylor (93 off 106 balls) and Tom Latham (51 off 64 balls), New Zealand couldn’t really accelerate against the Indian attack on a pitch that was a touch slower compared to the second ODI.