Centuries from openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill followed by three-wicket hauls from Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep Yadav help India defeat New Zealand by 90 runs in the third and final ODI of the series at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on Tuesday (January 24). With this win, Men in Blue blanked New Zealand in the three-match ODI series 3-0 and became the number one team in the format. Shardul and Kuldeep both bagged three-wicket while Yuzvendra Chahal claimed two conceding 43 runs. Devon Conway was the highest run scorer for New Zealand with a blistering knock of 138 runs off 100 balls.
Defending 386 runs, India gave New Zealand a big blow as Hardik Pandya bowled Finn Allen on the second ball of the first over. Despite losing Allen in the very first over of the innings did not stop Devon Conway from slamming Indian bowlers all around the ground as the New Zealand opener kept scoring boundaries at regular intervals. Henry Nicholls joined hands with Conway to keep the visitors in a hunt for steady runs chase. The duo of Nicholls and Conway took their team`s total beyond 100 runs in the 15th over of second innings.
The duo also stitched up the 100-run partnership, however, the stand was broken by Kuldeep Yadav who dismissed Nicholls after scoring 42 off 40 deliveries. Conway looked in supreme touch and raced to his century in 71 balls to keep New Zealand alive in the chase in the 24th over. Captain Rohit Sharma then brought Shardul Thakur back into the attack and the pacer gave New Zealand two back-to-back blows. Shardul dismissed Daryl Mitchell for 24 then he improved his delivery and removed Tom Latham.
In the 28th over of the innings, Thakur provided India with another wicket as he sent new batter Glenn Phillips packing after scoring just 5 runs. After losing five-wicket, Conway kept hitting Indian bowlers all around the ground with batter Michael Bracewell. A terrific inning of 138 in just 100 balls with 12 fours and 8 sixes by Devon Conway came to an end as Umran Malik dismissed him in the 32nd over of the innings. New batter Mitchell Santner then came out to bat. In the 37th over of the innings, Kuldeep dismissed a dangerous batter Michael Bracewell for 26 runs off 22 deliveries, leaving the visitors tottering at 269/ 7.
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Lockie Ferguson fell prey to Kuldeep`s sharp delivery in the 39th over of the game. In the next over Yuzvendra Chahal bagged his first wicket of the match, dismissing Jacob Duffy. Santner hammered Kuldeep for 15 runs but his hard-hitting was cut short by Chahal in the 42nd over of the innings to clinch the match by 90 runs and ODI series 3-0 against Kiwis.
Earlier, centuries from openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill and a half-century from all-rounder Hardik Pandya guided India to a massive total of 385/9 in 50 overs. Put to bat first by New Zealand, India got off to a fantastic start.
Openers Shubman Gill and skipper Rohit Sharma showed no mercy on Kiwi bowlers and scored with attacking intent from the word go. Gill smashed pacer Lockie Ferguson for 22 runs in the eighth over which included four boundaries and a six. India crossed the 50-run mark in 7.4 overs.
At the end of the first 10 overs and the mandatory powerplay, India were 82/0, with Rohit (39*) and Gill (41*). Gill brought up his sixth ODI fifty in just 33 balls with a wristy whip to Mitchell Santner in the 12th over. Rohit also brought up his 49th ODI fifty with a huge six on Santner`s delivery in the 14th over in 41 balls. The batters continued to feast on Kiwi bowlers.
India reached the 100-run mark in 12.4 overs, without losing a wicket, crossed the 150-run mark in 17.5 overs and touched 200-run mark in 24.1 overs. Rohit looked in supreme touch and brought up his 30th ODI ton, his first since January 2020 in the 50-over format in just 83 balls. Gill also reached his fourth ODI ton in just 72 balls, hitting Blair Tickner for a four.
Virat Kohli congratulated Rohit Sharma while entering the ground.
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All-rounder Michael Bracewell delivered the breakthrough for Kiwis, ending the 222-run stand between the openers. Rohit was dismissed for 101 of 85 balls, with nine fours and six sixes. In the very next over, Tickner dismissed Gill for a well-made 112 of 78 balls, with 13 fours and five sixes. India were 230/2 at this point.
Virat Kohli and Ishan Kishan were the fresh pair on the crease. Both continued with the attacking gameplay exhibited by the openers. India reached the 250-run mark in 32 overs. The 38-run stand between the duo ended after Kishan was run out after a horrible mix-up. He had made 17 of 24 balls. Virat Kohli was joined by Suryakumar Yadav.
Kiwis continued making a comeback in the match as Virat was dismissed for 36 of 27 balls after Finn Allen caught him at mid-off. India were 284/4.Duffy got his second wicket of the match after Suryakumar holed the ball to long-on, caught by Devon Conway. Suryakumar was dismissed for 14 of nine balls, which came with two sixes. Half of the Indian side was back in the hut for 293 runs.
India reached the 300-run mark in 40.3 overs. Tickner got his second wicket of the match, dismissing Washington Sundar for just nine runs and India were six down for 313 runs. A partnership between Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur led to an uptick in the scoring rate. They formed a quick fifty-run stand.The 54-run stand between them was over after Thakur was caught by wicketkeeper Tom Latham while attempting a scoop shot.
India were 367/7. Pandya continued with his exploits, unfazed by Thakur`s dismissal. He brought up his ninth ODI half-century in 36 balls, with two fours and three sixes. He got out for 54 of 37 balls after he was caught by Conway. India were 379/8 and finished the innings at 385/9 in their 50 overs. Tickner (3/76) was the pick of the bowlers for the Kiwis. Jacob Duffy also took 3 wickets but went for 100 runs in his 10 overs. Bracewell also took a wicket.
Brief Scores: India: 385/9 in 50 overs (Shubman Gill 112, Rohit Sharma 101, Blair Tickner 3/76) against New Zealand 295 (Devon Conway 138, Henry Nicholls 42; Shardul Thakur 3-45). (With ANI inputs)