VIZAG: The Indian Cricket team has on Saturday registered its first major ODI series win since 2014 by crushing New Zealand in the final ODI of the five-match series in Visakhapatnam. The series win for India came without breaking a sweat, as the New Zealand batting unit collapsed for just 79 runs while chasing a total of 270. The last eight wickets of the New Zealand batting unit fell after scoring a collective total of just 16 runs!
The sudden collapse of the New Zealand batting also surprised the Indian fans, who expected a fierce battle between the two teams in the series decider. However, it was a rather one-sided war in the second innings when New Zealand came to bat.
Having won the crucial toss of the final ODI, Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni chose to bat first taking a note of the slower Vizag pitch. Seeing how the match turned around, one cannot under credit the role played by the toss in deciding the fate of the match played on a slow pitch.
At first, the Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane struggled to establish themselves as the ball did not come onto the bat properly. The duo took the time to settle down as they scored the slowest start of the ODI series with just 45 runs in 10 overs. Though Rahane tried to get aggressive by scoring boundaries now and then, he perished in the 10th over with an individual score 20 off 39 balls. With Virat Kohli (65) pairing up, Rohit Sharma (70) played his aggressive shots which was undoubtedly a crucial knock at the right time for the Indian team. MS Dhoni (41) joined Kohli, after Rohit fell to Trent Boult in the 22nd over.
Though the Virat and Dhoni pair played at a slow pace, they made sure that the scoreboard kept ticking with a healthy run-rate. Just when MS Dhoni started to free himself by knocking back to back boundaries, Santner sent the Indian skipper back to pavilion catching him leg-before. At the end, Kedhar Jadhav (39) and Axar Patel (24) added crucial runs in the slog overs to take team India’s total to 269/6 in 50 overs.
In reply, though the New Zealanders lost their prime batsman Martin Guptill for a duck (second time in the series), both Tom Latham (19) and skipper Kane Williamson (27) made sure that they did not lose wickets. Everything looked fine for New Zealand till spinner Axar Patel got Williamson for a catch to Kedhar Jadhav in the mid-on with an excellent delivery. Williamson was followed by his teammates with a collective total of just 16 runs.
Leg-spinner Mishra rattled the New Zealand’s middle and lower-order with an outstanding bowling figure of 5/18. Out of the six overs he bowled, two were maidens!. The 33-year old leg-spinner was awarded both Man of the Match and Man of the Series awards for his exceptional performances throughout the series with 15 wickets.
India won the five-match series 3-2, by winning the fifth and the final ODI against New Zealand in Visakhapatnam by 190 runs.