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By Abhijit Banare
Jan 28, 2014
Ross Taylor‘s unbeaten ninth One-Day International hundred helped New Zealand seal the series against India with a seven-wicket win at Hamilton on Tuesday. Taylor score 112 runs and shared a 130-run third wicket partnership with Kane Williamson (60) to set the platform for the victory. Chasing a tricky target of 279, New Zealand got there with 11 balls to spare. This is Taylor’s highest score against India.
There was not much to distinguish from the approach of the New Zealand batsmen from the previous three matches; start aggressively, build the partnership, set the platform and end with a flourish. The only difference was that they were chasing a target and not setting one. Openers Jesse Ryder and Martin Guptill were fed by some loose deliveries from Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. By the seventh over, the Kiwis had crossed fifty runs. It appeared that the momentum had been set in New Zealand’s favour until Varun Aaron and Shami struck a wicket each.
Ryder was the first to go bowled by Aaron for 19. He was once again dismissed due to poor footwork and failing to cover the line of the ball. In the next over, Shami got one to angle in to Guptill who was caught plumb in front for 35. Guptill was the first to be dismissed leg-before in this series.
Just after the first powerplay, Dhoni switched to spin from both ends and immediately yielded results. Both Jadeja and Ashwin got enough turn and bounce to have new batsmen Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor in trouble. But the duo had the comfort of taking time to settle in thanks to the quick scoring from the openers. The duo managed to see off the spin twins and started to take calculated risks against the slower bowlers.
Dhoni used an untested Ambati Rayudu for bowling along with an over from debutant Stuart Binny. Rayudu was economical initially before Williamson took advantage of the bowler’s inexperience by charging down the wicket and picking a six. Taylor completed his 27th ODI fifty and Williamson too followed scoring his fourth consecutive half-century to consolidate their stand. The game was slipping away from the Indians when the Kiwis decided to give India another chance to have a go at them. Williamson tried to attempt a tight single by playing near the wicket off Jadeja’s bowling. A sharp Jadeja ran quickly, picked it up and threw at the stumps accurately. Williamson’s dismissal for 60 gave India the much needed breakthrough. The 130-run partnership in 26.1 overs had laid a good platform for the others to take it forward.
Despite being at a strong position, there were some nervousness on the face of Taylor and McCullum. But the well-set Taylor guided New Zealand through the stage and set them on course for a victory. Taylor got to his century in 110 balls with a cut past point for a boundary. Taylor is known to target the leg side but this time around the bulk of the scoring was through the off-side. Taylor scored as many as 72 runs runs through point and extra-cover in his century innings.
With McCullum unleashing his aggressive skills, there was not much hope left for the Indians. The explosive batsman even offered a skier which was messed up by the three fielders. McCullum finished off the match with a six remaining unbeaten on 49.
Earlier, the Indians had opted for a change in strategy by bringing in some changes and opting to bat first. Binny became the 200th player to debut for India in ODIs. The batting performance was a roller-coaster ride with two wickets lost initially followed by a partnership only to lose wickets in a heap near the batting powerplay. The respectability to the score was provided by a 101-run partnership between Dhoni (79 not out) and Jadeja (62 not out).
India will have a lot to ponder as they head to Wellington to salvage some pride looking for a consolation win.
To read the first innings report Click here.
India 278 for 5 in 50 overs (Rohit Sharma 79, Ambati Rayudu 37, MS Dhoni 79*, Ravindrwa Jadeja 62*; Tim Southee 2 for 36) lost to New Zealand 290 for 3 in 48.1 overs (Kane Williamson 60, Ross Taylor 112*, Brendon McCullum 49*; Mohammed Shami 1 for 61) by 7 wickets.
Man of the Match: Ross Taylor
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)
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