Opting to bat, India were looking at another below-100 total, before Rayudu (90 off 113) and Shankar (45 off 64) forged a 98-run stand to ensure India ended with a fighting 252. @ Twitter/ICC

India s stand-in captain Rohit Sharma heaped praise on Ambati Rayudu and Vijay Shankar the duo who were responsible for steering the Indian innings to safety when the team were in dire straits at 18/4 inside the first 10 overs.

Opting to bat, India were looking at another below-100 total, before Rayudu (90 off 113) and Shankar (45 off 64) forged a 98-run stand to ensure India ended with a fighting 252. Hardik Pandya‘s 45 off 22 provided the finishing touching to the innings as India posted a challenging 252. (ALSO READ: Don’t think setting totals has ever been an issue: Ambati Rayudu)

Especially after the Hamilton loss, I said we needed to come together as a team and we did that. Four down, we needed someone to apply, and Rayudu and Vijay Shankar did that. The way Hardik and Kedar Jadhav played was magnificent. We showed a lot of character, Rohit said at the post-match presentation ceremony after India earned a hard-fought 35-run victory in the fifth and final ODI to seal the ODI series 4-1. (India vs New Zealand, 5th ODI: FULL SCORECARD)

The bowling department did exceptionally well to defend the target. Legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal was the pick of the bowlers with three for 41, while Mohammed Shami (two for 35) and Pandya (two for 50), contributed with two wickets apiece.

With the ball as well. The wicket got flat at the end, with the dew. At one point it looked like it would be an easy chase. But lot of people put their hands up and got us through. I knew there was some moisture in the pitch. If the series was on the line, I would’ve batted second. Wasn’t easy after losing four wickets at the start. Thought 250 was a very good score on that pitch, he said. (WATCH: MS Dhoni’s street-smart brilliance dupes Jimmy Neesham)

Bowlers got crucial breakthroughs at critical times. When you want to win games, you’ve got to find the right balance. Coming here and beating New Zealand at home wasn’t going to be easy. The achievement we’ve had today is a great achievement to have.