India defeated New Zealand by 35 runs in the final ODI to clinch the five-match series here at the Wellington Regional Stadium on Sunday.
Defending a total of 252 runs, Indian bowlers finished the match in the 45th over as they bundled out the entire New Zealand team for 217 runs.
Making a slow start to their innings, New Zealand lost their openers Colin Munro (24) and Henry Nicholls (8) at the score of 37. It was Indian pacer Mohammed Shami who sent back the openers and gave India some early breakthroughs.
In-form batsman Ross Taylor was the next batsman to come in but after scoring one run, he also departed back to the pavilion. Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya bowled a length delivery and trapped Taylor in the front of the wickets.
Following Taylor’s dismissal, skipper Kane Williamson and Tom Latham built a 67-run partnership to stabilise the New Zealand innings. The partnership was broken when Kedar Jadhav picked up Williamson’s wicket.
At this time, spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was introduced into bowling by captain Rohit Sharma. He picked up two wickets in the form of Tom Latham (37) and Colin de Grandhomme (11) in quick succession to put India in the driving seat.
James Neesham, who was playing at the score of 44, got run out at the hands of MS Dhoni, bizarrely. With seven wickets down at the score of 176, New Zealand were in deep trouble.
The hosts got their seventh jolt when Chahal picked up middle-order batsman Todd Astle, who was playing at the score of 10. Two overs later, Pandya struck again and sent Mitchell Santner (22) back. The final man to depart was Trent Boult who was dismissed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Indian spinner Yuzvendra Chahal picked up a three-wicket haul to put the team in a commanding position. While pacer Mohammed Shami and all-rounder picked up two wickets each, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Kedar Jadhav contributed with one wicket each in the match.
Earlier, batting first, India were on their way to a disappointing end of the innings as they had lost some early wickets. Ambati Rayudu, however, stood up to the occasion and played a match-defining inning of 90 runs to take his team to a respectable total.
For New Zealand, right-arm pacer Matt Henry picked up a four-wicket haul and emerged as the highest wicket-taker.
Rayudu was adjudged as the Man of the Match while Shami was presented with the Player of the Series award. (ANI)