India, New Zealand Tie Auckland Thriller
New Zealand 314 (Guptill 111) tied with
India 314-9 (Jadeja 66no, Ashwin 65)
Third One-Day International, Auckland
Thanks to a scintillating unbeaten half-century from Ravindra Jadeja, India tied the third One-Day International against New Zealand in Auckland, keeping the five-match series alive with two matches to play.
At Eden Park, set to chase 315 runs to keep the contest alive, Jadeja scored 17 runs in the final over bowled by Corey Anderson (5-63), as India finished at 314 for nine to leave New Zealand 2-0 up in the series.
Jadeja (66 not out off 45 balls, five fours, four sixes) hit two fours and a six in that final over of the day, with Anderson also bowling two wides as two runs were needed off the last ball. But only one run could be managed as the game ended without a winner.
A rearguard maiden ODI fifty by Ravichandran Ashwin (65) and a stabilising half-century from skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (50) were not enough to save the day for the visitors. This was after Martin Guptill had hit his fifth ODI hundred to take the hosts to 314 runs in their allotted 50 overs.
India were given a rousing start by their openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, as the two put on their best stand in six ODIs overseas, putting on 64 runs in only 9.2 overs. Rohit, especially, was harsh on the bowling, hitting three sixes off Mitchell McClenaghan.
Dhawan too got into the act, hitting four fours and a six as the first Indian fifty came up in the eighth over. The chase looked on truly at that point when Corey Anderson was introduced into the attack in the 10th over.
He immediately tied down the two batsmen with a clever mix of deliveries and it resulted in a wicket. Dhawan made 28 runs (25 balls) was the first to go, pulling one straight to deep mid-wicket where Guptill took a fine, low catch. Only eight more runs had been scored when Rohit too was dismissed. The batsman, having scored 39 runs off 38 balls, with one four and four sixes, threw away his rousing start as he tried to play one over extra cover only to edge it to third man.
It put the focus once again on Virat Kohli (6), but the number three batsman had an off day for once, looking edgy in his 20-ball stay at the wicket. He found it tough to handle Hamish Bennett and was caught behind in the 15th over to put an early douser on Indian hopes.
Three overs later, Ajinkya Rahane (3) too gave away a faint edge down the leg-side as Anderson picked up his 3rd wicket of the spell, routing India’s chase in this must-win encounter.
It brought skipper Dhoni and Suresh Raina together, and two put on 67 runs for the fifth wicket. Their runs came in good time, off only 60 balls, but the asking run-rate was already over seven-per-over when the 20th over of the Indian innings ended. As a result, the pair tried to break through the shackles and up the scoring ante, hitting a couple of sixes.
But this bid made Raina a little circumspect as he tried to play uncharacteristic strokes once again, falling to a loose shot outside the off stump, playing half a pull shot.
He scored 31 runs off 39 balls, with three fours, a case of an Indian batsman once again throwing away his start. More importantly he left his skipper in the lurch, who still batted solidly to score his 53rd ODI half-century. He scored exactly 50 runs, off 60 balls, hitting two fours and three sixes, and putting on 38 important runs for the sixth wicket. It was a platform from which Ashwin’s pairing with Ravindra Jadeja exploded.
The duo put on 85 runs in just 55 balls, at a striking rate of nine runs per over as they looked to do the impossible. The two batsmen backed each other perfectly, alternating the roles of aggressor and defender. Ashwin scored his maiden ODI fifty in the 41st over as the second power play resulted in 54 runs for the loss of one wicket.
With 54 runs needed off the last six overs, Ashwin was dismissed in the 45th over, as Martin Guptill pulled off another smart catch and avoided a six, hopping over the boundary rope. It nearly ended any hopes of a successful chase on the night, but Jadeja ploughed on. He enjoyed less support from Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4) and Mohammad Shami (2), but Varun Aaron (2 not out) stuck around long enough for Jadeja to strike a few lusty blows and take the match into the last over.
For New Zealand, Corey Anderson shone with the ball once again, while Hamish Bennett (2-41), Tim Southee (1-74) and Nathan McCullum (1-39) provided able support. McClenaghan (0-76) went wicketless for a change, as did Kane Williamson (0-17).
Earlier, riding on opener Guptill’s hundred, New Zealand were bowled out for 314..
Guptill scored 111 runs (129 balls, 12 fours, two sixes) and put on 153 runs for the second wicket with Kane Williamson (65) even as the Indian bowlers fought back to bowl the hosts out.
Guptill and Jesse Ryder (20 runs, 12 balls, four fours) made another quick start, as 32 runs came off the first four overs. But the latter again failed to get going after an initial burst, bowled this time by Kumar in the fifth over.
It brought Williamson to the crease, who didn’t let up in his golden run of form, putting up 50 runs with Guptill and Williamson in the 18th over of the innings, off only 79 balls. India had conceded 15 additional runs in the first 10 overs itself and finished with 21 extras for the whole innings.
The Black Caps crossed the 100-run mark three overs later, while Guptill brought on his half-century in the 25th over. He used up 80 balls and hit five fours, but looked to press on and increased his pace of scoring, bringing up his 100-run partnership for the second wicket with Williamson came up in the next over. The latter too scored his half-century off only 61 balls, with two fours and one six.
They put on 153 runs in 28.3 overs, passing 138 runs by Nathan Astle and Stephen Fleming (in 2001) at Colombo. Williamson again squandered the chance to get a hundred, bowled by Shami in the 33rd over, making 65 runs off 74 balls, with four fours and one six.
Corey Anderson walked out to bat at number four, ahead of Ross Taylor, in a bid to make use of the small ground and push the score in the range of 350. But Ashwin bowled him for just eight runs (five balls, one six), his first wicket in international cricket since the Durban ODI, after 78.3 overs without one in both ODIs and Tests combined.
The batting power play was taken in the 35th over of the innings as Guptill went on to complete his fifth ODI hundred next over, off 123 balls, with eleven fours and one six. He looked to push the scoring rate further and was out caught on the boundary by Ajinkya Rahane off Jadeja.
The fielder was in action again running out Ross Taylor (17 runs, 18 balls, two fours) and then catching Luke Ronchi (38 runs, 20 balls, three fours, three sixes), again off Jadeja, just as the keeper-batsman was starting to look dangerous. In between skipper Brendon McCullum played a loose shot and was caught by Ashwin off Aaron, out again for a duck, as the Kiwis lost six wickets for 90 runs.
It meant that the death overs were a different experience for the Indian attack this time around, conceding only 81 runs in the last 10 overs. Only 33 runs had come off the second power play with two wickets lost therein, and it had set up this good finish for the Indians.
Nathan McCullum (1) and McClenaghan (3) didn’t contribute much, but Southee (27 runs, 23 balls, one four, three sixes), dropped by Kumar, hit a few lusty blows to take the score past the 300-run mark in the penultimate over. He was run out off the last ball of the innings, even as Hamish Bennet was unbeaten on three runs.
It was much improved bowling performance from the visitors, who were 2-0 down in the five-match series and were desperate to win their first ODI in the last six matches overseas. Shami (2-84) and Jadeja (2-47) were the pick of the bowlers, with Kumar (1-48), Aaron (1-52) and Ashwin (1-47) chipping in with a wicket each. Raina (0-26) went wicketless in his four overs.
Earlier, Indian skipper Dhoni won his third straight toss of the series and for a third consecutive time, he chose to field first. The visitors made one change to their playing eleven, with Aaron coming in for Ishant Sharma. Raina was declared fit to play after suffering a hit below the left elbow in net practice on Friday. New Zealand too made one change with Hamish Bennett coming into the eleven in place of Kyle Mills.
The fourth game sees the two sides return to Hamilton on 28th January.
© Cricket World 2014