Rohit Sharma labels 4-1 series win vs New Zealand: The Indian captain was satisfied with the overall performance with the team.
During the fifth ODI of the ongoing India’s tour of New Zealand at Wellington, India defeated New Zealand by 35 runs to win the five-match series 4-1. The victory concluded India’s exceptional overseas leg before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 where they won six matches out of eight.
After India captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and chose to bat, India recovered from 18-4 to score 252 in 49.5 overs on the back of brilliant batting from Ambati Rayudu and Hardik Pandya. Rayudu, who came in to bat at No. 4, top-scored for the team scoring his 10th ODI half-century, 90 (113), with the help of eight fours and four sixes, to bag the ‘Man of the Match’ award.
In the second innings, the Indian bowlers made inroads into the Kiwi batting line-up at regular intervals. Just when the hosts looked set to chase the total, former India captain and current wicket-keeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni put on display an outstanding run-out to dismiss James Neesham.
New Zealand were eventually bowled out for 217 in 44.1 overs. Neesham, who came in to bat at No. 6, top-scored for the Kiwis scoring 44 (32) with the help of four fours and two sixes. With bowling figures of 10-0-41-3, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was the pick of the bowlers for India. Other than him, fast bowler Mohammad Shami and all-rounder Hardik Pandya picked up a couple of wickets each.
.@MdShami11 picked up 9 wickets in 4 games and was the go-to bowler for both the captains in the series.
— Kings XI Punjab (@lionsdenkxip) February 3, 2019
A very good little innings by Vijay Shankar. Looked the best Indian batsman today.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 3, 2019
Speaking during the post-match presentation, Sharma was relieved to make a comeback after the Hamilton ODI. Crediting the middle-order batsman, Sharma believed that they showed a lot of character.
“After the Hamilton loss, that was a big loss for us the way we lost there. At the toss, I said we needed to come together as a team and we did that. 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.
“Four down, we needed someone to apply, and Rayudu and Vijay Shankar did that. The way Hardik and Kedar played was magnificent. We showed a lot of character,” Sharma was quoted as saying.
Throwing accolades on his bowlers for providing crucial breakthoughs throughout the second innings, Sharma also didn’t shy away from admitting that there was a time when he thought that the Kiwis would chase the total.
🇮🇳 🇮🇳 _ 🇳🇿
— Star Sports (@StarSportsIndia) February 3, 2019
Not a single century in a five match ODI series. A series of Shami-Chahal-Kuldeep and Bhuvi. Excellent. #NZvInd
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) February 3, 2019
“With the ball as well [showed character]. 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. Bowlers got crucial breakthroughs at critical times,” Sharma said.
In the recent times, there has been a lot of talk about India looking to find the ‘right balance’ going into the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. While Sharma didn’t comment on whether India have found their best XI, he acknowledged the fact that winning an New Zealand wasn’t going to be easy.
“When you want to win games, you’ve got to find the right balance. Coming here and beating NZ at home wasn’t going to be easy. The achievement we’ve had today is a great achievement to have,” Sharma concluded.