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Best of the ODIs: India in New Zealand

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New_Zealand_India_ODI_CricketWith the World Cup only four months away, the focus of most of the teams has understandably shifted towards ODI cricket. For India and New Zealand, an important workout in this context is the ongoing five-match series that commenced in Napier on January 23. As India strive to improve their ODI record against New Zealand in New Zealand, which reads 10 wins and 21 losses from 34 matches, here is a look at the best of their overseas battles against the Black Caps.

Fourth ODI, Rothmans Cup Triangular Series, Wellington, 1989-90

Prior to this second-round match of a tri-series that also involved Australia, India had lost each of their previous five ODIs against New Zealand in New Zealand. Manoj Prabhakar and Sanjay Manjrekar added 58 for the second wicket after the early run-out of Woorkeri Raman, but it was not until breezy efforts from Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev (46) that the run rate got a boost. Rain made an appearance in the 46th over of the innings, reducing the contest to a 49-over affair.

India were bowled out for 221 in the final over, with Danny Morrison returning 3/33. New Zealand fell to 68/3 in reply, before Mark Greatbatch (53) and Ken Rutherford (44) revived the innings with a fourth-wicket stand of 80. Greatbatch’s dismissal brought India back in the game, as the lower order failed to support Richard Hadlee. The great Hadlee, aged 38 and in the twilight of his career, came in at number six and was left with the task of steering his team home.

The last five overs asked for 36, and the game now hung in the balance. A double-wicket penultimate over from Prabhakar (3/37) spiced things up even further. Kapil was entrusted with bowling the last over, which began with the score at 211/8. Hadlee hit eight off the first three balls, but Martin Snedden was run out off the fourth while the batsmen were looking for a second run. With two needed in two, Kapil yorked Hadlee for 46 to give India victory by a solitary run.

Fourth ODI, Christchurch, 1993-94

New Zealand needed to win this last match to square the series 2-2. The second ODI at Auckland had seen Sachin Tendulkar open for the first time, a decision that paid off as he struck a blazing 49-ball 82. He began in similar fashion at Christchurch, hitting 40 from 26 balls in an opening stand of 61 with Ajay Jadeja (68). However, the innings lost steam thereafter, and it was due to some quick runs at the death from Nayan Mongia and Anil Kumble that the total reached 222/6.

New Zealand lost Chris Harris with only seven on the board, but Bryan Young (43) and captain Rutherford (61) steadied the ship by adding 82 for the second wicket. The leg-spin of Kumble (3/47) induced a wobble, reducing the score to 135/4 after 35 overs. Shane Thomson (40* in 43 balls) and Adam Parore (47* in 46 balls) came together at this point, and went on to forge a well-calculated partnership of 88* that brought New Zealand a six-wicket win with only one ball left.

Second ODI, Napier, 1998-99

Matthew Horne, who was later named Man of the Match, shared in stands of 76 with Craig McMillan and 69 with Chris Cairns for the second and fourth wickets respectively, and raised hopes of a flourishing finish by taking the total to 157/3 after 32 overs. However, Tendulkar (3/34) scalped two key wickets in successive overs, those of Horne (for a 95-ball 61) and Parore, to begin a slide. New Zealand were eventually all out for 213, with five batsmen getting run out.

Openers Sourav Ganguly (38) and Tendulkar raced to a stand of 50, but New Zealand fought back by striking regularly, while also keeping the run rate in check. Left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori snared Dravid (38) just when he was settling, and when Robin Singh was sixth out, also to Vettori, India still needed 50 in nine overs. To India’s relief, Mongia (30*) held the fort, and after a few more jittery moments, guided them to a gripping two-wicket win with a ball to spare.

Sixth ODI, Auckland, 2002-03

Holding an unassailable 4-1 lead in the seven-match series, New Zealand slumped to 50/4 against disciplined bowling from the Indian pacers. Scott Styris (42) and Lou Vincent (53*) put on 80 for the fifth wicket to lend some respectability to the innings, which terminated at 199/9. Javagal Srinath conceded only 13 in his ten overs, while taking three wickets. Captain Ganguly and Virender Sehwag launched the chase assuredly by putting on 70 runs for the opening wicket.

Sehwag was in great touch, and added another 72 with Rahul Dravid for the fourth wicket. The Delhi opener went on to score 112 in 139 balls before being fourth out, at which point India needed only 18 in 48 balls. But New Zealand were not going to give up easily, and a mix of tight bowling and fine fielding led to a manic collapse that left India on the brink at 198/9 in the 49th over. With the scores level, last man Ashish Nehra nudged a single to give India a last-gasp win.

Third ODI, Auckland, 2013-14

Having lost the first two matches at Napier and Hamilton, India faced a must-win situation at Eden Park if they were to stay alive in the five-match series. After the visitors elected to field, opener Martin Guptill provided a strong platform for the Black Caps with a 129-ball 111, most of them scored in a second-wicket partnership of 153 with Kane Williamson (65). India managed to bowl New Zealand out off the last ball of the innings, but not before the total reached 314.

India began their response on a promising note, with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan putting on 64 for the first wicket inside ten overs. But once both of them fell to Corey Anderson (5/63), the innings went off track, and following the wickets of Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, the score read 79/4. Captain MS Dhoni scored a measured 50, but when he was sixth out at 184, India still needed something special. Ravindra Jadeja joined Ravichandran Ashwin at this stage.

The two all-rounders went on the attack, and bludgeoned a stand of 85 in just nine overs. Ashwin departed for 65 from 46 balls, but Jadeja held one end, even as the ninth wicket fell at 286 in the 48th over. When Anderson began the final over, India were 19 runs away from victory. That did not deter Jadeja, as he smashed two fours and a six to bring it down to two off the last ball. He was limited to a single that tied the match, and was named Man of the Match for his 45-ball 66*.



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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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