India 111 for 2 (Rohit 51, Gill 40*) beat New Zealand 108 (Phillips 36, Shami 3-18, Washington 2-7, Hardik 2-16) by eight wickets
After a thrilling last-over finish in Hyderabad, India romped to an eight-wicket victory in Raipur on the back of an inspired performance from their quick bowlers to take the series 2-0 with one match to go. India’s domination started with a display of swing and seam with great accuracy to bowl New Zealand out for 108 in under 35 overs in an international debut for the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium. Two sharp return catches also helped matters.
India chased it down in 20.1 overs after a 51 off 50 from captain Rohit Sharma, who struck seven fours and two sixes before Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan saw the hosts through. It was India’s seventh consecutive bilateral ODI series win at home.
Stifling Test-match style bowling from Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj caused the early damage, after India won the toss, to reduce New Zealand to 9 for 3. Hardik Pandya bowled three maidens and picked up 2 for 16 from six overs as New Zealand slipped to 15 for 5, with their top five falling in single digits, after 10.3 overs. Glenn Phillips stretched the score past 100 with the help of Michael Bracewell and Mitchell Santner, but 108 was a total too low to trouble a team that had scored 349 and 390 in their last two games.
Shami was the first to strike when he followed a few outswingers with one that came in and bowled Finn Allen for a duck in the first over. His swing and Siraj’s wobble seam tied up the top order, and Siraj had Henry Nicholls edging one to first slip in the sixth over.
Four balls after Nicholls’ fall, Shami grabbed a sharp return catch with his left hand off Daryl Mitchell to finish his first spell with 4-1-5-2 while Siraj’s read 4-1-4-1. Shardul Thakur and Hardik also got breakthroughs soon after being brought on and kept the pressure on the visitors.
Devon Conway eased some nerves by registering the first boundary of the innings in the ninth over but Hardik sent him back with another one-handed return catch in the following over. Thakur also struck when Tom Latham, who had left nearly half of his first 16 balls, chased a wide delivery and handed Gill his second catch at first slip.
Phillips, Bracewell and Santner all bothered India but only briefly. Phillips started with back-to-back fours off Hardik – including a top-edge over the wicketkeeper – before Bracewell dispatched consecutive low full-tosses for fours off Shami in the 19th over. Shami immediately changed from around to over the wicket and banged in a bouncer that ended the stand of 41 when Bracewell nicked behind for 22.
From 56 for 6, Phillips and Santner put on a patient stand of 47, thanks to two lives Santner got off Kuldeep Yadav. The first came when Rohit couldn’t hold on to a tough chance while diving to his right at midwicket, and Kuldeep later put down an easier return chance despite getting both hands to the ball over his head.
Phillips scored at a good clip during his 36 with boundaries whenever he got loose deliveries from Thakur. Santner, too, chipped in with two fours off Kuldeep after the halfway mark of the innings, but he fell just after New Zealand crossed 100.
Hardik started the 31st over with a 112.8 kph slower ball which Santner chopped on off the inside edge, and New Zealand collapsed again. Two long-hops from Washington Sundar saw Phillips and Lockie Ferguson hole out to deep midwicket, and Kuldeep trapped Blair Tickner in front in his eighth over to wrap up the innings.
In the chase, Rohit and Gill started patiently as the new ball swung around. Soon though, Rohit turned aggressor, starting with a pull in the second over off Henry Shipley before also pulling Ferguson for six in the fifth over. Whenever the scoring would quieten for India, Rohit would either unleash another pull or manufacture room to dispatch the ball on the off side, including a stunning six over the covers off Tickner. Rohit also used the cut with perfect timing to collect boundaries as Gill waited more patiently for the loose balls to pick boundaries. Rohit also swept and reverse swept Santner to reach a 47-ball fifty but was trapped lbw when a Shipley delivery stayed low in front of off stump.
Kohli was stumped off Santner for 11 after he struck Shipley for two fours and Kishan and Gill wrapped up the win by smashing three fours in the space of 11 balls.
Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
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