India waltzed into a spectacular 3-0 series win against New Zealand on Monday, perhaps underlining the assertion by Ravi Shastri, the coach, that this is the best ever combination to leave the shores for series abroad in recent decades. The seven- wicket victory was the third successive success in the five -match itinerary.
The fourth one comes off at Hamilton on January 31.
By any yardstick, it was a flawless performance by India, displaying a total command of the situation from the first ball. The bowers led by Mohammad Shami, who was declared as the Man of the Match, shone with admirable support from Hardik Pandya who joined the team back a few days after those harrowing days of suspension, Chahal and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, broke the partnership at regular intervals.
Ross Taylor and Latham appeared set for a huge partnership but Chahal cut short that by dismissing the latter. After this 119 stand was cut, the team crumbled quickly leaving the match wide open.
Taylor fell short by seven runs to miss his well deserving century when Kartik caught him off Shami.
But India proved once again the form of its top order and reached the target with 42 balls remaining for the match. The runs that determined the outcome came off byes.
The Indians maintained a fairly brisk rate from the beginning beating the required rate with utmost ease. Barring Shikkar Dhawan, who was dismissed by Boult for a neat catch in the slips by Taylor, the rest contributed generously.
Rohit and Kohli laid the solid base with a 123 run stand that ensured a fluent route to the ultimate target. Rohit Sharma scored 62 off 77 balls while Kolhi made 60 in 74 balls. Sharma’s knock contained two beautifully timed 6s apart from three charming his to the boundary.
Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Kartik played with a lot of confidence and composure to steer the team towards victory.
“Amazing. Three clinical games for us. Could not have asked for a better performance. The relentlessness of the side that really pleases me,” commented Kolhi after the match.
He will now take a break from the rest of the two ODIs and the three T-20 matches. Rohit Sharma will lead the side.
“They are a very good side and they are teaching us a lesson,” said Williamson after his team was outplayed in the series.
A 5-0 verdict is now within the realm of possibility and if that comes about it will clearly reflect the depth and the enchanting dimensions acquired i this momentous tours. The team’s chances will definitely be debated against the outcome of the tour to Australia and New Zealand.
Can anyone now deny that India will be reckoned as team that stands best chance to regain the World Cup? Every weak spot has been plugged the only dilemma for Kohli will be to identify who should play the first XI.
The wealth of talent available itself is embarrassing.