India’s winning streak finally snapped on Saturday as New Zealand cruised to an eight-wicket consolation win in the final cricket one-dayer to deny the visitors a clean sweep of the ODI series.
India’s awe-inspiring batting order witnessed a rare collapse on Saturday and the visitors were skittle out for a paltry 149 runs in 36.3 overs and the score could have been embarrassing but for Virender Sehwag (40) and Rohit Sharma (43 not out).
New Zealand chased down the meagre target in just 23.2 overs after Jesse Ryder (63) gave them a flying start and Martin Guptill (57 not out) stayed till the end to see the side through in what turned out to be a one-sided contest at the Eden Park.
It turned out to be a memorable outing for Jesse Ryder who also scalped three wickets for 29 runs in his nine overs.
The Indians,who had already clinched the series,had to be content with a 3-1 scoreline with the Kiwis restoring some pride by convincingly winning the last game. Both the teams would renew their rivalry in a three-match Test series starting March 18.
New Zealand’s victory,however,was marred by an ugly spat between Ryder and Ishant Sharma,the Delhi paceman triggering it off when the robust Kiwi smashed the ball with all his might into the stands.
His pride hurt,Ishant walked down the aisle and muttered and gestured angrily at Ryder. The left-hander responded with another six over mid-wicket,which incensed the sinewy fast bowler further. There was exchange at words at the square and umpire Rudi Koertzen warned Ishant for his on-field misconduct.
Ryder was to rub it in when he hoisted the speedster deep into the stands at long-leg,bringing up his fifty with that disdainful pull. However,Ishant,who conceded 63 runs in 7.2 overs,was to have the last laugh,castling the Kiwi opener off an inside edge.
But by then,Ryder had lifted the Kiwi spirits,suggesting that it would no longer be a lark in the park for the tourists in the Tests series.
Martin Guptill celebrated his call to the Test squad with an electrifying 50 ball 57 not out,taking New Zealand home in the company of Ross Taylor (28 not out).
It was New Zealand all the way at the Eden. Invited to bowl by Mahendra Singh Dhoni,they scythed through the mighty Indian batting,which crumbled like a pile of stacked bricks.
The Kiwis used the cold and windy conditions to great advantage,as Kyle Mills and Iain O’Brien seamed the ball disconcertingly.
If the Kiwis pacemen had been haplessly butchered in the previous games,they had Sehwag and Gambhir in a state of despair,repeatedly beating them with balls which slanted away from their bat.
Unable to break free from the seamers’ clutches,Gambhir (5) distantly wafted his willow at Mills for Peter McGlashan to complete a regulation catch.
Suresh Raina (8) too was all at sea against the seamers,struggling to put bat to ball,exposing the Indian batsmen’s fallibility against the swinging,seaming ball. After pondering around for 19 balls,Raina miscued a Jacob Oram delivery to see Scott Styris bring off a stunning catch at mid-off.
Sehwag,reprieved by Styris at first slip off O’Brien,didn’t last long,miscuing a pull off Oram to offer a soft catch to McCullum at point. He made 40 off 27 balls,including three fours and three sixes.
With their nemesis back in the hut,the Blackcaps moved in like impoverished sharks to gobble the rest of the Indian batting. Yuvraj Singh (11),Mahendra Singh Dhoni (9) and Yusuf Pathan (0) fell in a heap as India plummeted to a miserable 111 for 6. The trio fell to the gentle pace off Jesse Ryder,who finished with three for 29 from his nine accurate overs.
Imprudent running between wickets cost India the scalps of Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan,both falling victims to Rohit Sharma’s ill-advised calls. The end came when Ishant was snapped up by Ross Taylor at first slip off O’Brien.