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Virender Sehwag (125 not out) smashed the fastest ODI century by an Indian to fashion the team’s commanding 10-wicket win in the fourth match,also giving the visitors their first one day cricket series win in New Zealand in Hamilton on Wednesday.
Sehwag’s 60-ball hundred,powered by 13 fours and four sixes,bettered Mohammad Azharuddin’s 62-ball century against the Kiwis at Baroda (1988-89).
India had earlier restricted New Zealand to 270 for five in 47 overs after the match was truncated following a couple of rain interruptions.
For the hosts,Brendon McCullum (77) and Jesse Ryder (46) added 102 runs for the opening stand while Peter McGlashan (56) and Grant Elliot (35) starred in an unbeaten 95-run stand.
The Indian innings also encountered a few rain interruptions but neither the rain god nor the Kiwi bowlers could stop Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir (63 not out) who guided India to 201 for no loss in 23.3 overs which was enough to seal the match and the series.
Sehwag was ballistic and he virtually butchered the hapless Kiwi attack with a flurry of electrifying strokes,which warmed the cockles of the hearts of Indian fans on a cold,blustery,rainy night. Holi couldn’t have been more riotous than it was on Tuesday night,away from home.
Sehwag and Gambhir tore the Kiwis apart,like wolves would of sheep. It didn’t matter to them that the target was altered with each rain interruption,as India were initially set to make 281 from 47 overs to overhaul New Zealand’s 270 for five.
Eventually,they needed to get a target of 220 in 36 overs. They were well on the way with a 201-run opening wicket partnership when the Duckworth-Lewis method declared them winners,handing them a 3-0 sweep in the five-match series.
Gambhir also played an innings of great value but it was overshadowed by Sehwag’s sustained belligerence. The Delhi marauder,who notched his 10th ODI hundred,was brutal against debutant left-arm pacer Ewen Thompson and Iain O’ Brien,carting the frazzled duo to all parts of the park with casual disdain.
Kiwi captain Daniel Vettori could do precious little,but look towards heaven for relief from Sehwag’s onslaught. They had marked him as as their nemesis-to-be and Sehwag lived up to their expectations,gathering 259 runs in four innings,including Wednesday’s blitzkrieg and two half centuries.
Earlier,New Zealand had overcome a subdued start to rattle up 270 for five through a rollicking 95-run partnership between McGlashan and Elliot.
Opting to bat,the Kiwis found themselves in a bind at the start as Zaheer Khan and Praveen Kumar found appreciable movement of the seam. Brendon McCullum (77 off 95 balls) and Jesse Ryder (46 off 57 balls) struggled to work the ball off the square,producing a mere 21 runs in the first seven overs.
McCullum,who survived a stumping chance on 43,was reprieved by Sehwag on 68 with Yuvraj being the unlucky bowler on both occasions.
It was out of sheer frustration that a bottled-up Ryder top-edged an intended swing off Yuvraj to Suresh Raina at short square and the hosts never really got out of the rut they had played themselves into,losing three wickets for 32 runs.
McCullum was consumed by a Zaheer yorker,while Jacob Oram failed to get going again,tickling Ishant Sharma to Dhoni.
It took lusty hitting by McGlashan and Elliot to put them in contention but Sehwag and Gambhir blew the Kiwis away with their aggressive stroke play.
The teams now move to Auckland for the inconsequential fifth one-dayer on Saturday.