India slumped to their second consecutive series defeat overseas as New Zealand rode on Ross Taylor’s unbeaten century to thrash the visitors by seven wickets in the fourth one-dayer and take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match rubber.
Chasing 279 for victory, the Kiwis reached 280 for three in 48.1 overs with Taylor scoring a match-winning 127-ball 112 not out to take the hosts home with 11 balls to spare.
Taylor also shared two important partnerships — first with Kane Williamson (60) putting on 130-run for the third wicket and then with skipper Brendon McCullum (49 not out), an unbroken 92 runs for the fourth wicket.
For India, Mohammed Shami (1/61) and Varun Aaron (1/51) were the only wicket-takers but they proved to be extremely expensive. Ravindra Jadeja (0/33) and R Ashwin (0-41) bowled economically, but couldn’t claim a wicket, which proved to be costly. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0/62) too proved to be ineffective. Stuart Binny (0/8) and Ambati Rayudu (0/23) didn’t get second spells.
Earlier, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja had produced magnificent late onslaught after opener Rohit Sharma scored a half-century, to guide India to 278 for five in their allotted 50 overs.
In reply, New Zealand got off to a rollicking start with Jesse Ryder and Martin Guptill mistreating the Indian bowling attack. The two of them scored a flurry of boundaries, especially off Mohammed Shami’s bowling, and together hit 10 fours and a six in their opening stand of 54 runs.
But once again Ryder failed to sustain and was bowled in the eight over by first-change Varun Aaron. He scored 19 off 18 balls with four boundaries.
Guptill was gone four runs later in the never next over, as Shami extracted his revenge from the opposite end, trapping the Auckland centurion LBW. He scored 35 off 27 balls (6X4, 1X6).
Williamson and Taylor thereafter capitalised on the platform laid by the openers.
India had lost 0-2 to South Africa in the three-game ODI series in their last tour.
As Taylor and Williamson were scoring heavily, Dhoni brought in Jadeja and Ashwin to put the brakes on the run flow and the two spinners bowled in tandem for 10 overs, giving away only 30 runs.
But the medium pacers had to come back into the attack and that once again opened the flood-gates as the next 10 overs yielded 70 runs with Taylor and Williamson putting the chase back on track.
Their 50-run partnership off 86 balls had come in the 23rd over as Rayudu bowled some part-time spin.
Taylor then brought up his half-century and New Zealand crossed the 150-mark as well. It was Williamson’s turn to celebrate in the next over, scoring his fourth consecutive fifty in the series, and his continued…