India defeated New Zealand by seven wickets in the third ODI and sealed the five-match series 3-0 on Monday.
Virat Kohli’s Team India has become just the second Indian side to have won a bilateral ODI series in New Zealand after MS Dhoni-led India won in 2009.
Chasing New Zealand’s target of 244, India lost three wickets Shikhar Dhawan (28), Rohit Sharma (62) and Virat Kohli (60 – as Ambati Rayudu (40 off 42) and Dinesh Karthik (38 off 38) remained unbeaten and saw India home successfully with 42 balls to spare.
Earlier, Hardik Pandya made a significant contribution on his comeback with two wickets and a stunning catch as India bowled out the hosts for 243 runs in 49 overs.
Coming back into the side after the suspension on him for sexist remarks on a TV show was lifted, Pandya delivered figures of two for 45 in 10 overs and choked the run flow during the middle overs.
Skipper Virat Kohli’s stand on the kind of balance that the Baroda all-rounder brings to the side stood vindicated during another controlled bowling effort by the visitors.
Save the 119-run fourth wicket stand between Ross Taylor (93 off 106 balls) and Tom Latham (51 off 64 balls), New Zealand couldn’t really accelerate against the Indian attack on a pitch that was a touch slower compared to the second ODI.
Mohammed Shami (3 for 41 in 9 overs), who had all but sealed the third seamer’s spot for the World cup, once again provided the initial breakthrough as Colin Munro (7) edged one to Rohit Sharma in the slip cordon.
The other wickets were picked by Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2 for 46) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2 for 51). New Zealand won the toss and opted to bat in their must-win third ODI.
The other two ODIs are scheduled to be played on Friday and Sunday at Auckland and Hamilton respectively.