Cricket Article

India squeeze home in another thriller as Sharma and Kohli shine with the bat

India squeeze home in another thriller as Sharma and Kohli shine with the bat Photo: IBL

India beat New Zealand by six runs in another thrilling match in Kanpur to clinch victory in their three-match series.

Centuries by Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli earlier had seemed to put the hosts firmly in control, but a determined New Zealand run chase saw them almost achieve an unlikely victory, before they fell agonisingly short of their target.

As a result of the previous shenanigans, security was increased around the ground in Kanpur, and only authorised personnel allowed access to the pitch before the match.

However, when play did get underway, both teams were able to announced unchanged teams, with the hosts winning the toss and deciding to bat.

From the outset, India were determined to go on the attack, and although Southee dismissed Shikhar Dhawan for just 14, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli continued to push the score along.

It was Rohit Sharma, in particular who caught the eye, playing a range of fluent attacking shots all around the wicket, and reaching his 15th ODI century scoring at virtually a run a ball. Together with Kohli, he put on 230 for the second wicket before falling to Santner for 147, with an innings that included 2 sixes and 18 fours, and earned him the man of the match award.

Pandya fell cheaply to the same bowler for 8, but Kohli was still going at the other end, passing 9,000 ODI runs in the process. He too reached a century – his 32nd in ODI cricket – before Southee had him caught by Kiwi skipper Williamson for 113. Dhoni (25) and Jadhav (18) fell to pace bowler Milne chasing quick runs at the end, but the final Indian total of 337/6 represented a very challenging total for New Zealand to chase.

All the visitors’ bowlers took some punishment, with Trent Boult, in particular, having a match to forget, as he went wicket-less in his 10 overs, conceding 81 runs in the process.

Not for the first time in this series, New Zealand proved themselves to be doughty opponents. Guptil fell cheaply to Bumrah for 10, but Munro and Williamson, who had both been disappointing in the previous matches, both found some form and put on 109 for the second wicket, with Munro hitting three sixes in his 75.

Not long afterwards Williamson was caught by Dhoni off Chahal’s bowling for 64, but a quick partnership of 81 between the batting heroes of the first match, Taylor and Latham, put the Kiwis back in contention until Bumrah accounted for Taylor for 39.

Latham and Nicholls continued the unlikely run chase before Kumar, who took a lot of punishment and went for 92 runs off his ten overs, claimed the wicket of Nicholls for 37. Whilst Latham was at the crease, New Zealand were still in with a shout of victory, but a mix-up with Grandhomme saw him run out for 65. After that, New Zealand, despite their best efforts, could not score the runs against tight death bowling, and fell just short of their target.

India thus claimed the series by two matches to one. However, New Zealand can hold their heads up high, having pushed the home team right to the wire both in this match and the series.

Sunny c
Sunny C Sports Pundit staff writer

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