49.4 overs New Zealand 285 (Latham 61, Neesham 57, Jadhav 3-29) v India
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Replacing Anton Devcich in New Zealand’s line-up, James Neesham scored 57 off 47 balls to lift New Zealand to 285 © Associated Press
James Neesham and Matt Henry added 84 for the ninth wicket to rejuvenate New Zealand after a mid-innings collapse had left them floundering at 199 for 8. It was an innings of three parts: on a pitch with true pace and bounce, New Zealand began brightly, and were 153 for 2 in the 29th over before losing six wickets for 46 runs in the space of 9.2 overs. From there, Neesham and Henry didn’t just survive; their partnership rattled along at 7.52 runs per over and propelled New Zealand to a total of 285.
New Zealand’s innings was looking like a repeat of the second ODI in Delhi, where they went from 158 for 2 to a final total of 242 for 9. Neesham, though, hadn’t played in Delhi. He replaced Anton Devcich here in an allrounder for allrounder swap, with New Zealand possibly feeling they needed an extra seam option on a pitch with a decent cover of grass.
The first three boundaries Neesham hit were all played with a straight bat: twice, he showed the full face to hit Jasprit Bumrah down the ground, and then he brought in a late whip of his wrists to power Amit Mishra between long-on and deep midwicket. It showed he had worked out a sensible method to score runs at a time when New Zealand had only two wickets in hand. At the other end, Henry showed a sound defence when the ball was at his stumps – even though he often stayed beside the line rather than getting behind it – and excellent timing when he got width, slashing and punching Umesh Yadav for fours through point.
As the slog overs approached, Umesh’s old failings resurfaced, as short balls followed wide length balls that allowed the batsmen to free their arms. In the 47th over, Neesham stood tall and pulled him through midwicket before slicing a wide-ish ball to the third man boundary to bring up his half-century. Henry hit him for a six and two fours off successive balls in the 49th over, and Umesh’s already expensive figures took another hit. He eventually finished with figures of 3 for 75. New Zealand were bowled out with two balls still left to play, losing Neesham and Trent Boult in the last two overs, but they had already done India enough damage at the death, scoring 52 in the last 6.4 overs.
More to follow…
Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo