India 269 for 6 (Rohit 70, Kohli 65) beat New Zealand 79 (Mishra 5-18, Axar 2-9) by 190 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Amit Mishra picked up his second five-wicket haul in ODIs as New Zealand crashed to 79 all out © Associated Press
Choosing to bat first and picking three frontline spinners on a slow turner, India overwhelmed New Zealand by 190 runs in the deciding fifth ODI in Visakhapatnam, with Amit Mishra picking up five wickets to send the visitors crashing to 79 all out. With boundaries hard to come by, India set a target of 270 thanks to half-centuries from Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli and the slog-overs enterprise of Kedar Jadhav and Axar Patel. New Zealand didn’t get anywhere near it. Their openers fell early, to seam, before Mishra, Axar Patel and the debutant offspinner Jayant Yadav took over, finishing with combined figures of 14.1-2-35-8 as New Zealand lost their last eight wickets for 16 runs.
With New Zealand 28 for 2 after six overs, India held the edge, but they still had Kane Williamson to get past. The New Zealand captain was looking in exquisite touch against the quicks, and had moved to 17 off 21 balls with successive fours against Umesh Yadav in the seventh over of the chase – a drive to cover’s right followed by a back-foot slap to his left.
The introduction of spin, however, stalled New Zealand. Between them, Axar and Mishra bowled five out of seven overs as Williamson and Ross Taylor only scored 25 runs from the from the eighth to the fourteenth overs. Trying to break free of the strangulation, Williamson chipped Axar straight to long-off. Then Mishra brought all his skill and guile into play, picking up his five wickets in the space of 19 balls: there was extra bounce to get Taylor caught behind, deception to bowl BJ Watling with a googly, drift and sharp turn to bowl the left-handed James Neesham through the gate, and flight and dip to have Tim Southee stumped.
In the end, New Zealand only lasted 23.1 overs; it was their shortest-ever innings while being bowled out in an ODI. The result demonstrated the gulf between the two sides’ spin attacks in helpful conditions – Mitchell Santner played the Axar role well enough, conceding only 36 in his ten overs while dismissing MS Dhoni, but Ish Sodhi was expensive, giving away 66 in helpful conditions, which came about through a combination of frequent loose balls and India targeting him consciously. By leaving out their third spinner Anton Devcich and picking an extra seam-bowling allrounder in Corey Anderson, New Zealand showed they may not have read the conditions as well as India did.
Still, India never really got on top of New Zealand during their innings, with partnerships ending just as they threatened to swell menacingly. Rohit fell after putting on 79 with Kohli at over a run a ball, and MS Dhoni was just beginning to get into gear when he was dismissed. The game could have gone either way when Kohli fell to leave India 220 for 5 in the 44th over, but Jadhav and Axar added 46 in 39 balls to give India what turned out to be a more than adequate total.
The first ball of India’s innings gave them enough clue of the conditions they would have to contend with. Ajinkya Rahane looked to punch Tim Southee through the covers, off the back foot, but the ball didn’t come on, and he ended up jamming it down by his feet, off the inside edge. Though both Southee and Boult offered Rahane width to execute that shot more easily and pick up two fours in the first two overs, India’s initial going was slow. New Zealand quickly cottoned on to the lack of pace off the pitch and got rid of their slips, moving them to short extra-cover and short midwicket. It helped dry up the singles, and also brought them a wicket when Rahane, on 20 off 38, flicked James Neesham in the air. At the 10-over mark, India were 45 for 1.
Rohit, who had only faced 19 balls in the first ten overs, gave India’s run rate a boost with some audacious shots, including a flat-bat hit over mid-off off a shortish slower ball from Neesham and a big six down the ground off Ish Sodhi when he had both long-on and long-off back. A dive to complete a quick single in the 17th over left him hobbling and in need of attention from India’s physio. When he resumed batting, he had trouble between wickets, but continued to find the boundaries, cutting Sodhi for four to bring up his fifty and launching him for a slog-swept six, both in the 18th over.
New Zealand brought back Trent Boult, and the extra pace dismissed Rohit, when he miscued successive pulls in the 22nd over; the first fell safely to the left of deep midwicket, the second carried straight to the fielder.
With Dhoni new to the crease, Kane Williamson quickly brought on spin from both ends, and India’s run rate dipped again. Having only scored 8 off his first 24 balls, Dhoni changed gears by sweeping Mitchell Santner for four, and then hit Sodhi back over his head for a four and a six in successive overs. Kohli joined in too, stepping out to hit Sodhi for a massive straight six, and India, once again, were back on track.
Having only scored 20 off the first 40 balls of their partnership, Kohli and Dhoni had added 51 off the next 52 balls, and Kohli had just reached his half-century, when Dhoni was lbw trying to sweep Santner. Manish Pandey, new at the crease, took on deep midwicket in the next over and holed out off Sodhi, and India were beginning to lose a bit of momentum. Then Kohli, looking to up the pace, picked out long-off at the start of the 44th over.
New Zealand may have sensed a chance to dent India further, but Jadhav and Axar prevented that. There weren’t too many boundaries available, with five fielders on the rope and the seamers changing their pace cleverly, but the two batsmen kept the dot balls to a minimum – only playing out eight in a partnership lasting 39 balls. Both also hit a six each, Axar clearing his front leg and launching Southee back over his head, and Jadhav skipping down the pitch to flat-bat Boult over long-on.
Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo