New Zealand beat India by seven wickets to take a 3-0 lead and seal victory in the One Day International series between the two countries on Tuesday.
Chasing a total of 279 to win, New Zealand reached the figure with 11 balls to spare (highlights here). Victory sees them claim a first series win at home in five years, if triumphs against the lesser examinations of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are discounted.
Cricket journalist and statistician Mazher Arshad highlighted how good New Zealand's ODI form has been:
In last year or so, NZ the number 8 ODI team has won ODI series in England and South Africa and now beaten India, world champions.— Mazher Arshad (@cricket_U) January 28, 2014
Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum put together a partnership that yielded 92 runs in 55 minutes to leave the Indians reeling and the eventual outcome was extremely comfortable.
The match was ended in a manner befitting of the series, with McCullum hitting a six for New Zealand.
|RG Sharma||c Ronchi||b Williamson||79||94|
|V Kohli||c Neesham||b Southee||2||10|
|AM Rahane||c Southee||b Mills||3||8|
|AT Rayudu||c Ronchi||b Bennett||37||58|
|MS Dhoni*†||not out||79||73|
|R Ashwin||c Bennett||b Southee||5||3|
|RA Jadeja||not out||62||54|
|Extras||(lb 4, w 7)||11|
|MJ Guptill||lbw||b Mohammed Shami||35||27|
|JD Ryder||b Aaron||19||18|
|KS Williamson||run out (Jadeja)||60||82|
|LRPL Taylor||not out||112||127|
|BB McCullum*||not out||49||36|
|Extras||(b 1, w 3, nb 1)||5|
After dismantling India for 278, New Zealand set about a brilliant run chase that saw them reach 54 for 0 in seven overs and then 182 for 2 in 33 overs.
Kane Williamson made his fourth half-century in as many matches in this series, while Taylor enjoyed a stunning innings, hitting a century in style, before finishing on 112.
There was also good support from McCullum who claimed 49 off 36 balls and Martin Guptill who opened with 35 off 27 before departing lbw.
India, who grabbed a thrilling last-ball tie in the third ODI in Auckland, didn't build on the momentum gained, even with their No. 1 position in the rankings on the line, and could only manage 278-5 in their 50 overs.
They dropped Suresh Raina, Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu from the lineup—an admission that they must shake things up to progress—before batting first.
The form of New Zealand bowlers Tim Southee and Kyle Mills kept them in check though, with the duo taking three wickets, bowling three maidens and conceding a paltry 78.
Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni top scored with 79 apiece, while Ravindra Jadeja hit 62 off 54 balls.
This tweet by ESPNcricinfo illustrates just how bad things have got for India:
Misfields, overthrows and a big outfield mix-up - India ragged in the end. Their winless run extends to nine games across formats, all away.— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) January 28, 2014
World champions India now have one game remaining to save some face in Wellington, after being outplayed across the four other ODIs.
The latest result puts Australia back at No. 1 in the ICC ODI rankings with 117 points to India's 115 and leaves the visitors with some big questions to answer before the ODI World Cup.