A magnificent late rally from Ravindra Jadeja saw India snatch a tie in a pulsating 3rd ODI at Auckland. Jadeja helped India to 17 runs from the final over and they remain 2-0 down in the series.
After securing a draw in such dramatic circumstances here, India will feel they have the momentum to turn the series around and eventually finish on level terms.
The hosts posted an imposing total of 314, with a magnificent 111 from Martin Guptill proving to be the bedrock of a stellar New Zealand batting effort. The opener also pulled off a stunning catch late-on as India looked to claw their way back into proceedings
India seemed dead and buried when they lost their dynamic skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for 50, but Ravichandran Ashwin (65) and Jadeja (66 not out) put together a marvellous seventh-wicket partnership, before Jadeja’s final over heroics got the hosts onto level terms.
|3rd ODI New Zealand vs. India at Auckland|
|New Zealand 314 (50 Overs)|
|MJ Guptill||c Rahane b Jadeja||111||129||12||2|
|JD Ryder||b Kumar||20||12||4||0|
|KS Williamson||b Mohammed Shami||65||74||4||1|
|CJ Anderson||b Ashwin||8||5||0||1|
|LRPL Taylor||run out (Rahane)||17||18||2||0|
|BB McCullum*||c Ashwin b Aaron||0||3||0||0|
|L Ronchi†||c Rahane b Jadeja||38||20||3||3|
|NL McCullum||run out (Jadeja/Dhawan)||1||3||0||0|
|TG Southee||run out (Kohli/†Dhoni)||27||23||1||3|
|MJ McClenaghan||c Jadeja b Mohammed Shami||3||6||0||0|
|HK Bennett||not out||3||7||0||0|
|Extras||(lb 10, w 11)||21|
|Total||(all out; 50 overs)||314|
|India 314/9 (50 Overs)|
|RG Sharma||c Bennett b Anderson||39||38||1||4|
|S Dhawan||c Guptill b Anderson||28||25||4||1|
|V Kohli||c †Ronchi b Bennett||6||20||1||0|
|AM Rahane||c †Ronchi b Anderson||3||14||0||0|
|SK Raina||c †Ronchi b Southee||31||39||3||0|
|MS Dhoni*†||c Southee b Anderson||50||60||2||3|
|R Ashwin||c Guptill b NL McCullum||65||46||8||1|
|RA Jadeja||not out||66||45||5||4|
|B Kumar||c NL McCullum b Bennett||4||3||1||0|
|Mohammed Shami||c Williamson b Anderson||2||7||0||0|
|VR Aaron||not out||2||3||0||0|
|Extras||(b 1, lb 3, w 14)||18|
|Total||(9 wickets; 50 overs)||314|
|ESPN Cric Info|
Dhoni won the toss and put the hosts into bat. Whilst Guptill played conservatively to begin with, fellow opener Jesse Ryder looked to get on top of the Indian bowlers and bat in typically aggressive fashion.
He struck four fours in the 12 deliveries he faced, but he eventually departed when Bhuvneshwar Kumar got one to shape back into him and make a mess of his stumps.
Kane Williamson came in at No. 3, and he and Guptill went about making up the bulk of the New Zealand batting total. The scoring rate naturally dropped without the dynamic Ryder at the crease, but the duo played with poise and patience throughout the early part of the innings. They kept the scoreboard ticking over and set up an excellent foundation for the big-hitters to come in late on.
In the 34th over with the score on 189-1, Williamson fell for an excellent 65 as he looked to take risks and up the tempo. His replacement at the crease failed to last too long, as the dangerous Corey Anderson was bowled by Ashwin for just eight.
Guptill finally fell for 111 after trying to smash Jadeja out of the ground and the New Zealand opener departed to a standing ovation. His knock was a classic ODI innings from an opening batsman; starting off slowly before accelerating the scoring rate towards the conclusion of the 50 overs.
But star men Ross Taylor (17) and Brendan McCullum (nought) came and went and it looked as though the hosts’ middle-order were going to waste the wonderful platform provided by Williamson and Guptill.
That was until Luke Ronchi strode out to the crease. The New Zealand 'keeper bludgeoned three fours and three sixes in his score of 38 from just 20 balls, and he injected some impetus into the final knockings of the Kiwi innings.
He was ably assisted by Tim Southee, who scored 27 from 23 deliveries, and the tourists were staring down the barrel of a 300-plus chase. The hosts eventually finished with a score of 314.
The Indian response got off to a wonderful start. Both Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma looked to play positively, with the latter smashing four sixes in his spell at the crease, and they seemed to be going well with the score at 64-0 in the tenth over.
But Dhawan fell to the bowling of Anderson for 28 and his opening partner went not long after for 39.
With both openers gone, the Indian effort started to lose it’s momentum. Virat Kohli (six) and Ajinkya Rahane (three) both departed for single figure scores, and at 79-4, a winning target of 315 looked a long way off.
The life was sapped out of the Indian innings and things got worse when Suresh Raina went for 31. Dhoni batted well and looked to be setting himself up for a bit of a blast. But after passing 50, he too was back in the hutch with Southee taking a wonderful catch on the boundary.
With Dhoni departed, Indian hopes seemed to be dashed. But a remarkable seventh-wicket partnership between Jadeja and Ashwin offered up a glimmer of hope.
The duo played with purpose and inventiveness, dragging India back into the game in the process. Ashwin bagged his first ever ODI half-century and at 269-6 with 5.1 overs to go, India were beginning to look like the favourites.
But some magnificent work from Guptill on the boundary seemed to end any chance of an Indian victory. Ashwin’s slog to the leg-side boundary looked to be flying for six, but Guptill grasped the ball with one hand, over-balanced across the boundary, threw it back into the air into play, before composing himself, casually stepping back over the boundary and catching the ball again. Cool as you like.
It was an inspirational piece of play that looked to have won the game, not to mention the series for the hosts. And with India nine wickets down needing 18 runs to win, nobody could foresee the final over caranage.
Other than Jadeja, perhaps. He hit the first ball of the over for four, and that seemed to heap pressure on Corey Anderson, who otherwise bowled well for his 5-63.
Anderson then bowled a wide, followed up by a couple of dot balls. But another wide gave hope to Jadeja who clipped the next delivery down to fine leg for four. Then, he clobbered a short pitched ball into the stands for a maximum.
It left India needing two from the final ball. Jadeja failed to get the ball away, but they managed to run through for a single and tie the game in wholly dramatic circumstances.
India must win the final two ODIs if they are to avoid a series defeat, whilst New Zealand will wonder quite how they managed to let that one slip by.