India seal series 3-0, beat New Zealand by seven wickets in third ODI


India delivered a comfortable victory against New Zealand in the third ODI on Monday in Mount Maunganui as the visitors won by seven wickets to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

India sent out a loud and clear message ahead of the World Cup 2019 by dominating the Black Caps in the third ODI as Rohit Sharma (62) and skipper Virat Kohli (60) hit half-centuries after New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat at Bay Oval, adding 113 runs for the second wicket to set up the victory in only 43 overs.

After Shikhar Dhawan’s dismissal for 28, Rohit opened up and slammed his 39th half-century including three boundaries and two sixes before being stumped off Mitchell Santner’s bowling. Meanwhile, Kohli, who brought up his 49th ODI half-century, also hit six fours and a six before Henry Nicholls took a brilliant catch to dismiss him off Trent Boult’s bowling.

Dinesh Karthik (38, 38 balls) and Ambati Rayudu (40, 42 balls) also contributed in India’s chase of 244 runs with an unbroken 77-run stand for the fourth wicket to steer the team home.

This was a perfect end to Kohli’s final match of his tour Down Under as the Indian captain has been given a break as part of BCCI’s workload management programme.

Hardik Pandya, who made a return after being provisionally suspended for his sexist and racist comments on a TV show, justified his selection by delivering figures of 2/45 in 10 overs and helping the visitors restrict New Zealand for 243 in 49 overs.

Mohammed Shami (3/41 in 9 overs) provided the initial breakthrough as Colin Munro (7) edged one to Rohit Sharma in the slip cordon while Bhuvneshwar Kumar delievered figures of 2/46 in 9 overs as an injured MS Dhoni was replaced by Dinesh Karthik behind the stumps.

Except for efforts by Ross Taylor (93 off 106 balls) and Tom Latham (51 off 64 balls), New Zealand failed to find the solution against the Indian attack, yet again.