Hamilton: New Zealand set India a target of 281 (D/L) runs for victory in their rain-affected fourth ODI in Hamilton on Wednesday.
Frequent rain interruptions during the New Zealand innings curtailed the game to a 47-over per side contest. India require 281 runs (D/L method) to clinch a 3-0 series victory – their first-ever ODI series victory on New Zealand soil.
A crucial sixth-wicket partnership of 95 runs between Peter McGlashan (56) and Grant Elliot (35) helped New Zealand finish with a competitive total of 270-5 against India.
Ishant Sharma struck twice in quick succession to put New Zealand on the backfoot after the hosts took off strongly riding on their swashbuckling openers, Ryder and McCullum.
Zaheer Khan was also rewarded for his brilliant bowling consistently when Brendon McCullum was wrapped on the pads plumb in front of the wickets for 71. He had started off pretty slow but took the charge after setting his eyes in and had pummeled the Indian bowling to all corners of the park.
McCullum"s knock could well be credited to the sloppy effort in the field by the Indian team. He was dropped twice by different fieldsmen but the bowler remained the same - Yuvraj Singh. Dhoni had missed a stumping chance early in the innings and then it was Sehwag who had dropped the batsman off the same bowler. He also took the NZ total past the 150 run mark.
Earlier, after toiling hard for over 19 overs, the Indian team finally got a breakthrough in the form of the explosive Jesse Ryder who was caught by Suresh Raina off Yuvraj Singh. He scored 46.
Soon after that, Ross Taylor perished to Yusuf Pathan when he caught by Rohit Sharma in the deep for 5. Two quick wickets suddenly seem to have put India back in the game after the NZ openers looked like batting India out of the game completely.
New Zealand had got off to a steady start with both their openers Jesse Ryder and Brendon McCullum playing cautiously and aggressively, Ryder in particular. The duo took the team"s total past the 100 run mark in the 18th over.
The Kiwi skipper had won the toss and decided to give his team a chance to bat for the first time in the ODI series. India have batted first on all the three occasions in the ODI series and India have managed to post big totals on the board.