India rout NZ by 9 wickets, take series

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Published: Saturday, December 4, 2010, 16:17 [IST]
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India rout NZ by 9 wickets, take series

Chasing 225 for victory, India made light work of the task with Gambhir notching up an unbeaten 126 off just 117 balls and Kohli giving him adequate support with 63 as India romped home by 9 wickets, taking the match and the five-match series 3-0.

India's innings got off to a blistering start courtesy some splendidly-timed fours from Gambhir's bat. Having hit a boundary off each of the first two overs, he knocked two consecutive fours off Mills in the fifth and India had raced to 36/0.

But Gambhir was intent on taking full advantage of the second power play as well. In the 7th over, he went hammer and tongs after McKay, punishing him with three back-to-back fours. India were 53/0 in 7 overs. But Gambhir wasn't done with business. In the next over, he laid into Franklin, hitting for two consecutive boundaries.

Then in the 10th over, Vijay came to the party. He slapped Franklin for two more fours in successive balls and India were going at over 7 runs an over at 73/0 in the first 10 overs. A four followed almost in every over from then until in the 15th over, Vijay carted Daniel Vettori for a huge six over long on. India had crossed 100 in no time.

In the next over a chance to dismiss Vijay went a begging when the wicketkeeper Gareth Hopkins dropped a tough catch off McCullum's bowling. But Vijay got his just desserts in the 19th over when he was run out, courtesy a good throw from Vettori at short third man. India were 115/1 in 18.4 overs. Then one-down batsman Virat Kohli joined Gambhir to keep up the momentum even though the run-rate had for the first time fallen below 6!

The two batted more cautiously from then on, taking India to 140/1 in 25 overs and were well on course for what is projected to be a crushing victory. Gambhir and Kohli pressed ahead as the former hit a four of Scott Styris to bring up India's 150. Gambhir notched up a century off just 88 balls when he took a run of Styris in the 30th over. Then a boundary came in every over from the 30th the 33rd and India were motoring along without any issues.

In the 37th over, Gambhir and Kohli each helped themselves to a boundary off Vettori, taking India over 200 in the process. With the end in sight, Kohli stepped in the accelerator, hammering Franklin for a four and then a six in consecutive balls. With the first shot, he had brought up his 50 as his good run with the bat continued. Kohli finished off the match in style, carting McKay for a huge six over long on. It was a definitive way to conclude a match that had been dominated by India.

The day began disastrously for a lacklustre New Zealand side. Zaheer Khan who was making his comeback after suffering from a groin injury, was right back in the wickets, getting McCullum out for a duck. Martin Guptill tried to up the scoring rate and biffed a huge six off Khan, but nerves got the better of him and he was run out for 12 with New Zealand in trouble at 19/2.

Ross Taylor tried to build a decent partnership with Kane Williamson, but fell well short of that objective, being caught behind off Zaheer for just 4. Williamson was the next to join him back in the shed for a very slow 20 (off 51 balls) and New Zealand were in tatters at 49/4 in 15.2 overs.

Scott Styris endeavoured to put up a stand with James Franklin, but went to R Ashwin for 22 and the Kiwis were further in trouble at 77/5 in 23 overs. Captain Daniel Vettori didn't get much of a start and was knocked over by Yusuf Pathan for 4 with the score at 96/6. Pathan then struck again to remove Gareth Hopkins for 6, and onslaught continued with the Kiwis at 106/7 in 29.3 overs.

Then there was some respite for the tourists as Franklin and Nathan McCullum found their footing and put on a match-saving partnership of 94 runs, before McCullum was out to a resurgent Ashwin for 43 off 53 balls. Ninth man Kyle Mills biffed a couple of big blows in the death overs, taking New Zealand to 224/9 in 50 overs. It was a respectable total, given that the Kiwis could have been bundled out for a little over 100!

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