Hamilton, Jan 28: India slumped to their second consecutive series defeat overseas as New Zealand rode on Ross Taylor's unbeaten century to thrash the visitors by seven wickets in the fourth one-dayer and take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match rubber here today.
Chasing 279 for victory, the Kiwis reached 280 for three in 48.1 overs with Taylor scoring a match-winning 127-ball 112 not out to take the hosts home with 11 balls to spare.
Taylor also shared two important partnerships - first with Kane Williamson (60) putting on 130-run for the third wicket and then with skipper Brendon McCullum (49 not out), an unbroken 92 runs for the fourth wicket.
For India, Mohammed Shami (1/61) and Varun Aaron (1/51) were the only wicket-takers but they proved to be extremely expensive.
Ravindra Jadeja (0/33) and R Ashwin (0-41) bowled economically, but couldn't claim a wicket, which proved to be costly.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0/62) too proved to be ineffective. Stuart Binny (0/8) and Ambati Rayudu (0/23) didn't get second spells.
Earlier, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja had produced magnificent late onslaught after opener Rohit Sharma scored a half-century, to guide India to 278 for five in their allotted 50 overs.
In reply, New Zealand got off to a rollicking start with Jesse Ryder and Martin Guptill mistreating the Indian bowling attack.
The two of them scored a flurry of boundaries, especially off Mohammed Shami's bowling, and together hit 10 fours and a six in their opening stand of 54 runs.
But once again Ryder failed to sustain and was bowled in the eight over by first-change Varun Aaron. He scored 19 off 18 balls with four boundaries.
Guptill was gone four runs later in the never next over, as Shami extracted his revenge from the opposite end, trapping the Auckland centurion LBW.
He scored 35 off 27 balls (6X4, 1X6). Williamson and Taylor thereafter capitalised on the platform laid by the openers.
Dhoni and Jadeja produced magnificent late onslaught after opener Rohit Sharma scored a half-century, to help India post 278 for five.
The visitors lost their top order quickly, but Rohit rebuilt the innings with a 94-ball 79, before Dhoni (79 not out) and Jadeja (62 not out) put on a fighting 127-run stand for the unbroken sixth wicket to set a target of 279 for the Kiwis in what is a must-win game for India to keep the series alive.
India are trailing 0-2 after losing the first two ODIs and tying the third game in this five-match series.
For the hosts, Tim Southee (2 for 36) was the pick of the bowlers, while Kyle Mills (1 for 42) provided an able support. Kane Williamson (1/26) and Hamish Bennett (1/67), too, picked up wicket apiece but the latter was very expensive.
Earlier, Dhoni won the toss and opted to bat, a change from the team's usual policy in the first three ODIs on this tour.
They also made two changes, dropping both Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina, and bringing in Ambati Rayudu and Stuart Binny, who was handed his first ODI cap.
In the absence of Dhawan, Virat Kohli came out to open the innings with Rohit Sharma. India got off to a very slow start as the Black Caps kept a tight leash and runs only came in a trickle.
In the fourth over with only five runs on the board, Kohli (2) got frustrated by this non-scoring and went after a short delivery from Southee, mistiming his pull to be caught at mid-wicket by Neesham.
Ajinkya Rahane (3), too, moved up the order, coming in at number three, and he also became a victim of runs-not-flowing.
He pulled straight to Southee at fine-leg off Mills. Rohit took his time settling in but he was lucky to have survived a couple of dropped chances.
India dropped struggling batsmen Suresh Raina and Shikhar Dhawan. Captain Dhoni won the toss yet again and for a change, opted to bat first.
All-rounder Stuart Binny was handed debut while Ambati Rayudu also returned for India. Binny is the 200th ODI player for India. His father Roger made his ODI debut in 1980.
Virat Kohli opened the batting with Rohit Sharma at the Seddon Park.
With a lead of 2-0 in the five-match series, the hosts opted to rest big-hitting all-rounder Corey Anderson and also left-arm seamer Mitchell McClenaghan. James Neesham and Kyle Mills came in.
India need to win today to keep the series alive. The first two ODIs were won by the Kiwis while the third ended in a thrilling tie.
India: MS Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Stuart Binny, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Varun Aaron, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (captain), Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi (wickekeepter), Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Hamish Bennett, Tim Southee.