What a nerve-wracking decider it turned out to be at the Green Park. In Kanpur, both team fought hard and played some exceptional brand of cricket during the India-New Zealand 3rd ODI. But it was the Men in Blue who eventually prevailed by six runs to seal the match and the series. It has been a magnificent comeback by the home team especially after losing the opening encounter quite comprehensively.
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli scored centuries for India as the home team posted a daunting total of 337 on the board at the end of their allotted 50 overs. New Zealand was in the chase for the majority of the game. But there was a sensational piece of death bowling by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah prevented the Kiwis to create history.
Rohit missed out in the first two matches but made amends in the 3rd. And the final encounter today has sealed a brilliant 147 to announce his return to form. He was simply magnificent during his stay and paced his innings to perfection. Most magnificently, he began with a few beautiful drives and looked in complete command from the outset. Next, he struck the occasional big shots whenever the run rate went down. As a result of which, he never allowed the pressure to mount for India.
After completing his 15th ODI century, Rohit went berserk and started finding the gaps on a consistent basis as there was no stopping him. He was in line for yet another double century. But eventually, after making 147, he was holed out in the deep in an attempt to clear the ropes. His innings came off 138 deliveries and was studded with 18 fours and a couple of sixes.
Kohli has been in sensational form and carried on from where he left in the opening encounter. It was another crafty innings which were built around another great knock by Rohit Sharma. Kohli began with some terrific drives and never looked in any discomfort what so ever. Along with Rohit, the duo was looking to set a daunting target for the Kiwis.
He relied more on the singles and doubles but also struck the boundaries whenever the pressure was mounting. He reached yet another century but soon after reaching the landmark he was dismissed while trying to score quick runs. His innings of 113 came off 106 deliveries which contained nine fours and a solitary six.
Opener Colin Munro struck a magnificent 75 during his stay in the innings. He tormented the Indian bowlers especially the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. In the last few months, Kumar has been a sensational limited overs specialist. He struck his very first ball for a huge six over the square leg region and repeated the same shot to Bhuvi a few overs later.
He looked in ominous touch and was looking to take the game away from the hosts until Yuzvendra Chahal bamboozled him with a big leg break which breached his defense and disturbed the timbers.
Southpaw Tom Latham played yet another magnificent knock and almost handed New Zealand their first ever series victory on Indian soil. He looked in excellent touch and hardly any bowlers troubled him. Also, he was finding the gaps quite consistently which didn’t allow the pressure to mount as far as the visitors were concerned.
He struck some exceptional shots square of the wicket whenever he got a room. The Kiwi made full use of the Indian bowlers’ loose deliveries. He almost took New Zealand within touching distance of the Indian target. But an uncharacteristic lapse in concentration cost New Zealand badly as Bumrah ran out Latham. His well-constructed innings of 65 came off 52 deliveries which included seven hits to the fence.
Despite a mediocre day in the office, Bhuvneshwar Kumar made a stunning comeback in his final two overs. Along with Jasprit Bumrah, the duo prevented New Zealand from scoring 35 in their last four overs. Bhuvneshwar conceded five runs in the 47th over and castled Henry Nicholls with a brilliant Yorker.
Bumrah backed it up with another great over as the visitors needed 25 of the last 2. Bhuvneshwar despite conceding a six in the penultimate over managed to keep the New Zealand batsmen to 10 runs.
Bumrah bowled a sensational final over as the Yorkers, and slower deliveries perfectly came out of his hand. India eventually managed to win by six runs and sealed the series by a 2-1 mark.