NZ clinch eight-wicket win over India
Part-time bowler and big-hitting batsman Jesse Ryder stood out as New Zealand’s champion in an eight-wicket win over India in the fifth and final one-day cricket international in Auckland on Saturday.
Ryder took three for 29 with his miserly bowling and then belted the Indian attack into submission with 63 off 49 balls as New Zealand cantered home with nearly 20 overs in hand.
The consolation win saved New Zealand from the embarrassment of a whitewash as India took the series 3-1 with one game abandoned.
After rain delayed the start and reduced the match to 43 overs each, India were still unable to go the distance and were all out in the 37th over for just 149 after Ryder ripped out the middle order.
They still felt they had an inkling of a chance, when New Zealand’s reply stumbled in the third over with Brendon McCullum bowled by Praveen Kumar.
But McCullum’s departure brought Martin Guptill to the crease and the game quickly disappeared from India’s grasp.
Ryder and Guptill flayed away with Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma bearing the brunt of their onslaught as New Zealand raced to 93 in the 15th over, when Sharma finally broke through.
Ryder played on to his wicket, bringing an end to a whirlwind innings which included six boundaries and four sixes, but by then New Zealand already had the finishing line in sight.
Guptill and Ross Taylor took 50 balls to knock off the remaining 56 runs with Guptill ending the match with a six and four off the last two deliveries from Sharma to finish unbeaten on 57 while Taylor made 28.
When Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss he had no hesitation to bat first and swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag responded with his customary explosive start.
He belted Kyle Mills for six over the cover boundary from the second ball he faced, and the fifth ball he received from Mills received similar treatment.
But the New Zealand new-ball bowler refused to be intimidated and he had the slow-scoring Gautam Gambhir caught behind for five, leaving India one down for 30 in the fifth over.
Sehwag continued in cavalier fashion and in one over from Iain O’Brien he went four, six, four in consecutive balls before being dropped at first slip by Taylor.
India had reason to sense another big score was looming, but the game changed with the introduction of Jacob Oram into the attack.
He claimed Suresh Raina for eight with his fourth ball and in his second over took the prized wicket of Sehwag.
When he saw the batsman charging down the wicket he quickly shortened the length, finding a top edge, which McCullum held at point.
Sehwag scored 40 in his 27-ball innings, including three fours and three sixes.
With India at three for 65, it was Ryder’s turn to step up with his deceptive medium pacers and in the space of six overs India lost three wickets for only 23 runs.
His first victim was Yuvraj Singh, who gave Peter McGlashan his second catch behind the stumps and walked for 11.
Dhoni was bowled by Ryder for nine and Yusuf Pathan lasted four balls before he played on without scoring, and India were reeling at 111 for six after 25 overs.
Their tail never threatened to stabilise the innings.
Rohit Sharma, who ended up as top scorer with an unbeaten 43, called Harbhajan Singh for a second run that was never on and
Harbhajan was run out for one.
Zaheer Khan was run out for five and O’Brien came back to clean up Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma.
The teams now move to Hamilton for the first of three Tests starting on Wednesday.—Sapa-AFP.