India v New Zealand, 3rd ODI Review: Kohli, Dhoni ensure a smooth victory for India

Virat Kohli India
Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Virat Kohli produced yet another masterclass during a chasing effort to help India beat New Zealand by 7 wickets in the 3rd ODI at the PCA Stadium at Mohali and take a 2-1 lead in the 5 match series. Chasing 286 runs is always challenging but India had very few things to bother about today as they scripted a simple victory riding on Kohli’s magnificent 154 and MS Dhoni’s entertaining 80 from 91 balls.

The first two ODI were about India’s dominance and New Zealand desire to fight back. This saw the series getting tied at 1-1. But, India was in no mood to let the winning momentum slip away easily. New Zealand began the defence on a bright note. The new ball pair of Matt Henry and Tim Southee landed early blows to India making openers Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma for cheap scores. But, this ominous departure of both openers was actually a blessing in disguise for India as Virat Kohli combined with MS Dhoni and set up India’s victory with a wonderful 151 runs stand for the 3rd wicket.

The duo didn’t start as extravagantly as they played later on in the evening. Virat Kohli survived a scare when Ross Taylor dropped a simple catch in the 5th over. The catch proved to be too costly for the Black Caps evidently. Dhoni opted to stick with hs tried and tested method of building the innings before going full throttle.

India had very little to worry as the game progressed. Two of India’s biggest chaser had combined and were leading with without any trouble. Kohli and Dhoni did what they do the best  -farm the strike and keep the scoreboard moving. The Kiwi bowlers completely rendered ineffective.

Meanwhile, MS Dhoni went on a record breaking spree. First of all. Dhoni reached the 9000 runs milestone becoming the 5th India to do so. Later, he surpassed Ricky Ponting to achieve the record for the most number of ODI sixes as a captain. He also overtook Sachin Tendulkar to become the most number of ODI sixes by an Indian.

Dhoni eventually departed in the 36th over to leave Virat Kohli with the responsibility to complete the match; which he did in style. Kohli proceeded to complete his 27th century and later raced to his 2nd 150 plus score and successfully helped India chase the target with 10 balls to spare.

Earlier, after losing the toss for the seventh time in the series, New Zealand was put to bat by MS Dhoni. Martin Guptill gave New Zealand a quick start after a couple slow overs. He quickly showed a liking for the pitch which offered trusted bounce and attacking approach meant that India was denied any early success in the powerplay overs. Guptill looked in sync and had already sent two mammoth sixes, both off Pandya’s bowling.

But, India didn’t have to wait for long for its first success. Umesh Yadav broke through when he swung one back into trap Guptill lbw just four balls after the end of the power play. Skipper Kane Williamson, who struck a match-winning century in the previous ODI, got off to a start and proceeded to make 22 before MS Dhoni new found trump card – part-time off-spinner Kedar Jadhav – made Williams perish.

The struggling Ross Taylor was able to offer some support. The experienced middle order man made 44 and shared a third-wicket stand of 73 with Tom Latham to lay a solid platform. But, Ms Dhoni swift hands behind the wickets brought India the much-needed breakthrough. In the 29th over, Amit Mishra’s beautifully flighted leg break lured Taylor to come forward and beat the leading edge to get him stumped cleanly by Dhoni. Taylor’s dismissal triggered a collapse.

Part-timer Jadhav struck again with the important wicket of Corey Anderson. The Mishra – Dhoni combination worked again as Luke Ronchi was stumped in yet another piece of lightning work behind the stumps by Dhoni. New Zealand slid to 161 for 5 from 152/2. Latham tried to keep the fight going and brought with his fifth international half-century of the tour before the golden arm of Jadhav brought yet another wicket for India.

New Zealand went down to 199 for 8 when Tim Southee played on a short ball from Yadav to the stumps. But, there was some late fightback from the Black Caps. James Neesham biffed 57 off 47 balls and put together 84 for the ninth wicket with Matt Henry who also struck a 37 ball 39 to help New Zealand recovered to 285 eventually.