Hamilton: A significant sixth-wicket partnership of 95 runs between Peter McGlashan (56) and Grant Elliot (35) helped New Zealand finish with a competitive total of 270-5 against the formidable Indians in a do-or-die contest for the hosts, the fourth one-day international of the series at Seddon Park here on Wednesday.
Two rain interventions during the New Zealand innings curtailed the game to a 47-over per side contest. India require 281 runs (D/L method) to clinch a 3-0 series victory – their first-ever ODI series victory on New Zealand soil.
INDIA’S TOUR OF NEW ZEALAND
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Fourth ODI – Seddon Park, Hamilton
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Young wicketkeeper batsman McGlashan, playing in his hometown, impressed with his innovative strokeplay, shuffling around the crease and hustling the quick singles and twos. He cracked his maiden half-century after being promoted up the order by skipper Vettori.
The last over of the innings saw 16 runs slammed off Harbhajan Singh – giving the fans at Hamilton a lot to cheer about.
Fast bowlers Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan helped India claw back into the contest after Brendon McCullum threatened to take the game away from the visitors.
Firstly, in the first over of the battng powerplay, it was Zaheer who trapped the dangerous McCullum (77) leg-before wicket to curtail the momentum in the Black Caps’ innings. It was an animated appeal by Zaheer after McCullum was struck on the full by a yorker on the leg-stump. McCullum tried to work the ball towards the on-side but got struck on the boot and was plumb in front.
However the decision didn’t come easily to India as Zaheer appealed with wholehearted intensity before the umpire was convinced. It ended yet another stellar knock by the New Zealand vice-captan.
Dhoni had granted McCullum a life when he was on 43 by missing a simple stumping chance in the 16th over and in the 30th over, Virender Sehwag dropped a catch at mid-wicket when the Kiwi opener was on 68. On both the occasions, Yuvraj Singh was the bowler.
Jacob Oram, who has failed to create an impact in the series, departed soon after McCullum. Dhoni brought back Ishant into the attack and was rewarded for his snappy decision. Oram tried to steer an away going delivery to third-man but edged the delivery to Dhoni.
Ishant snatched the fifth Kiwi wicket when he had Martin Guptill (25) caught at third man by substitute Dinesh Karthik.
Brendon McCullum during his half-century © AFPJesse Ryder, who scored a century at Wellington, looked in ominous touch, having raced along to 46 runs off 57 balls until part-time spinner Yuvraj Singh dismissed him and helped India pull things back a little in the fourth one-dayer on Wednesday.
Ryder’s departure left the onus on Brendon McCullum, who brought up his 15th one-day century and helped consolidate the brisk start by New Zealand. The opening duo of Ryder and McCullum added 102 runs. Soon after, Ross Taylor (5) holed out to deep mid-wicket off Yusuf Pathan’s bowling as Rohit Sharma snapped an easy chance.
Yuvraj flighted the ball and enticed Ryder into going for an unorthodox slog sweep, but he top-edged the ball as Raina took neat catch at square leg. New Zealand lost a considerable amount of momentum due to the two back-to-back dismissals.
Earlier, Daniel Vettori won a rare toss for New Zealand in the five-match series against India and chose to bat first in the fourth one-day international at the Seddon Park in Hamilton on Wednesday.
Having won 90% of their games at the venue, the hosts received a huge boss in the must-win tie with the return of skipper Vettori, who missed the previous game due to paternity reasons. Left-arm fast bowler Ewen Thompson and Ian O’Brien return to the playing XI while Tim Southee and Ian Butler sit out of the contest.
For India on the other hand, Ishant Sharma gets his first game of the one-day series after recovering from his injury while Rohit Sharma replaces the injured Sachin Tendulkar. Munaf Patel was left out of the playing XI.
For 28 years since they began playing ODI cricket in New Zealand, India have never won a tri-series or a bilateral series. Now comes the biggest opportunity for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men to rewrite history of the ground as well as of the Men in Blue in Kiwi land.
“It will be tricky for New Zealand because they don’t know what target to set. I should be interesting to see how they bat first. Ishant Sharma comes in for Munaf Patel and Rohit Sharma replaces the injured Tendulkar,” Dhoni said at the toss.
India: Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain, wicketkeeper) Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma,
New Zealand):Brendon McCullum, Jesse Ryder, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Jacob Oram, Grant Elliot, Peter McGlashan (wicketkeeper), Daniel Vettori (captain) Ian O’Brien, Kyle Mills, Ewen Thompson
Umpires: Rudi Koertzen, Gary Baxter. Third umpire: Evan Watkin. Fourth umpire: C Gaffaney.
Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle.