India appreciate ‘Nayi Soch’
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Players of the Indian team sported jerseys with their mother’s name printed on the back during the fifth ODI against New Zealand at Visakhapatnam. The gesture came in response to an ad campaign launched by Star India called ‘Nayi Soch’, that highlights the importance of mothers all over the country. Openers Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma then walked out to bat with ‘Sujata’ and ‘Purnima’ written above their jersey numbers instead of their surnames which refer to their fathers’ family names.
Rohit fifty keeps India afloat
Rohit Sharma’s scores in the series prior to the final ODI were 14, 15, 13 and 11, a far cry from how he usually performs in the ODIs. Being the more experienced of the two openers, he was also one of the prime reasons why India’s start was sluggish throughout the series. So when it came to the series decider, ‘The Hitman’ found his old self and scored a crucial half-century. Crucial, because it wasn’t the easiest of surfaces to bat on.
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Even though India’s start was slow, Rohit timed a couple of good hits – a six over long off and a boundary towards square leg. The floodgates though really opened when Rohit advanced to Sodhi and sent him over the sidescreen. Having twisted his ankle while diving for a single, he accelerated the innings with poised support from Kohli. With a cracking cut, Rohit brought up his 29th fifty in ODIs. A forward punch for six off Neesham stood out.
Timely partnerships save India the blushes
That India put on 269 on the board owes largely to three pivotal partnerships during the innings. The first was between Rohit and Virat Kohli who put on a run-a-ball 79. The pair batted with caution when the scoring seemed difficult and later on with aggression once they got their eye in. After the fall of Rohit’s wicket, Kohli got together with India’s newest No. 4 MS Dhoni and added another 71 important runs.
India found themselves at the wrong end of the tunnel once they lost Dhoni and later Kohli with the score on 220. But some lower-order blows from Kedar Jadhav and Axar Patel was equally detrimental to India’s total. Jadhav scored two fours and a six, and along with Axar, added 46 runs in the fag end of the innings.
Pandey caps off disappointing series with a nought
Manish Pandey was quite the cynosure of all eyes after his match-winning hundred in Australia earlier this year in January. But this series was a forgettable one for the explosive Karnataka batsman. He had a chance to cement a place in the Playing XI with the uncertainty over Suresh Raina. But his scores this series read unsatisfactory numbers: 17, 19, 28*, 12 and 0 here in Vizag. The manner on which he got out was further infuriating. India had just lost Dhoni and needed him to partner Kohli, who was going well. But off the fifth ball, he slog swept Ish Sodhi and slog swept him to Trent Boult and deep-midwicket. It’s a golden chance thrown away especially with India needing someone new to take over the role of a finisher.
Umesh gets Guptill again
In the fourth ODI at Ranchi, Martin Guptill shrugged off his poor form. New Zealand would have expected him to carry it forward here as well but Umesh Yadav had other plans. He cleaned up Guptill in almost a replay from the dismissal at Kotla. Like the second ODI, Umesh bowled a similar ball, moving away at the last moment. Guptill brought his bat down but the ball shaped away slightly, beat the edge, clipped his thigh guard and disturbed the woodwork. More importantly, New Zealand lost their first wicket without a score on the board and it led to something quite dramatic.
New Zealand slump to one of their worst collapses
Chasing 270 to win, New Zealand dished out a rather sub-standard performance, and from 63/2, lost their final eight wickets for all of 16 runs. New Zealand were overwhelmed by the Indian spinners and folded for 79, their fifth-lowest total in ODIs. It wasn’t that the surface was that bad to bat on. In fact, for a moment Kane Willimson made batting look easy. But when he went, it all went downhill from there. Only thee batmen got to double figures, while five registered ducks.
Mishra magic floors New Zealand
Amit Mishra is usually warming the benches when R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are part of the squad. In this series, he has proven why India need to take him seriously even in the presence of the two premier spinners. Mishra led the Indian bowling pack with a second five-wicket-haul in ODIs that earned him the Man-of-the-Match award. He generated vicious turn on a few occasions and kept attacking the stumps. Result: 5/18. The wicket of BJ Watling in particular was a treat to the eyes. Mishra set him up well. He bowled consecutive legbreaks and followed it with a perfect googly that went between Watling’s bat and pad and crashed onto the stumps. He was also named Man of the Series for picking up 15 wickets.