India seal maiden ODI series win in New Zealand
by Cricketarchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:New Zealand v India
Player:BB McCullum, PD McGlashan, V Sehwag, G Gambhir
Event:India in New Zealand 2008/09

DateLine: 11th March 2009


India registered their maiden ODI series win in New Zealand after routing the hosts by 10 wickets (D/L) in the rain truncated 4th One-dayer in Hamilton. Virender Sehwag was the chief architect as he smashed the fastest ODI century by an Indian to take India to 201 in 23.3 overs in pursuit of 220 in 36 overs in the rain truncated fourth ODI against New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton. He was well supported by Gambhir who compiled a well paced 63 of 67 balls as they tore into a hapless bowling attack. Sehwag broke the record of Mohammad Azharuddin 62-ball 100 that too came against New Zealand at Baroda in 1988.


Earlier New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori won the toss and elected to bat first. Rohit Sharma replaced the injured Sachin Tendulkar and Munaf Patel has been dropped for Ishant Sharma for this match. McCullum, who was initially slow to start, soon took charge of the proceedings and upped the ante with superb improvisations and some breath taking shots. Such was the onslaught that Dhoni was forced to replace his pacers with spin at both ends. Ryder tried to slog sweep but top edged to mid-wicket for Suresh Raina to take a superb catch running backwards to give much relief to the Indians as the pacers had been taken to the cleaners by the Kiwi openers bringing up their team's 100 in 18 overs. Ryder hit 6 fours in his 57-ball 46. Yuvraj dismissed Jesse Ryder to put New Zealand at 102/1 in 19.1 overs.


Yusuf Pathan took the second Kiwi wicket when he had Ross Taylor (5) caught at deep square leg by Rohit Sharma. In the next over by Ishant, Jacob Oram was caught in two minds moving away from his stumps, the ball followed him rising to his chest, and the all-rounder edged to give Dhoni a simple catch. In the first over of the powerplay, Zaheer Khan trapped McCullum plumb in front of the wicket with a yorker. McCullum played superbly for his 95-ball 77 with the help of 7 fours and 2 sixes Ishant Sharma took the fifth Kiwi wicket when he had Martin Guptill (25) caught at third man by substitute Dinesh Karthik. Reeling at 175/5, the Kiwi innings was revived by an unbeaten 95-run stand between Peter McGlashan and Grant Elliott and ended at 270/5. McGlashan hit a six and 6 fours in his 42-ball 56, while Elliott scored an unbeaten 35 off 27 balls with the help of a six and 3 fours.


India were earlier set to chase 281 in 47 overs but after the third rain interruption, the target was revised to 263 in 43 overs and after the fourth rain interruption the target was again revised to 220 runs in 36 overs according to the Duckworth Lewis method. Sehwag was in such brutal form that no bowler looked safe during his tenure at the crease. Sehwag got to his 11th ODI century with a six over long off achieving the milestone off just 60 balls making it the 7th fastest century in ODI history. Sehwag's blitzkrieg knock of 125 runs off 74 balls was studded with 6 sixes and 14 fours at an incredible strike rate of 168.92 and easily overshadowed Gautam Gambhir's 63 of 67 balls, which in comparisons with Sehwag was sedate in nature.


Sehwag got rolling in the second over of the match when he faced Thompson and his gentle pace prompted Sehwag to go after him. Gautam Gambhir complemented his state-mate by rotating the strike at will. Gambhir played an anchor role to be remained unbeaten on 63. Sehwag also became the only Indian to score 3 centuries on New Zealand soil. There was nothing the Kiwi bowlers could do rather than hope that he would miss a straight ball or mistime his shot. But Sehwag could do no wrong that even a miserly bowler like Vettori was not spared. The Indian innings faced its first stoppage in the eleventh over and then on resumption the batsmen immediately opted for the batting powerplay and in that period of play of four overs came whopping 43 runs and that effectively tilted the match in India's favour. The rain came down again in middle of the 20th over when completion of four balls could have constituted a match. But the drizzle was quite hard that players had to go off with immediate effect.


When the game resumed the target was set to 220 in 36 overs. The rain break did not have any effect on Sehwag's concentration as he continued from where he left. Sehwag continued his merry-making and looked to finish off the game before the thirtieth over when the rain came down again. In the end India won the match by 84 runs as per Duckworth/Lewis system. The par score after 23.3 overs was 117. India were 84 ahead of that par score, which explains the result margin. When the game was stopped for the last rain interruption, India were still chasing 220, and they hadn't reached that target yet. Hence they didn't actually achieve the target with ten wickets in hand, they were only ahead of the par score at that stage by 84 runs, which is why the margin of victory is 84 runs, not ten wickets.