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PHOTOS: Rayudu, Pandya power India to victory

Last updated on: February 03, 2019 15:42 IST

Images from the fifth and final One-Day International between New Zealand and India in Wellington on Sunday.

IMAGE: Mahendra Singh Dhoni celebrates after running out James Neesham. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

India overcame a disastrous start to beat New Zealand by 35 runs in the fifth and final One-Day International in Wellington on Sunday and finish the series with a 4-1 scoreline in their favour.

 

Having been reduced to 18 for four, India were rescued by Ambati Rayudu, who top-scored with 90, in the company of Vijay Shankar, who made 45, as the duo forged a 98-run stand to ensure India ended with a fighting 252.

Hardik Pandya's 45 off 22 balls also went a long way in India posting a challenging target before he picked up two wickets with the ball.

IMAGE: India's players celebrate the wicket of Kane Williamson. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

New Zealand batsmen, including skipper Kane Williamson (39), squandered their starts in the chase but the home team remained in the contest until Jimmy Neesham (44 off 32) was dismissed in the 37th over.

His freak run out, which was effected by the ever so sharp Mahendra Singh Dhoni from behind the stumps, came after a lbw appeal was turned down. New Zealand were eventually bowled out for 217 in 44.1 overs when Bhuvneshwar Kumar had lastman Trent Boult caught at thirdman for one.

Leg-spinner Yuvzendra Chahal bowled a brilliant spell in the middle overs, picing up three for 41 runs in 10 overs.

Irrespective of the game's outcome, Rayudu played one of the most significant knocks of his career and made a compelling claim for a World Cup spot.

Trent Boult

IMAGE: Trent Boult runs out Mohammed Shami. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Earlier, it looked Rohit's brave call to bat first had backfired after they lost a few early wickets but Rayudu and Shankar produced an innings-reviving stand under immense pressure.    

Pacer Henry was the standout bowler for the hosts, taking four wickets for 35 runs while Trent Boult picked up three for 39.

After being bowled out for a paltry 92 in the fourth ODI, India had a point to prove.

The visiting team made three changes in the playing eleven. A fit again Dhoni was back in the team in place of Dinesh Karthik while Mohammad Shami and Shankar replaced Khaleel Ahmed and Kuldeep Yadav. The chinaman bowler was rested from the game.

Ambati Rayudu

IMAGE: Ambati Rayudu hits out. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

The new ball swung at the Westpac Stadium, like it did at Hamilton, and troubled the Indian batsmen including the experienced opening pair of Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan.

Boult, who took five wickets in the fourth ODI, and Henry swung the ball at express pace and shared two wickets each to leave India reeling at 18 for four in seven overs. At that stage, another sub-100 total from India looked very much a possibility.

It was a combination of top-class fast bowling and questionable shot selection that led to the top-order failure. Rohit (2) was outdone by a beauty from Henry, the one that moved away from the middle stump line to dislodge the off-stump.

Dhoni (1), playing after the missing the last two games due to injury, was bowled by Boult, a peach of a delivery that swung back late to take the Indian wicketkeeper's off-stump. On the other hand, Shikhar Dhawan slashed one hard to be caught at third man while the young Shubman Gill, getting his second game of the series, scooped a simple catch to the cover fielder.

IMAGE: Trent Boult celebrates after dismissing Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Just when India looked down in the dumps, Rayudu and and Shankar showed admirable fight to weather the storm and lead India's recovery. Initially in the partnership, Shankar looked more comfortable while Rayudu focused on blocking. The Tamil Nadu all-rounder was sent ahead of Kedar Jadhav at number six, indicating the team management's faith in his abilities.

It was unfortunate for Shankar to miss out on well-deserved fifty as he got run out after a mix-up with Rayudu.

At the other end, Rayudu began to play his strokes and hammered Colin de Grandhomme for two consecutive boundaries to bring up his 10th ODI fifty. A little later, he smashed Colin Munro for successive sixes before he perished after trying to hit another one out of the park. Rayudu's crucial knock comprised eight fours and four sixes.

Pandya took the centrestage after Rayudu's fall and once again showed what he brings to the table late the innings.

Pandya's brute power was on full display when he whacked leggie Todd Astle for three sixes in as many balls. The all-rounder did not even spare the in-form Boult, pulling him over midwicket for another maximum. His cameo included two fours and five sixes.

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