New Zealand v India, 4th ODI, Hamilton January 28, 2014

Taylor ton delivers series triumph


Crowe: NZ have dominated through the series

New Zealand 280 for 3 (Taylor 112* Williamson 60, B McCullum 49*) beat India 278 for 5 (Dhoni 79*, Rohit 79, Jadeja 62*) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

It took its time coming, it tested a few nerves, but New Zealand finally sealed their first series win at home in five years, not counting the ones against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. They should have won it three nights ago, they should probably have won it more comfortably tonight after having reduced India to 278 and then reached 54 for 0 in seven overs and 182 for 2 in 33. They will be thankful that they had their two most consistent batsmen - Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson - in the middle when Ravindra Jadeja started to turn the ball square after he himself gave India a fighting total with 62 off 54, a much more assured innings than the one that tied the previous match to keep India alive.

Williamson now has four half-centuries in four matches in this series, and Taylor made up for missing out on one in Auckland by turning this into a big one once he crossed 50. Taylor's innings was exceptional in its discipline: he didn't try his favourite slog-sweep, in fact he scored just 10 runs in his midwicket arc. Most of his runs came behind and in front of square on the off side. India couldn't be accused of showing similar discipline when they batted, but they were also put under pressure by a superbly disciplined start by Kyle Mills and Tim Southee, which led to their repetition of the shot that has been getting them out. Between them Southee and Mills bowled three maidens, took three wickets, and conceded just 78.

India surprised everyone by not only getting rid of their stubbornness but going to the other end. Not only did they drop Suresh Raina, which was long overdue, they also left out Shikhar Dhawan for Ambati Rayudu, and decided to bat first after having invited the opposition 20 straight times outside Asia. With no specialist opener in the side, India moved everyone up by one spot, which meant India's best batsman was now opening.

However, the opening spells that Mills and Southee bowled would have frustrated the best of openers. There was nothing to drive or cut, forget getting too straight, and India would have had to take a risk if they were going to score. The first risk was taken to the first short ball bowled, and all Kohli managed was a top edge off Southee. Soon Mills got a similar response from Ajinkya Rahane. In between the two dismissals, Rohit became desperate, somehow hit the first boundary of the innings, enjoyed a drop from Taylor, and India still reached only 28 in 10 overs.

More good luck, and some classy Rohit shots, followed, and a 79-run partnership shored India up. However, the luck soon ran out. Rayudu top-edged Hamish Bennett, and in an ironical turn of events Rohit edged Kane Williamson for a catch down the leg side. Of all the bowlers, of all the manners. From 151 for 5, India came back remarkably with two batsmen who applied themselves before taking 100 off the last 10 overs. Say what you will about the strategy, Dhoni proved his batting worth with a third fifty in a row. Jadeja, at the other end, showed Auckland was no fluke, and played the cleanest knock of the three fifties in the Indian innings.

It was a good comeback if you look at the way India began: two boundaries and 28 runs in 10 overs. New Zealand hit two fours in the first over, reached 28 in the fourth, and were well on their way to hammer India when Jesse Ryder paid once again for his tendency to stay leg side of the ball in order to create room for his off-side hits. That played-on dismissal was followed by Martin Guptill's lbw - the first such dismissal of the series - and India now had an opening.

The opening began to look wider when Jadeja turned the first ball he bowled across Williamson. He beat the bat three times in the first over. R Ashwin provided good support from the other end. The second 10 overs of New Zealand's innings were the most crucial period of the match. Both Williamson and Taylor played with utmost caution, scored just the 30 runs, saw the asking rate reach 6.13, but didn't give the spinners a wicket.

You would have expected Dhoni to take one of the spinners off and continue attacking with one, but he completely took the pressure off by removing both Jadeja and Ashwin. Suddenly all the pressure was eased, and Taylor and Williamson - 24 off 37 and 17 off 38 respectively - cashed in. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron and Rayudu all conceded boundaries as 63 runs came in the nine overs before Ashwin was brought back.

By that time, you would have thought, the game was over, but Jadeja turned it around with a run-out off his own bowling. Another nervous period followed as Brendon McCullum, searching for form, on a hat-trick of ducks, fumbled around a little and the asking rate went past six again. Taylor, though, stood firm at the other end, and guided his captain through hitting timely fours to keep the requirement within reach.

The next call of duty was to play out the two remaining overs of Jadeja. That done, the two finished their highest-successful chase against India in style, turning what had looked nervous into a comfortable win with 11 balls to spare.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Syed on January 29, 2014, 23:32 GMT

    BCCI should not waste their money by sending Indial players outside the Asian sub continent. Atleast they will not bring grief to their ardent cricket fans.BCCI should use their muscle power to ensure that all matches,tournaments including world cups nvolving India should be played in India because our players do not have the skill to succesfully play on fast bouncy pitches...

  • sateesh on January 29, 2014, 23:22 GMT

    In my opinion the performance of Team Ind in 4th odi is the worst of the series so far. First three games were close or entertaining. Defending 278 for the ind bowlers is almost asking for a miracle as they been leaking 300+ in almost every game no matter which pitch for past one year. Really feel sorry for Dhoni and specially Ind cricket fans(as being one myself). As some of the posts suggest BCCI should make an effort to get some of the players, specially bowlers to play in out side sub continent tournaments to get experience. Our batting is strong but with some flaws which can do with a bit of patience, advice and corrections by the coaching staff or the veterans. Overall am happy with team Ind performance in the series except the 4th odi, they have been very competitive despite having a toothless bowling attack.

  • R on January 29, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    Dear Dhoni, As expressed by many Indian fans like me, it is very disheartening to see such poor performance from your team. As we've seen your batters consistently get out to the "Short" balls and it is well known to the world cricket teams that Indian batter are NOT good players of the "Short" balls. So, here is my advise to just "duck" from those "short" balls and stay away from them at least during the first 25 overs or so. Since they can bowl only two short balls , it not a big deal ducking under them. also, they are NOT going to bowl two short balls per over consistently so, no need to worry about "dot" balls. This strategy will keep your wickets in hand at least the initial 25-30 over and you can be adventurous and hook / pull from a strong position. It is meaningless to hook/pull (by your batsmen) when you don't have a solid base. I hope you and your team understand and follow this simple strategy and win the final ODI. CricInfo - please publish for the benefit of the team.

  • Hari on January 29, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    Very simple to solve Indian team problem. Allow players to play other countries club cricket. BCCI wants to make money and keep them in India. How are they going to learn. How abt Pujara, Kohli and Dhawan plays in English county cricket. Jadeja, Rahane plays for BBL, Dhoni, Ashwini plays in SA, few players to WI. These are some names if we co-operate with other countries even top Ranji players will get chance to play in other clubs. We need to coach them, don't just send them to international matches only. Think guys.. answer....

  • Dummy4 on January 29, 2014, 18:21 GMT

    It's really frustrating to see so many offensive comments against Dhoni and Co. While I do agree that India has had problems with their bowling, due to which they lost most of their matches in SA as well as NZ, their batsman AREN'T FTBs, as they scored 270 in almost every match, and batted brilliantly in SA. Also, if People from Asia are FTBs, aren't teams like SA, Eng, Aus and NZ Fast Track Bullies, because they get beaten comprehensively on India's Flat Tracks? If Indians are tigers at home, aren't SA, Aus, Eng and NZ Tigers at their homes too?!

  • Jagan on January 29, 2014, 16:35 GMT

    @ReluctantBlackCapsFan...Thank you for answering my question. I assume that you played enough cricket to answer my question. Here is another question to you. What do you think of NZ batsmen's talent...? Let me phrase it differently...Can they bat on so called flat tracks? I presume they can bat better than FLAT TRACK BULLIES as KIWIS bat all the time on VERY FAST PACED BOUNCY PITCHES WHERE NO Indian batsmen CAN BAT as they are not as talented as black caps ..batting on flat tracks should be piece of cake to them...correct? if so why did they get BEAT their "you know what" when they have better batting and obviously better bowling than India?

  • aniket on January 29, 2014, 13:32 GMT

    Are u people watching these matches for real how can u say india a flat track bully when they scored above 270 in each game. They lose only coz of there bowling. Yes if u say pakistan batsmen flat track bullies thts okay coz FTB's are able to bundle out on 50 runs.. Lol yes u myt say there's no shame in getting all-out on 50 runs against world's best bowling attack. Bt against the same attack in IND-SA test series the top 3 highest run scorers were indians.. Even steyn went wicket less in two of the innings.. Nd it was jst one bad session in whick virat was wrongly given out. That cost us the whole series. Actually was in driving seat for atleast 7 days out of 10 day series.

  • Al on January 29, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    Agree with @ F.Hashimi - To be honest Afghanistan has better fast bowlers than India at the moment. The way India plays now they will have a slim chance in the coming world cup.

    This is what happens when our Selectors keep selecting bowlers like Ishant Sharma, Unadkat and Vinay Kumar again and again. It's not that we don't have good bowlers playing in Ranji Trophy. Actually if we replace India's fast bowling unit with J&K's fast bowling unit, they will perform better.

  • am on January 29, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    Indian team a settled unit? good joke by dhoni.. may be he meant settled at the rock bottom of the sea. Rohit sharma - man this guy applied fevi kwik.. untouched, he will serve india for 20 yrs ( scary thought) .. bowlers? very generous they give away runs in india , outside , everywhere.. to the opposition team.. selection? absolutely horrid team selection. Why are the selectors so blind? Are they seeing the matches at all? It is disheartening to see indian team stoop to such low level. Every team is having a go and laughing at the way our team is playing. Dark Days.. Dhoni? please for gods sake. Please understand the pain of indian fans and whole india. Stop this torture. Why are you hurting sentiments and feelings of billion people? The performance of Indian team is much more painful than watching "SAW" movie series.

  • Dummy4 on January 29, 2014, 11:53 GMT

    It, is no surprise at all to cricket knowers .This team has been average throughout its history , and proof is their win loss ratio. On batting front all players are FTBs and sitting ducks on offshores .on bowiling front 110 kph is their pace bowler with stright delivery being the biggest weapon ,club level at best . There rank is only due to calling minnow teams, to home pancake turfs and with home umpires and with finiancial clout to manipulate the game as is evident by The World Cup 2011 scenerio .