India rode on another all-round show to thrash New Zealand by seven wickets in the third ODI at the Bay Oval here on Monday and take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match rubber.
This is India’s first ODI series win in New Zealand in a decade. The Men in Blue last achieved the feat under Mahendra Singh Dhoni in 2009.
Chasing a below-par 243, India lost opener Shikhar Dhawan after a breezy 28 off 27 balls, but fellow opener Rohit Sharma struck his 39th ODI fifty to lay the foundation in the company of the skipper Virat Kohli, who also got to his 49th ODI half century.
Rohit (62 off 77 balls) and Kohli (60 off 74) forged a 113-run second wicket stand to ease the work for the middle order, weakened by the absence of the in-form former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was left out of the playing XI after suffering a hamstring injury.
Rohit appeared the more aggressive in the second wicket stand, stamping his authority over the Kiwi bowlers and smashing them all over the park before racing to his half century and taking India’s total to the three figures. Kohli wasn’t left much behind and the Delhi right-hander gradually matched his partner shot by shot to eventually get to his fifty even as the India total swelled past the 150-run mark.
Just when the duo looked set to take the men-in-blue to another easy win, left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner deceived Rohit with a flighted delivery to be stumped only for the second time in one-day internationals.
Next, India and New Zealand will take on each other in their fourth ODI which is slated to be held on
January 31 at the Seddon Park.