NZ vs Ind 4th ODI: Taylor ton seals series win
A phenomenal hundred from Ross Taylor coupled with Kane Williamson's consistent form helped New Zealand beat India by 7 wickets in the 4th ODI at Hamilton, sealing a 3-0 series win for the hosts.
MS Dhoni won the toss in a must-win game, and to everyone's surprise, elected to bat first. Suresh Raina was dropped, and so was Shikhar Dhawan; making way for Ambati Rayudu and Stuart Binny. Virat Kohli opened alongside Rohit Sharma, but the experiment went straight down the drain as Southee got rid of him in the 4th over itself. Rahane failed to hang in as well and was dismissed by a fine spell of bowling from Kyle Mills. However, Sharma anchored the innings at the other end with Ambati Rayudu (37) for company. The duo added 79 runs and stability was restored for some time.
But India soon ran out of luck, as Rayudu top-edged a Bennett delivery, followed by Rohit's soft caught-behind dismissal. R Ashwin's promotion didn't work either, and India were in a spot of bother at 151/5 in the 34th over. Then came a U-turn, where two batsmen scripted a remarkable comeback, taking India towards a respectable total. Dhoni proved just why he was dangerous with his third consecutive fifty, while Jadeja's 62 was even better than his fighting knock at Auckland. Both batsmen took 100 runs off the last 10 overs and helped India reach 278/5 in 50 overs.
The New Zealand innings began smoothly, as has been the case for most part of the series. Guptill got off to his usual start, but lost his partner Ryder who was cleaned up by Aaron. New Zealand's Mr. Consistent Kane Williamson (60) walked in, and the Kiwis were assured of a comfortable chase. Guptill departed, only to make way for Taylor's big knock. Williamson scored his 4th successive fifty, and Taylor wasn't too far behind as he racked up his 9th ODI hundred. The Kiwis looked well on course for an easy victory, until Williamson's run-out by Jadeja gave India a slim hope of recovery. But by then, Taylor had already made the target look achievable. Skipper Brendon McCullum's tryst with failure ended as he notched an unbeaten 49 in partnership with Taylor (112*) and New Zealand were through in 48.1 overs with 7 wickets in hand.
This is New Zealand's first series win at home in 5 years, against opponents other than Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. The fifth and final ODI will be played on January 31 at Wellington.