Images courtesy of: Zimbio
Guptill scored his fifth ODI century, while Jadeja proved to be India’s saviour with an unbeaten 66
India now have a chance to end the ongoing ODI series 2-2 following their dramatic tie against New Zealand in the third ODI in Auckland.
Opening batsman Martin Guptill, who scored a magnificent century, and all-rounder Corey Anderson, who took a five-wicket haul, were the standout performers for New Zealand, while captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja were the pick of the Indian players as they all made half-centuries.
Dhoni won the toss and chose to bowl first.
His decision to do so paid off as New Zealand opening batsman Jesse Ryder was clean bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 20.
However, Kane Williamson and Guptill made up for the early loss of Ryder was a fantastic 153-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before Williamson was cleaned up by Mohammed Shami for 65 off 74 balls, which included four boundaries and a six.
Anderson only made eight runs before he was clean bowled by Ashwin.
Guptill ended up surpassing his fifth ODI century, but failed to convert it into a bigger score as he was caught by Ajinkya Rahane at midwicket off the bowling of Jadeja.
Guptill’s superb knock of 111 came off 129 balls and included 12 boundaries and two sixes.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum failed to trouble the scorers as he was caught by Ashwin at point off the bowling of Varun Aaron for a duck.
Ross Taylor managed to make 17 runs before he was run out by Rahane.
New Zealand eventually finished on 314 off their 50 overs thanks to wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi’s quickfire 38 and pace bowler Tim Southee’s rapid 27.
Shami and Jadeja picked up two wickets apiece, while Kumar, Aaron and Ashwin chipped in with one wicket each.
Chasing 315 to win, India got off to a solid start as their opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma put together a 64-run partnership before Dhawan was caught by Guptill at deep midwicket off the bowling of Anderson for 28.
Sharma did not last much longer as he was caught by Hamish Bennett at third man off the bowling of Anderson for 39.
Virat Kohli failed to have an impact with the bat as he was caught behind off the bowling of Bennett for just six runs.
Rahane failed to help India as he was caught behind off the bowling of Anderson for three runs.
Suresh Raina and Dhoni stabilised the innings with a 67-run partnership before Raina was caught behind off the bowling of Southee for 31.
Dhoni ended up registering his half-century before he was brilliantly caught by Southee at deep square leg off the bowling of Anderson.
Dhoni’s fabulous knock of 50 came off 60 balls and included two boundaries and three sixes.
Ashwin and Jadeja kept India in the hunt with a vital 85-run partnership, during which Ashwin brought up his half-century, before he was brilliantly caught by Guptill off the bowling of Nathan McCullum.
Ashwin’s outstanding innings of 65 came off 46 balls and included eight boundaries and a six.
Despite Kumar and Shami falling in quick succession, Jadeja kept his composure and hammered 17 runs off the last over to carry India to 314 off their 50 overs, which meant that the game ended as a tie.
Jadeja finished on 66 off 45 balls, which included five boundaries and four sixes.
Anderson was the most successful bowler as he registered his maiden five-wicket haul, while Bennett snapped up two wickets and Southee and McCullum chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Dhoni was disappointed that his side had not been able to win the game, and said: “I think we batted well. But if we are to pick situations where we could have closed the game quite comprehensively, those were the situations we did not grab. It is a bit disappointing, but overall a good result as it keeps us alive in the series. Even if we can’t win it, we can go for the draw.
“I think the straight boundaries were quite short, and even the bowlers who bowled quick, their strengths are all about going full and going for yorkers, and when it doesn’t then it tends to be hit down the ground.
“I think overall 300 would have been fantastic, and we had a chance but we couldn’t quite do it. I had faith in them (Ashwin and Jadeja), but my problems started when Jadeja told Bhuvi what he needs to do.
“Ashwin should have batted till the end, but this is also the first time he was put into a position like this. I definitely feel like he is someone who can definitely bat like a batsman, and has improved his power hitting as well, which he has been working on.”
McCullum congratulated both teams for playing a “brilliant game of cricket”.
“I thought it was a brilliant game of cricket,” he said. “India showed why they are one of the powerhouses of India cricket. We thought we had a powerful score, but I guess that wasn’t the case. They did well to get as close as they did. We had a few opportunities at the end which we didn’t take, which does hurt.
“We don’t tell the batters anything. We just trust they know their games and if they play well then they can definitely get us in a position. We didn’t utilize the position well initially when we lost a few too many wickets at one stretch.
“But credit to India for standing up and not lying down at any stage and keeping us on our toes. I thought our guys bowled pretty well. We missed a few times, but that is the nature of ODIs, and it hurt when it did.
“There was a bit of sloppiness in there, but it is hard to fault what was a brilliant game of cricket.
“Hamish was great. He has had many publicised issues with injury, but the way he came back and bowled tonight, and with good pace, he will definitely play a big part in this series.
“Guptill definitely stepped up and played as fluent as I have ever seen. When guys at the top get hundreds, it is always a good thing.”
Jadeja was named Man of the Match for his match-saving knock.
“I feel very happy because I have done something for the team,” he said. “I just wanted to play till the last ball, but unfortunately we didn’t cross the line, but we have learned a lot from this game. I think we bowled well, but the straight boundaries are very short.”