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Fri. Feb 3rd, 2023
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NEW DELHI: India openers Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma were on a leather hunt as their breathtaking centuries powered India to a 90-run victory over New Zealand in the third and final ODI in Indore. With the clinical win, India swept the series 3-0 and are now the top ranked ODI team.
Rohit and Shubman’s carnage against an inexperienced Black Caps bowling attack in the dead rubber took India to an imposing 385 for 9 on a batting paradise at the Holkar Cricket Stadium. In reply, Devon Conway (138) slammed a century of his own but it wasn’t quite enough as the visitors folded for 295 in the 42nd over. Batters from both sides lit up the dead rubber as a total of 680 runs were scored.

Rohit (101 off 85 balls) scored his first ODI hundred in three years — his last came in January 2020 — while Gill (112 off 78) continued his domination with another sublime ton — his fourth in ODIs — as the duo delighted the fans after being invited to bat first.

Following twin failures, the New Zealand top-order put up a much better show but Shardul Thakur (3/45) and Kuldeep Yadav (3/62) regularly struck, never allowing the Kiwis to take control of the chase.
It was India’s second consecutive clean sweep, having beaten Sri Lanka last week. With the win in the final clash, India dethroned England from the top, who had gained the No.1 ranking merely three days back following New Zealand’s loss to India in the second ODI. England are now second behind India followed by Australia at the third spot. The 3-0 series loss resulted New Zealand slipping to the fourth spot in the rankings.
After Hardik Pandya (1/37) got rid of Finn Allen (0) in the very first over of the chase, Conway shared 106 runs with Henry Nicholls and 78 runs with Daryl Mitchell (24).
In the absence of Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj, the Indian bowlers struggled initially, leaking runs as Conway tonked the ball all around the park.
Shardul, however, managed to turn the game, as he took back-to-back wickets of Mitchell and Tom Latham (0) in the 26th over.

In his next over, Thakur sent Glenn Phillips (5) packing with a cross-seamed delivery.
Umran Malik (1/52) then got Conway as the centurion pulled awkwardly with Rohit doing the rest at midwicket as the match seemed to slip out of New Zealand’s grasp.
The spin duo of Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal (2/43) then cleaned up the tail.
Earlier, Rohit and Gill put up a belligerent 212-run opening stand, sharing 22 fours and 11 sixes between them.

Rahul Dravid joked on the eve of the match that bowlers don’t want to bowl as soon as they land in Indore because of the batter-friendly conditions. The batting great had a point, and the New Zealanders rolling over their arms during the first 25 overs would have shared Dravid’s sentiment.
At one point every ball that Rohit and Gill’s bat touched was either flying to the boundary or over it.
Gill hit four fours and a six to plunder 22 runs off Lockie Ferguson in the eighth over, symbolising the kind of form the 23-year-old has been in lately.
The youngster didn’t have to even time the ball for it to run to the boundary. After three fours, he launched the short ball for an upper-cut six.
With the outfield quick and the wicket flat, the rather inexperienced New Zealand bowling unit had no answers to the Indian openers’ carnage.
The 26th over saw both Rohit and Gill getting their centuries. Rohit pulled away to deep square to get to his mark and, three balls later, Gill got to the triple-figure mark, his third in four innings.
New Zealand skipper Tom Latham used as many as six bowlers and it was his sixth option — spinner Michael Bracewell — who provided the tourists their first breakthrough.
Trying to slog one out of the park, Rohit missed the ball as it kept low and turned to eventually hit the stumps. His wicket was met with a roar by the partisan crowd, welcoming Virat Kohli (36).
A miscued shot in the next over spelt the end of Gill’s innings as New Zealand struck twice in quick succession.
Ishan Kishan (17) didn’t look too comfortable and took nine balls to open his account. A yes-no with Kohli, who had sprinted halfway, marked the end of the wicketkeeper batter’s stay in the middle.
New Zealand were able to bring down the boundaries and sixes and, looking to play a big shot, Kohli couldn’t beat Finn Allen at mid-off.
Firmly on course for a 400-plus score, India endured a familiar middle-order batting collapse, before Hardik Pandya (54 off 38 balls) provided the final flourish.
(With inputs from PTI)

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