Veteran opening batsman Martin Guptill’s horrible tour finally turned around as he led New Zealand to a series leveling victory over India in the fourth ODI of the five-match series in Ranchi on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old right-handed opener was under-pressure coming into this match, as he scored just one score of fifty or above in nine innings on this tour prior to this one.However, Martin Guptill finds the form just at the right time and scored a timely 72 off 84 balls, where he smashed 12 fours on a slow pitch at the JSCA International Stadium Complex.He was supported by opening partner Tom Latham (39) and then by skipper Kane Williamson (41), as visitors managed to score competitive score of 260 for the loss of seven wickets after winning the toss and deciding to bat first in another day-night game.
The Black Caps were left disappointed in the last part of the innings, as Williamson’s men only scored 86 runs in final 15 overs of the innings as the hosts took the initiative back after some sublime bowling performance from spin-trio of Amit Mishra, Axar Patel and Kedhar Jadhav, who gave away just 107 runs in 28 overs between them, and picked up three wickets as well.Mishra was the pick of the bowler for Dhoni eleven after picking up two wickets, whereas pacers Umesh Yadav, Dhawan Kulkarni, Hardik Pandya and all-rounder Patel picked one wicket each.
In reply, India lost opener Rohit Sharma once again early at the score of 19 when he was caught behind on the bowling of Tim Southee in the fifth over of the innings.Last-match centurion Virat Kohli then joined hosts top scorer of the day Ajinkya Rahane, as they built a good foundation for a possible chase on a difficult track, and scored 79 runs off 94 balls for the second wicket.However, things turned around in the 28th over, when Rahane was dismissed after scoring a well fought 57 off 70 balls, which opened the flood gates for the visitors, who picked five wickets in space of nine overs, as the hosts were reduced to 167 for seven in the 36 overs from 128 for two in the 28th over.
Patel, who had a good day with the ball, tried to show some late order fight with the bat as well, but his effort came short as the Men in Blue were bowled out for 241 in the 49th over.For Kiwis, experienced Tim Southee was the pick of the bowlers, as he chipped away with three wickets, whereas his fast-bowling partner Trent Boult and all-rounder Jimmy Neesham picked two wickets each.Martin Guptill was awarded man-of-the-match after finishing the game as the highest scorer from both teams on the day.
The final match of the series will be played on Saturday at Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam.