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India wrap up the ODI series against New Zealand

Source: Cricinfo.com

India have wrapped up the ODI series 3-0, with 2 matches to spare against a very ordinary New Zealand side, who have now suffered 9 straight ODI defeats. India, in absence of stalwarts like Sachin, Sehwag, Dhoni, Bhajji, Zaheer (who only returned today), have still manage to outclass a full strength New Zealand side in all departments of the game, which should be a serious cause of concern for them.

Gautam Gambhir  (the acting skipper in absence of Dhoni) won the toss and decided to field first, hoping for some assistance for bowlers in first half. He was proved right as the Indian bowlers made the ball talk, with Zaheer leading the way. India had New Zealand on the mat at 106/7, before a 96 run stand between James Franklin (72) and Nathan McCullum (43) gave some respectability to New Zealand’s eventual score of 224/9 in their 50 overs.  Zaheer, Ashwin, Yusuf Pathan took 2 wickets each, apart from 2 terrific run outs by India.

India’s target was not a daunting one but with Saha, Jadeja and Yusuf as the 5, 6 and 7 batsmen, the top 4 had to score the majority of the runs. Well, in the end, the top 3 were enough as Vijay (30), Gambhir (126 not out) and Kohli (63) finished off the job in mere 39.3 overs to inflict another humiliating defeat for the Kiwis. This was Gambhir second consecutive century in the series and his return to form is a welcome sign for India. He scored 126 of just 117 balls with 16 boundaries and looked at complete ease throughout the innings. Also, Virat Kohli continues his impressive run of scores with yet another well made 63 not out of 70 balls. He has virtually sealed his place in the World Cup Squad on the back of strong and consistent performances, whenever he has been given a chance.

India decided to rest the big names for this series in order to give the youngsters a final chance to impress before the World Cup Squad is finalized. This has been a successful exercise as youngsters like Sreesanth, Ashwin, Kohli and company have impressed while Yuvraj and Gambhir have returned to form, making the jigsaw puzzle almost complete as far as the probable World Cup Squad is concerned

On the other hand, New Zealand have a lot of questions, but very few answers. After their whitewash in Bangladesh, they are nearing the same fate in India. They have now lost 9 ODI’s on the trot, which is a very surprising site, considering New Zealand have always been a competitive side in ODI Cricket. With the World Cup to be held in subcontinent, New Zealand have to really pull up their socks if they are to have any chance at the mega event.

With 2 more ODI’s to go, India would look to experiment and give players like Saurabh Tiwari a go and see whether he can also keep himself in contention for the World Cup. A whitewash or not a whitewash, it has already been a successful series for India, playing almost their second string side and still managing to win the series comfortably.

The 4th and 5th ODI’s are to be held on 7th and 10th December at Bangalore and Chennai respectively. Will New Zealand be able to have a consolation win or the Indian juggernaut will continue to blow them away? We will soon find out…

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