New Zealand were whitewashed in the test series but fought back hard in the ODIs to set up an exciting fifth and final match that was a series decider. However it turned out to be a disappointing one sided affair after the Indians posted a respectable 269 on the board and then bowled out the Kiwis for just 79 runs in 23.1 overs.
Leg spinner Amit Mishra was the chief destroyer picking up a 5 wicket haul and finished as the leading wicket taker in the series. The series win will give captain MS Dhoni a lot of relief as he had lost 5 series during the last 18 months and would have been under a lot of pressure had India lost the series.
The Indian innings was built around some good knocks by R Sharma (70), V Kohli (65), Dhoni (41) and K Jadhav (39). India would have felt that they were about 20 runs short as they were in a good position to get close to 280-300 but losing Dhoni and Kohli in quick succession helped the Kiwis to contact the run rate.
India had a great start when U Yadav struck in the first over to remove the dangerous M Guptill. The Kiwis have struggled with their middle order as Ross Taylor has been a disappointment the entire series and once again failed with the bat to expose the tail to Mishra and the other spinners. Mishra was awarded the man of the series and will take a lot of confidence in the lead up to the 5 test matches against England.
In a statement, A Mishra said “It’s great for the team if I perform like this, they’ve supported me during tough phases. At the start, I was a little tense, but Dhoni told me to calm down, bowl at the wickets, and thanks to that, all went well. There was bounce and spin in the pitch, so bowling slowly, bowling normally worked for me. Anil Kumble also talked to me about it before the match, to trust my strength, to trust the flighted balls.”
India won the ODI series without a number of key players such as S Dhawan, R Ashwin, S Raina and R Jadeja. The selectors will be pleased with the performance of the new players as K Jadhav has done well with both bat and ball, while Mishra turned out to be the star performer.