HAMILTON, January 31: India seemed shorn of their aura in the absence of talismanic skipper Virat Kohli as New Zealand pulled off a stunning eight-wicket win in the fourth cricket one-dayer to halt the visiting side’s domination on ThursdayWith run-machine Kohli rested after the side claimed an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match series, India’s much-vaunted batting was dismissed for its seventh lowest ODI total — 92 in 30.5 overs here — after Trent Boult (5/21) dished out a deadly opening spell.
It was also the lowest total posted by any side on this venue, the previous lowest of 122 also against India’s name.
Boult wreaked havoc with the new ball and in Colin de Grandhomme’s (3/26) company utilised the swinging conditions at the Seddon Park perfectly.
“Never expected this to happen. (But) games like this happen…We’ve got ourselves to blame for this,” said India’s stand-in captain Rohit Sharma.
In the absence of Kohli and an injured Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian batting unit found the going tough against the Kiwi bowling attack.
India’s lowest ODI total is 54 against Sri Lanka at Sharjah in 2000. It was also India’s second lowest total in ODIs against New Zealand, having somehow managed to surpass the 88 scored at Dambulla.
“I don’t think we expected this much. But the guys bowled well. It was nice to bowl them out for 90 odd. It was just one of those days. It was an outstanding performance today,” said New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said.
Bowling his 10 overs at a stretch, Boult troubled the Indian batsmen with both ways movement to return with impressive figures of 5 for 21, while Grandhomme gave him perfect support from the other end after New Zealand won the toss and elected to bowl.
“Nice to see the ball moving around, made the most of it,” said Boult, who was adjudged man of the match for his stupendous performance.
While chasing, even though New Zealand lost Martin Guptill (14) and skipper Kane Williamson (11) early to Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/25), the hosts completed the formalities in 14.4 overs with eight wickets in hand.
Henry Nicholls (30 not out) and Ross Taylor (37 not out) then completed the easy task for the Kiwis without any further damage.
Earlier, the pitch didn’t seem unplayable but the Indian batsmen failed to apply themselves against the swing bowling of Boult and Grandhomme.
Only four Indian batsnmen — Shikhar Dhawan (13), Hardik Pandya (16), Kuldeep Yadav (15) and Yuzvendra Chahal (18 not out) — posted double digit scores.
Dhawan’s search for big runs continued and he was the first to depart, caught plumb in front of the wicket by Boult in the sixth over.
The 5th match of the series is on Sunday in Wellington. (PTI)