Kanpur, Oct 29 (IANS) A brilliant performance from opener Rohit Sharma and skipper Virat Kohli helped India post a daunting 337/6 in the third and final One Day International (ODI) cricket match against New Zealand at the Green Park Stadium here on Sunday.
Rohit was the top scorer for India with 147 runs while Kohli slammed 113 to cross the milestone of 9,000 ODI runs.
Rohit struck his 15th century in ODIs, the fifth of this year and the first against New Zealand. Kohli slammed his 32nd ton and the fifth against the visitors to help India score the highest total in 15 ODIs here.
The previous was 303 by South Africa against India in 2015.
It was also Kohli’s sixth century in 2017, the most by a captain in a year. Previously, Sourav Ganguly (2000), Australia’s Ricky Ponting (2003, 2007), South Africa’s Graeme Smith (2005) and AB de Villiers (2015) struck five.
After a steady start, Rohit and Kohli displayed their class and temperament in the middle overs and helped India to cross the 250-run mark comfortably.
But after Rohit fell, the middle-order batsmen failed to perform. In the last 10 overs, India score only 85 runs, a credit to the visitors who got their death bowling spot on.
After being put in to bat, it was a steady start for India as both openers Shikhar Dhawan (14) and Rohit put on 29 runs with some brilliant strokes before Dhawan was dismissed by Tim Southee in the seventh over.
It turned out to be the only success for the visitors for a long time as Rohit and incoming batsman Kohli applied themselves perfectly in the middle to frustrate the New Zealand bowlers till the 42nd over.
Rohit set up the template and Kohli followed suit as the duo forged a 230-run partnership, the highest stand between the two, going past the 219 set against Sri Lanka earlier this year.
But just when things seemed perfect, Rohit was dismissed by Mitchell Santner, caught by Southee, while trying to pace up the innings. His 138-ball knock was laced with 18 boundaries and two sixes.
“Felt really good to spend some time out in the middle. Having missed out in the previous two games, I wanted to make it count,” Rohit said later.
New batsman Hardik Pandya, who was promoted up the order, joined Kohli but scored just eight runs in six balls.
After adding a few more runs, Kohli also departed. The Delhi batsman was sent back to the pavilion by Southee and caught by skipper Kane Williamson. He faced 106 balls and slammed one six and nine boundaries.
The fall of Kohli’s wicket brought in Mahendra Singh Dhoni (25) and Kedar Jadhav (18). Soon Dhoni and Jadhav were also sent packing by Adam Milne in the same over. But by then India had already reached a good total.
For New Zealand, pacer Tim Southee, Adam Milne and spinner Mitchell Santner scalped two wickets each.
Brief Scores India 337/6 (Rohit Sharma 147, Virat Kohli 113; Mitchell Santner 2/58) against New Zealand.
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