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Tail wags at the right time to ensure visitors a face-saving tie as Ashwin and Jadeja help India recover from what looked like an another overseas defeat

Auckland: Ravindra Jadeja very nearly pulled off a sensational victory with some lusty hits but could not take India home in the last over as the third one-dayer against New Zealand ended in a nail-biting tie to keep the visitors afloat in the five-match series.

Chasing New Zealand’s stiff target of 315 largely built around opener Martin Guptill’s 111, India came back from the dead to tie the game, riding on R Ashwin’s 65 and Jadeja’s 45-ball unbeaten 66 to save themselves the blushes of another overseas ODI series defeat.


In the thrilling dying moments of the game, India needed 18 off Corey Anderson’s last over for a victory but Jadeja and last man Varun Aaron could get 17 to tie the game on a good batting track at the Eden Park.The visitors needed just two runs off the last ball but Jadeja could manage just a single. Though India could not win the match, they can still draw the five-match series by winning the remaining two matches in Hamilton (Jan 28) and Wellington (Jan 31).

The tie also ensured that India remained in the number one position in the ICC ODI rankings, having regained it following Australia’s defeat to England in the fourth one-dayer.Put into bat for the third time in a row, New Zealand piled up 314 with Guptill scoring his fifth ODI century and useful contributions from Kane Williamson (65) and Luke Ronchi (38). The score could have been much bigger had there not been not a minor collapse towards the end of the innings which pegged the Kiwis back to some extent.

The Indians got off to a fairly good start but Shekhar Dhawan (28) and Rohit Sharma (39) again squandered the start to let the team down badly.The quick dismissals of the in-form Virat Kohli (6) and Ajinkya Rahane (3) served as a huge jolt for the visitors who suddenly slumped to 79 for four from 64 for no loss.

Captain Dhoni (50) and Suresh Raina (31) stitched 67 runs for the fifth wicket to keep India in the hunt. Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja then put on 85 runs for the seventh wicket to raise hopes of a stunning victory.
Corey Anderson was the pick of the Kiwis bowlers with five for 63 though he appeared a trifle shaky in the tense last over.

Rahane too gave away a faint edge down the leg-side as Anderson picked up his 3rd wicket of the spell, routing India’s chase in this must-win encounter.It brought skipper MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina together, and the two put on 67 runs for the fifth wicket. The pair tried to break through the shackles and up the scoring ante, hitting a couple sixes.

But this bid made Raina a little circumspect as he tried to play uncharacteristic strokes once again, falling to a loose shot outside the off-stump, playing half-a-pull-shot.He scored 31 runs off 39 balls, with three fours, a case of an Indian batsman once again throwing away his start. More importantly he left his skipper in the lurch, who still batted solidly to score his 53rd ODI half-century. He scored exactly 50 runs, off 60 balls, hitting two fours and three sixes, and putting on 38 important runs for the sixth wicket.

It was a platform from which Ashwin’s pairing with Ravindra Jadeja exploded.The duo put on 85 runs in just 55 balls, at a striking rate of 9 runs per over as they looked to do the impossible.The two batsmen backed each other perfectly, alternating the roles of aggressor and defender. Ashwin scored his maiden ODI fifty in the 41st over as the second power play resulted in 54 runs for the loss of one wicket.

With 54 runs needed off the last six overs, Ashwin was dismissed in the 45th over, as Guptill pulled off another smart catch and avoided a six, hopping over the boundary rope. It nearly ended any hopes of a successful chase on the night, but Jadeja ploughed on. He enjoyed very less support from Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4) and Mohammad Shami (2), but Varun Aaron (2 not out) stuck around long enough for Jadeja to strike a few lusty blows and take the match into the last over.

Earlier, riding on opener Martin Guptill’s hundred, New Zealand were bowled out for 314 as Guptill scored 111 runs (129 balls, 12 fours, two sixes) and put on 153 runs for the second wicket with Kane Williamson (65).

New Zealand
M Guptill  c Rahane b Jadeja…….111
Jesse Ryder b Kumar ………………..20
Kane Williamson b Shami …………65
Corey Anderson b Ashwin……………8
Ross Taylor run out……………………17
B McCullum c Ashwin b Aaron……..0
Luke Ronchi c Rahane b Jadeja…..38
Nathan McCullum  run out………….1
Tim Southee run out…………………27
M McClenaghan c Jadeja b Shami..3
Hamish Bennett not out……………..3
Extras: (LB-10 W-11) 21
Total: (All out in 50 overs) 314
Fall of wickets: 1/36 2/189 3/198 4/224 5/230 6/270 7/280 8/280 9/288
Bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 9-0-48-1, Shami 10-0-84-2, Aaron 7-0-52-1, Jadeja 10-0-47-2, Ashwin 10-0-47-1, Raina 4-0-26-0.

India
R Sharma c Bennett b Anderson…39
S Dhawan c Guptill b Anderson…..28
Virat Kohli  c Ronchi b Bennett…….6
A Rahane  c Ronchi b Anderson……3
Suresh Raina c Ronchi b Southee..31
M S Dhoni c Southee b Anderson..50
R Ashwin c Guptill b N McCullum..65
Ravindra Jadeja not out…………….66
B Kumar c N McCullum b Bennett…4
M Shami c Williamson b Anderson..2
Varun Aaron not out…………………..2
Extras: (B-1 LB-3 W-14) 18
Total: (For 9 wkts in 50 overs) 314
Fall of wickets: 1/64 2/72 3/74 4/79 5/146 6/184 7/269 8/275 9/286
Bowling: Southee 10-0-74-1, McClenaghan 10-0-76-0, Bennett 10-2-41-2, Anderson 10-1-63-5, Williamson 2-0-17-0, Nathan McCullum 8-0-39-1.