BANGALORE: Yusuf Pathan butchered the New Zealand bowlers as he struck a 79-ball century to guide India to a fantastic five-wicket victory in the fourth ODI.
Courtesy Yusuf’s (123, 96 balls, 7×4, 7×6 and three for 49) all-round performance, India now lead the five-match series 4-0.
When Kyle Mills came on to bowl the 43rd over India needed 72 runs off 42 deliveries. The senior Pathan hit Mills for three boundaries and a huge six over mid-wicket. He took 21 runs from the over and brought equation down.
In the next over he hit Andy McKay for a flat batted tennis shot over long to complete a well deserved maiden century in ODIs.
The best of the seven sixes was the one off Mills which was hit more than 100 metres hitting the roof of the stadium and disappearing further.
Even an hour’s delay due to rain couldn’t stop Yusuf as he lifted Vettori for a huge six of the first delivery he faced after break.
Yusuf had two fruitful partnerships — first with Rohit Sharma (44, 48 balls, 4×4, 1×6) when they added 80 runs in 13.5 overs and then 133 runs with Saurabh Tiwary (37 not out 3×4, 1×6) for the sixth wicket.
This was incidentally the highest run-chase in an ODI at this ground. It was young Saurabh who finished the proceedings with a six off Nathan McCullum.
Parthiv Patel (53, 57 balls, 8×4) playing his first one day match after six and half years got his maiden ODI fifty.
Along with skipper Gautam Gambhir (27, 24 balls, 4×4), he added 67 runs for the first wicket before Gambhir was out trying to cut a widish delivery from left-arm seamer Andy McKay.
Virat Kohli (0) who has been in splendid form was out when he mistimed a hook shot after McKay dug in one short and was holed out at long leg where Kyle Mills took a simple catch.
Patel whose innings was full of flashy shots through the third-man and point region completed his fifty in the company of Yuvraj Singh (20) who started off with a six but couldn’t get elevation trying to hit off-spinner Nathan McCullum over mid-wicket as Jamie How took a smart low catch.
Earlier, James Franklin once again turned out to be an unlikely hero with the willow as his smashing innings of an unbeaten 98 from only 69 deliveries helped New Zealand reach a commanding 315 for seven in 50 overs.
After scoring 70 in the previous match at Vadodara, Franklin hit 12 boundaries and three huge sixes today during his 88-minute stay at the wicket. The southpaw hit couple of sixes and boundaries each as 22 runs were scored off Ashish Nehra’s over which was the 50th of the innings.
It was due to Franklin’s mayhem that Black Caps managed 63 runs in the last five overs as they crossed the 300-run mark.
Along with Nathan McCullum (13 no), Franklin, who came to bat in the 30th over added 64 runs for the eighth wicket after the Indian bowlers were successful in stopping the flow of runs during the middle overs when it didn’t look like the visitors would be able to cross 300-run mark.
Earlier, put into bat New Zealand openers Martin Guptill (30, 25 balls, 5×4) and Brendon McCullum (42, 42 balls, 8×4, 1×6) showed positive intent right from the onset as they went after both Zaheer Khan and Praveen Kumar who made a comeback in this match.
McCullum in fact stepped out and slashed hard for a six off Praveen while Guptill also hit a number of boundaries.
However, Ashish Nehra had the last laugh when he got Guptill after being hit for successive boundaries with Yuvraj Singh taking a good catch in the cover region.
Nehra got his second wicket when Jamie How (4) poked at an away going delivery and Yusuf Pathan standing at widish second slip fumbled but ended up taking the catch.
McCullum who looked good for a big score was sent back by offie Ravichandran Ashwin when his mistimed aerial shot was smartly taken by Rohit Sharma standing at mid-wicket.
The score was 91 for three at that stage. Then there was a 78-run fourth wicket partnership between Ross Taylor (44, 73 balls, 3×4) and Scott Styris (46, 48 balls, 3×4, 1×6). The duo didn’t take any undue risk as they took the score to 170 before Styris was holed in the deep by Saurabh Tiwary off Yusuf Pathan’s bowling.
Pathan (three for 49) turned out to be the most successful bowler as he made good use of the bowling Powerplay as he was able to breach through the defences of rival skipper Daniel Vettori (17) and Kyle Mills (1).
Ashwin in the mean time got his second wicket when he was able trap Taylor plumb infront.(Agencies)