CHENNAI: India rode on a clinical show by their bowlers and Parthiv Patel’s unbeaten half century as they crushed a hapless New Zealand by eight wickets in the fifth and final one-dayer to complete a 5-0 series whitewash on Friday.
Stand-in captain Gautam Gambhir lost the toss but that proved to be a blessing in disguise as Indian bowlers came up with a disciplined effort to bundle out New Zealand for 103 in just 27 overs, the lowest total for the Kiwis against India in ODIs.
Chasing a meagre 104 for a win, India stuttered initially with Gautam Gambhir (0) and Virat Kohli (2) falling early but Prathiv (56 not out) and Yuvraj Singh (42 not out) kept their cool to take the home side past the target with 28.5 overs to spare at the M A Chidambaram Stadium.
Patel struck the winning runs – a four – as India reached 107 for two in 21.1 overs to rout New Zealand and wrap up a remarkable performance by a young side without senior players Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh.
It was India’s second instance of a 5-0 series whitewash against any country, having achieved the feat against England in 2008-09.
This also turned out to be best ever victory against New Zealand by India in one dayers. India won this match with 173 balls to spare with eight wickets in hand, its earlier best against the Kiwis was 160 balls to spare with seven wickets to spare.
New Zealand ended their tour of India on a humiliating note. They had lost the three-match Test series 0-1 before the five ODIs. The loss in the fifth ODI was also their 11 on the trot after beating India by 200 runs at Dambulla on August 10.
India, however, made a wobbly start in their run chase with Gambhir, who had scored back-to-back centuries to end as series top-scorer, dismissed cheaply in the third ball for a duck.
Gambhir edged a Nathan McCullum delivery to wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum when he went for a cut shot and three overs later Kohli was caught at the slip by Ross Taylor off captain Daniel Vettori to leave India at 10 for two in the fourth over.
The target was too small to bother India but Yuvraj and Parthiv played sensibly as they settled down without taking much risk. But once they settled down, the Indian duo was not troubled by the New Zealand bowlers.
Parthiv hit Kyle Mills for three fours in the ninth over before hoisting Vettori for a six. Yuvraj also joined the party with a four and a six off Nathan McCullum in the same over. He also hoisted Grant Elliot for another six towards the close of run chase.
Parthiv’s unbeaten 56 came from 70 balls from which he hit six fours and a six while Yuvraj’s 46-ball unbeaten 42 was studded with six fours and two sixes.
Earlier, India put up an impressive bowling display to bundle out a struggling New Zealand for a paltry 103.
Off-spinner R Ashim continued to impress with figures of three for 24 while Ashish (2/34), Yuvraj Singh (2/5) and Yusuf Pathan (2/11) scalped two wickets each to destroy the Kiwis.
New Zealand’s 103 is the lowest by a team against India and also the lowest in the ground after Zimbabwe’s 139 against Australia on October 30, 1987.
New Zealand’s struggle can be gauged from the fact that only four of their batsmen – Brendon McCullum (14), Jamie How (23), Scott Styris (24) and James Franklin (17 not out) – could manage double figures.
Opting to bat after winning the toss, New Zealand never got going as they lost wickets at regulare intervals to finally surrender at 103 in 27 overs.
Praveen Kumar (1/20) started New Zealand’s downfall when he had opener Martin Guptill caught behind by Parthiv Patel in the fourth ball with the visitors yet to open their account.
McCullum, who looked susceptible during his stay at the crease, followed suit when he was caught plumb in front of the wicket by Ashish Nehra after the batsmen went for a wild cross-batted shot. His 10-ball stay at the wicket was studded with three hits to the fence.
It was double delight for Nehra in his next over when he achieved his 150th career wicket in the form of Ross Taylor.
Making good use of the extra bounce, Nehra sent a short delivery to Taylor (9), who went for a pull only to get a top-edge, which was gleefully accepted by Patel to leave New Zealand reeling at 28 for three.
How and Styris then tried to ressurect the Kiwi innings with an 43-run fourth wicket stand before three quick wickets in a span of four runs did the visitors in.
Yuvraj, Ashwin and Pathan then combined well with the ball to destroy the Kiwis.
Yuvraj started it all, first castling How’s timbers and then getting Elliot lbw for a duck in consecutive overs.
In between Ashwin removed dangerman Styris and then Pathan too chipped in with the wickets of Daniel Vettori (9) and Nathan MCCullum in consecutive overs to reduce New Zealand to 92 for seven in 24 overs.
If not for Franklin’s gutsy 24-ball 17, New Zealand would have struggled to cross the 100-run mark.
Ashwin signed it off for India in the fourth and sixth delivery of the 27th over, claiming the last two Kiwi batsmen – Kyle Mills and Tim Southee.(PTI)