Hosts need to avoid defeat in one of two final ODIs to win series
Big finish to third ODI keeps India in sight of New Zealand
Ravindra Jadeja kept India’s one-day series against New Zealand alive as the tourists took 17 off the final over to draw an epic third match in the series at Eden Park on Saturday
New Zealand were on the verge of sealing a series win over the world champions, after making 314 and then removing the cream of India’s batting talent to have the tourists at 184-6 with less than 15 overs remaining.
But Jadeja, who finished unbeaten on 66, and Ravi Ashwin, who posted a career-best 65, ensured India stayed in the game.
Between them they put on 85 runs in 55 balls for the seventh wicket before Ashwin fell to a spectacular catch by New Zealand century-maker Martin Guptill, leaving Jadeja to get India to the end as the tail-end batsmen fell around him.
Despite Jadeja’s heroics, India captain MS Dhoni said his side wasted an chance to seal a win.
“You’re supposed to pick situations where we could have closed the game quite comprehensively. Those were the situations that we didn’t grab and there were a few of our batsmen who could have done that, so that’s a bit disappointing,” he said.
“But [it’s also a] good result because it keeps us alive in the series. We can’t win it, but we can go for a draw.”
Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand captain, said: “We thought we had a powerful score, but I guess that wasn’t the case. They did well to get as close as they did.”
New Zealand, who won the first two matches, need to win one more to claim the series victory, while India need to win the remaining two matches to draw.
All-rounder Corey Anderson, who finished with five for 63, had the role of bowling the final over to India and could not contain Jadeja, who belted two fours, a six and a single to go with two wides.
Three overs from the end, New Zealand believed they had Jadeja caught behind, but umpire Rod Tucker turned down the appeal even though replays indicated the ball touched the bat.
New Zealand, who lost the toss for the third time, were sent into bat on a fast-paced wicket and were all out for 314 on the last ball of an innings built around Guptill’s 111.
Guptill and Kane Williamson (65) featured in a 153-run stand for the second wicket as they built a formidable score.
India had a scare at the start of their reply when Rohit Sharma was dropped by Jesse Ryder at second slip before they comfortably progressed to 64 without loss after nine overs.
However, the momentum switched with a bowling change that saw Anderson remove Shikhar Dhawan (28) and Sharma (39) while Hamish Bennett, back in the New Zealand side after a three-year absence, removed Virat Kohli for six.
Suresh Raina (31) and Dhoni (50) carried India through to 184 at the start of the batting power play.
With the removal of Dhoni, there was reason for New Zealand to sense they were in command, but Jadeja and his 66 off 45 deliveries, including four sixes and five fours, kept India in the game.