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Ambati Rayudu’s scintillating knock and Pandya’s late blitz guides India to 252

Even though the series had been sealed, both New Zealand and India came out in the final ODI match in a pretty competitive spirit. After the fall of early wickets, the Indian batting duo of Ambati Rayudu and Vijay Shankar compiled a brilliant partnership to bail the team out of trouble and help them reach a competitive total. The Kiwi fast bowlers also bowled really well to restrict the visitors.

Rayudu’s outstanding knock guides India to a challenging total

After winning the toss and opting to bat first, the Indian team once again got off to a pretty disappointing start, as the two experienced openers, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma were dismissed early with just 12 runs on the board. After removing the two Indian openers early, the Kiwi new ball pair of Trent Boult and Matt Henry continued to test the Indian middle-order and thus, the visitors found themselves further reeling at 18-4 within the first 10 overs. However, after the early jitters, the duo of Ambati Rayudu and Vijay Shankar batted pretty sensibly and also with a sense of responsibility to compile an excellent partnership of 98 runs to bail the Indian innings out of trouble. Shankar, who was given the opportunity in this final ODI match at the expense of spinner Kuldeep Yadav, played a fluent innings under pressure to prove his worth in this Indian side and push his case further for selection in the 2019 World Cup squad.

After Shankar’s dismissal, Rayudu again stitched a vital 74-run stand along with Kedar Jadhav. Rayudu also compiled a fabulous knock of 90 runs which included 8 fours and 4 sixes to bail the Indian innings out of trouble. However, it was Hardik Pandya’s blazing cameo knock of 45 runs which came off just 22 balls towards the end which helped India post a challenging total of 252 runs on the board. For the Kiwis, fast bowler Matt Henry bowled really well to scalp four crucial wickets, while his new ball partner, Trent Boult also supported him nicely to finish with three wickets to his name.

Brief Scores: India 252/10 in 49.5 overs (Ambati Rayudu-90, Hardik Pandya-45; Matt Henry 4/35, Trent Boult 3/39) vs New Zealand