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Nail-biting tie keeps ODI open

The on-going, much anticipated One Day International (ODI) Cricket series between world champions India and New Zealand has thus far produced closely fought matches.

The third match of the series held at Eden Park, Auckland on January 25, 2014 was a thriller. It was a tie, no less than a thriller with the scoreboard showing 314 for both teams.

Guptill shines

The venue, with its flat pitch and small boundaries was a batsman’s paradise. Batting first, Black Caps scored 314 runs. Martin Guptill was the top scorers with 111 runs. This was his fifth international century in One Day International matches.

For India, the spin twins Ravi Ashwin and Man of the Match Ravindra Jadeja were the outstanding bowlers. Although they were not at their best, they kept the Black Caps on the defence. Indian fielding left a lot to be desired with run out opportunities missed, and catches dropped.

Catches missed

Indians began their chase well with the opening combination of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. The duo has struggled in the series so far, but put up 64 runs for the first wicket.

But Canterbury all-rounder Corey Anderson and returning pace man Hamish Bennett picked up four wickets between them to leave India struggling at 4 for 79.

Indian captain M.S Dhoni, probably the best number 6 in world cricket at the moment, led the fight back, ably supported by Ashwin and Jadeja.

It was the first time in the ODI history that a team’s sixth, seventh and eighth batsmen had scored half centuries in the same game. India needed only 18 runs to win in the last over bowled by Anderson.

Impressive shots

Aided by two boundary hits and a six, Jadeja brought the situation down to two runs to win in the last delivery. He failed to beat cover and got a single run to tie the game. This was the seventh time that India has played a tie in ODIs, and the first against New Zealand. Kiwis had played in five tied matches before this cracker.

Indians cheer

More than 30,000 people, including about 9000 persons of Indian origin watched the third ODI.

Waving the Indian National Flag and wearing national and replica of Indian team’s attire, they cheered every ball bowled and run scored. They did not distinguish between the Black Caps and Indian innings.

But what stood out was their knowledge of the game.

Good management

Eden Park is also the venue for one of the semi-finals and a few league games in next year’s Cricket World Cup.

The crowd management, facilities and security all worked in unison, like a well-oiled machine. The opening two games of the series in Napier and Hamilton have also been entertaining affairs. McLean Park -Napier had the Black Caps winning by 24 runs, aided by Kane Williamsons’ knock of 71. Virat Kohli’s 18th one day international century went in vain as Mitchell McClenaghan picked up four Indian wickets.

The boutique ground Seddon Park in Hamilton produced another Kiwi win by 15 runs in a rain affected game.

This series should keep on producing exciting cricket in the coming matches. It is too close to call just now; and may the best team win.


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