Vastavam web: Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma forged a century-plus partnership as India beat New Zealand by seven wickets in the third one-dayer on Monday to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series and signal their preparedness for this year’s World Cup. Sharma (62) combined with captain Kohli (60) in a 113-run partnership to set up their successful chase before Ambati Rayudu (40) completed the formalities with Dinesh Karthik, who was 38 not out, as India romped home with seven overs to spare.
India have effortlessly outplayed New Zealand in every match so far and are unlikely to miss Kohli, who is now being rested for the last two ODIs and all three Twenty20 matches. While New Zealand managed to negate the left-arm wrist spin of Kuldeep Yadav for the first time and keep him wicketless, the pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the recalled Hardik Pandya shared seven wickets among them to deny them a big total.
The failure of openers Martin Guptill (13) and Colin Munro (7) to again give New Zealand a decent start will no doubt be the biggest concern for coach Gary Stead with the World Cup in England just four months away. Munro has accumulated 265 runs from 14 innings and been dismissed in single figures seven times. Batting together, they have averaged just 23.44 for the first wicket in the same period and on Monday combined for just 10 runs before Munro was caught at slip by Sharma off Shami.
An airborne Pandya took a spectacular catch at midwicket to dismiss Kane Williamson for 28 and finished with figures of 2-45 on his return to the side. Pandya and team mate KL Rahul, who were suspended by the Indian board earlier this month for making controversial comments about women, had their bans lifted last week.