Visakhapatnam: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni lavished praise on his bowlers for the resounding series-clinching win over New Zealand in the fifth and final ODI here on Saturday, describing the effort as “one of the best performances by the bowlers.”
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra produced a magical spell to claim 5 for 18 as India clinched the five-match ODI series 3-2 with a thumping 190-run victory in the final game.
It was a perfect Diwali gift for the Indian cricket fans as Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men carried the demolition job in style as the spinners made Black Caps’ succumbed to their lowest-ever total against India in ODIs.
“It was one of the best performances by the bowlers. This was one game where the spinners bowled with a lot of assistance. Before this when we bowled first, the wicket was always better to bat in the first half. It was an exceptional performance as there was a bit of dew. The pace at which the spinners bowled was perfect,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“Mishra’s beauty is he bowls slow, so as a keeper you have time to recover. And in tandem with Axar (Patel), who bowls flat and quick, it was very good.”
Dhoni also hailed his deputy Virat Kohli for his 76-ball 65-run knock, which according to him set the platform for the 269 for six on a difficult wicket.
“I think Virat (Kohli) was superb with the bat. We got off to a decent start. When Rohit (Sharma) got injured, the message was if you think you can’t carry on, just play your shots. Once he (Kohli) got out, Rohit gave us some momentum. We felt it was a difficult wicket to freely rotate. That’s when we decided to play the big shots. We felt 270 was par-plus but considering the dew factor that was necessary,” he said.
Dhoni said the five-match series provided the Indian team management the perfect platform to test some youngsters.
“Glad that we could rest some key players, with some big Test series coming up. I feel the batsmen down the order like Kedar Jadhav, Axar Patel and Manish Pandey gained a lot of experience.
“It is difficult to get the complete product in international cricket so the new players should be given time to develop,” he said.
Batting first, India scored 269 for six on a surface where scoring was difficult as Rohit Sharma (70) and Virat Kohli (65) hit half-centuries.
In reply, New Zealand were skittled out for a paltry 79 in only 23.1 overs. There were five New Zealand batsman who failed to open their account during their dismal last day on Indian soil.
Mishra, who picked his second five-for was supported well by Axar Patel (2/9 in 4.1 overs) and Jayant Yadav (1/8 in 4 overs).
The leg-spinner, who did not get a chance during the Test series ended up with 15 wickets in the five-match series. Not only did his performance fetch him Man of the Match but also the Man of the Series award pipping Virat Kohli, who scored 358 runs with a century and two half-tons.
A score of 270 on a surface where the ball wasn't coming onto the bat would have been a challenge but New Zealand would have hardly imagined that wickets will fall in a heap when they were placed at 63 for 2.
The visitors lost eight wickets with addition of just 16 runs in space of 51 balls dashing hopes of their first bilateral series win in India....