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Gambhir sizzles in India’s 8-wicket win in Pink City

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Gautam Gambhir 138* JaipurCaptain Gautam Gambhir scored a sizzling 138 not out in just 116 balls as India coasted to a comprehensive 8-wicket win in the day-night Second ODI at Jaipur. New Zealand asked to bat first had given a target of 259 for India which in the end seemed to be very small as the hosts won the match with 7 overs to spare.

The toss was won by Gambhir and with the dew in his foresight, decided to have New Zealand bat first in the afternoon. India went unchanged in this game while the Kiwis brought in Skipper Daniel Vettori and Tim Southee in the place of Grant Eliott and Daryl Tuffey. There was a quick breakthrough for the hosts when Sreesanth had opener Jamie How edging a late outswinger to the keeper in the 4th over. After a slow stay in the middle, Kane Williamson who scored just 29 runs in 46 balls was next to depart as he got bowled by a Munaf Patel off cutter which went through his bat pad gate.

New Zealand were pegged back at 64 for 2 in 16.1 overs when Taylor joined Guptill. Taylor (15) got going with a flat six off Yuvraj but got dismissed soon slog sweeping Yusuf Pathan’s first ball to Kohli at deep mid wicket. The innings was going nowhere at 96 for 3 in the 25th over when the experienced Scott Styris joined Martin Guptill and with his arrival brought some momentum. Guptill after getting to 70 from 102 balls got a rough caught behind decision from Umpire Sanjay Hazare when it appeared that he was beaten by a carrom ball from Ashwin in the 37th over.

It was a difficult situation that Daniel Vettori walked in during the batting powerplay. With Scott Styris, Vettori came good to put up a crucial 58-run stand for the fifth wicket. New Zealand looked pretty at 219 for 4 with five more overs to go before Sreesanth returned back for a new spell in which he removed Styris and Vettori in consecutive balls. Styris first miscued a slog pull to be caught by the Wicket Keeper around squareleg while Vettori shuffled far too across for a flick got bowled round his legs. Both these batsmen were well set at that time, Styris making 59 from 56 balls with 5 fours and a six and Vettori chipping in with 31 from 32 balls with 4 fours.

India had the Kiwis on the mat at 219 for 6 but a few lusty blows from the lower order bats lifted them to 258 for 8. Sreesanth was the most successful bowler for India taking 4 for 47 in 9 overs including a maiden. The opening batsmen for India – Gambhir and Vijay then eased to a partnership of 87 in nearly 18 overs to set the platform for a comfortable win. Vijay wasn’t fluent really and he had to work hard to score 33 from 58 balls before attempting a rash slog sweep off a skidding full ball from Vettori to get bowled.

Virat Kohli fresh from his 4th ODI hundred at Guwahati was fluent unlike Vijay and with Gambhir kept the scoreboard moving at a rapid rate. Boundaries after boundaries kept on coming on the fast outfield and India eased past 200 when Virat Kohli got brilliantly caught at short mid wicket by Taylor in a full blooded pull shot. Kohli by then picked up 64 from 73 balls with 8 fours.

The match was over by the 44th over with Gambhir and Yuvraj putting up an unbroken stand of 56 for the third wicket. Gambhir who registed his 8th ODI hundred got a flurry of boundaries towards the end, three consecutive boundaries off McKay all behind point in the 39th over were the highlights of his sweet knock. Yuvraj did his part in smacking a six and a four in his unbeaten 16 from 11 balls. Daniel Vettori was the only bowler who demanded some respect from the Indians with figures of 8-0-32-1. There was no guessing required as Gautam Gambhir took the Man of the Match for his undefeated century which helped India to a 2-0 lead.

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