Virender Sehwag plundered the hapless Kiwis attack all over the Seddon Park in Hamilton that led to India’s crushing win in the fourth ODI. Sehwag had smashed the fastest ODI Century by an Indian, in 60 balls as India made short work of an otherwise commanding total from the Blackcaps. The visitors have already won this 5-ODI Series 3-0 with one more match to be played at Auckland on the 14th.
It was a stop-start day at Hamilton that was filled up with countless rain interruptions. India were set an initial D/L target of 281 in 47 overs. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir made that target look absolutely small with their unbroken opening stand of 201 in 23.3 overs before rain put a final full stop to the proceedings. India were supposed to be 118 in 23.3 overs for no loss to claim victory according to the D/L Method, the visitors ended up a smashing 84 runs ahead of that!
Toss: Daniel Vettori returned to the side and he won the toss and elected to bat first for a change. India had replaced an injured Sachin Tendulkar (out of the match due to internal bleeding in his stomach) and Munaf Patel with Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma.
Kiwis recover well to score 270 for 5
After a potentially dangerous new ball spell, the Kiwis did incredibly well not to lose a single wicket, especially to Praveen Kumar. Jesse Ryder and Brendon McCullum continued from where they had left by putting up another breezy opening stand. The breakthrough came from Yuvraj Singh with Ryder top edging a slog sweep. The left hander scored 46 from 57 balls with 6 fours in an opening partnership of 102 in 19.1 overs. India fought back after that with the spinners or rather the slower bowlers – Yuvraj Singh and Yusuf Pathan stifling the run rate down and the Kiwis surrendering to them meekly. Harbhajan Singh carried the good work forward as India pulled the brakes on the Kiwis. In the 34th over, Zaheer got a yorker to hit the toes of McCullum (77 from 95 balls with 7 fours and 2 sixes) and in the next over, Ishant Sharma, who finally returned back to the playing XI got Jacob Oram with his extra bounce. New Zealand slipped at 156 for 4 and had wasted their opening start.
For some reason, perhaps the rain and the wet ball that the Indians couldn’t wrap up the Kiwis less than 220. In the final overs the bowlers got plenty of stick from the unorthodox Peter McGlashan, who made an unbeaten 56 from 42 balls with 6 fours and a six. The New Zealand keeper got good support from Grant Elliott who made an unbeaten 35 from 27 balls with 3 fours and a six in an unbroken stand of 95 in just 10.1 overs! The pair of Yuvraj Singh and Yusuf Pathan went for just 54 runs in a combined 14 overs. Harbhajan Singh had good figures of 7-0-34-0 until he was taken for two fours and a six in his 8th over. The promising aspect for India was the comeback spell from Ishant Sharma which showed that he was in top rhythm ahead of the Test Series.
Sehwag forces Kiwis to surrender
During this series, the New Zealanders have openly admitted that they fear Virender Sehwag. With the opposition already on their knees infront of him, Sehwag wasted no opportunity to crush them down further. The shot selection from Virender Sehwag of late has improved tremendously, he has understood the value of a prolonged stay in the middle. With an able partner in Gautam Gambhir who is always on the look out to take short singles and give as much as strike, Sehwag couldn’t have asked anything more. It wasn’t that Gambhir was taking a backseat, the left hander himself scored freely in an unbeaten knock of 63 from 67 balls which included 6 fours. Sehwag took care of batting the Kiwis out of the game. Although the target was 287 from 47 overs, Sehwag’s innings left hardly anything for a tremendously strong batting line-up.
The Kiwis had brought in debutant Ewen Thompson, a left arm medium pacer who was taken to the cleaners as he got hit for 42 in 4 overs! Iain O’Brien went for 37 in his 3 overs while Jacob Oram was smacked for 43 in 4.3 overs. Skipper Daniel Vettori was expensive at 5-0-32-0 compared to his high standards. The Man of the Match was obviously Virender Sehwag.