India came up trumps in a battle of nerves against a gutsy New Zealand to win the all-important third and final ODI by six runs and clinch their seventh successive bilateral series by 2-1 margin in Kanpur on Sunday.
Rohit Sharma 147 off 138 and Virat Kohli 113 0ff 106 conjured up classy hundreds to fire India to a mammoth total of 337 for six after being put into bat first. While Kohli had already hit a fine hundred in the series opener, Rohit rose to the occasion after failing in the first two games after New Zealand put the home team in a strong position.
Kohli and Sharma became the first ever pairing to complete four double hundred partnerships in ODIs, were simply unstoppable against a New Zealand bowling attack that looked pretty ordinary on the day. Their spectacular showing also helped India comfortably beat the previous highest score at Green Park, 303 for five that South Africa made against them two years ago. The destructive duo was in complete control ever since Shikhar Dhawan departed in the seventh over and ended up with a record-breaking 230-run stand off 211 balls.
Tom Latham carried on his good form and played flawlessly to take his team on the brink of victory alongside Henry Nicholls before nerves got the better of them during the business end of the innings.
Martin Guptill 10 fell cheaply again, Munro and Kane Williamson 64 kept the visitors very much in the hunt with a 109-standoff 105 balls. The pair batted with supreme confidence on a flat surface, especially Munro who was not afraid to charge down against the spinners. It was also a knock of substance from skipper Williamson, who had not fired in the series until tonight. The two had taken New Zealand to 152 for one in 24 overs before under pressure India bounced back in the match with Yuzvendra Chahal removing the set batsmen. Their fall stopped the run flow and the required run rate per over went beyond eight.
For the better part of the match, Indian bowlers dished out an ordinary bowling performance but they bounced back when it mattered the most - in the final three overs. Required to defend 15 runs in the final over, 'King of Death' Bumrah picked up 3 wickets and delivered yet again. He conceded only eight runs in the final over of the New Zealand innings. More importantly, Bumrah bowled an astounding 32 dot balls in his 10-over spell.