KL Rahul in the middle order is turning into the best thing happened to the Indian cricket in the past 3-4 years. Rahul slammed his fourth ODI ton and his first against New Zealand in the third and the final ODI in Mount Maunganui.
Rahul, who is in tremendous form on this tour scored 112 runs in 113 balls in which he scored 9 fours and two magnificent sixes before getting dismissed by Hamish Bennett in the 47th over trying to accelerate the run-rate.
The 27-year-old came out to bat in the 13th over when Indian top-order was already back in the pavilion. Rahul took a stand for the team and proved his spot in the middle order by sharing 100-run stand alongside Shreyas Iyer. Iyer also continued his golden run with the bat in the series and slammed 62 runs. After Iyer's departure, Rahul was in no mood to stop as he built the innings with Pandey for a 107-run partnership.
It was probably the best ODI innings by Rahul as the way he controlled the innings in a pressure situation is commendable and his stay in the middle-order has given India a big relief for the future.
💯— BCCI (@BCCI) February 11, 2020
ODI century No.4 and his first at No. 5. What an impressive knock this has been from the versatile @klrahul11. He brings up his century in 104 balls with 9x4 and 1x6.#NZvIND pic.twitter.com/q8Vi5BK1I0
During his charismatic innings, Rahul slammed a big record to score a century outside Asia by an Indian wicketkeeper after 21 years. Last time, it was great Rahul Dravid, who slammed 145 against Sri Lanka Taunton in 1999. It was also the first century by an Indian player to score a ton batting at number 5 or below since MS Dhoni's 134 against England at Cuttack in January 2017.
Rahul has scored four centuries in ODI cricket and out of which, three have come on the overseas soil, which proves his ability to play outside Asia. It's also his first ton in the middle-order, before that he has slammed two half-centuries.
Riding on Rahul's ton, India put up a competitive total of 296/7 on the scoreboard in the final ODI after New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bowl. India have already lost the series with defeats in first two games.