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New Zealand fail to capitalise on good start, put 260 on board

Ranchi, Oct 26 (IANS) New Zealand failed to capitalise on a good start by their openers as they managed to put up 260/7 on the board against India in the fourth One-Day International (ODI) at the JSCA International Stadium here on Wednesday.

Martin Guptill top-scored for the tourists with 72 off 84 balls. His innings was laced with 12 boundaries. Guptill and Tom Latham put together a 96-run stand before Axar Patel (1/38) took the latter's wicket.

The Kiwis lost wickets at regular intervals in the middle overs which stymied their flow of runs despite going at a good run rate.

The Black Caps got off to a flying start with Guptill taking a liking to Dhawal Kulkarni -- playing in place of an ill Jaspreet Bumrah -- hitting him for three fours in his first over.

Amit Mishra grassed a difficult catch of Guptill (29) at mid-on in the seventh over, diving to his left but parrying his one-handed attempt towards long-on.

Patel outfoxed Latham (39) just when he and Guptill were looking good, with a slower one which the in-form opener swept to short fine leg for a catch to Ajinkya Rahane.

Moments later, Guptill brought up his fifty in 56 balls. The right-hander, who is looking to hit a purple patch, drove Kedar Jadhav to long-on albeit his celebrations at reaching the landmark were subdued.

Guptill continued to score freely, racing to 72 in no time as the tourists reached 138/1 by the 26th over. Just when things were looking good for Guptill, Pandya snapped his stay with a short of length delivery that the right-hander edged to Dhoni behind the stumps.

Kane Williamson met the same fate albeit a little earlier in his innings. Looking set at 41 off 58 deliveries laced with four fours, highly-rated right hander fell prey to Mishra's guile tryin to cut the leggie and in the process nicking to Dhoni.

All-rounder James Neesham soon followed suit, this time Virat Kohli taking a superb catch diving low to his left at cover off Mishra.

Watling and Taylor tried to up the ante as New Zealand were running out of overs. But a swing of the bat from the wicketkeeper who replaced Luke Ronchi went only as far as Rohit Sharma who took a simple catch at fine leg.

Smart wicketkeeping from Dhoni accounted for Taylor soon after with the former collecting the ball in front of the stumps and then deflecting it back onto the stumps, all in one motion to catch the latter unaware.

Umesh Yadav picked up Anton Devcich as the Kiwis set India a target of 261 to wrap up the series.

India lead the five-match 2-1 at the moment.

--IANS

dm/ajb/vt

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