It was yet another Virat Kohli masterclass in a runchase as India cruised to victory in the third ODI against New Zealand to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match ODI series. The Indian Test captain finished unbeaten on 154 as India got home with 10 balls to spare.
After losing the toss once again, New Zealand were asked to bat and looked in control but lost four wickets in four overs in the middle of the innings. A record ninth-wicket partnership between James Neesham and Matt Henry meant the visitors got to 285 before being bowled out.
In response, India lost both openers but that brought India’s two most experienced batsmen in Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni to the crease. And the pair put on 151-run partnership for the third wicket to bring India close before Kohli saw India home with another century while chasing.
Kohli speaks about batting with MS and Taylor’s dropped catch
For his unbeaten 154, Virat Kohli, was awarded the Man of the Match.
“Bit of luck went my way, I feel sorry for Ross, it’s never easy to drop a catch and the batsman carries through. I've done that, and Brendon got 300 in Wellington,” he said. “We may have given a bit too much to New Zealand, but we took it as an opportunity to chase them down, because we know we are a good chasing team.
Speaking about batting with MS Dhoni, he said: “Good to have MS up the order, and Manish gave me confidence as well when he came in. Shows the confidence he has, he was run-out in the last game, but he came here and did his job. Some of the boundaries he hit early on helped me relax. We fed off each other, I fed off MS as well. Me and MS had a chat, he took on the spinner, even mistimed hits go over the crowd.
“I know teams want to get me out immediately, so I take my time, go with the flow and then attack at the end. For that you need to play percentage cricket and I know I can play good cricketing shots and still get runs”
MS Dhoni on his promotion
Indian captain MS Dhoni spoke about surprise package, Kedar Jadhav. He said: "The surprise package has been Kedar, he has always given us wickets in the middle overs, and that's when you can restrict the opposition.
Speaking about how he gets wicket, he admitted: “I have no clue how he gets wickets. It's important to have one in the top five to bowl a few, especially with left-handers in the opposition with him being an offspinner.“
“I have batted lower down for a long time, I think 200 innings down the order. To some extent I am losing an ability to freely rotate in the middle, so I have decided to bat up and let the others finish. But I know I should still look for the big shots. Once you get 15-20 runs, you get into the groove. There were points in the middle where I had to pull myself from playing big shots, and batting with Virat helps because we know we can get boundaries, and get those quick singles and doubles.
“(On Kohli) Right from the start, he is somebody who always wanted to improve to win games for India. He is somebody who has learnt a lot and he is somebody who knows his strengths really well. It's very difficult to say what the top level is in cricket, but Kohli has done India proud”
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said: "Obviously frustrating to lose those wickets in the middle in a clump, we were probably looking at a bit more at that stage. But the lower-order performed really well. Neesham and Henry were outstanding.”
Speaking about the chase and Ross Taylor’s dropped catch off Kohli, he said: “But I suppose if you don’t dismiss this man [Kohli] in a chase. You have to dismiss them, Kohli and Dhoni put on 150 and took the game away. Boys tried hard, tried a lot with the ball. [Taylor's drop] It's part of the game, unfortunately, you want to catch them all, doesn't always happen. “
Here are the reactions from the cricket fraternity:
Take a bow @imVkohli Once again proves why he is so special14 100's in successful run chase &more imp love the way he finishes the game— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) October 23, 2016
Jab jab chalega @imVkohli Jeet dal dega india ki jholi.. well done— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) October 23, 2016