Taylor masterclass sees Black Caps to stunning win over India

By Sports Desk February 05, 2020

Ross Taylor hit an unbeaten century as New Zealand pulled off their second-highest successful ODI run chase to beat India by four wickets and end an eight-match losing streak.

The Black Caps started the three-match ODI series at Seddon Park on Wednesday smarting from a 5-0 Twenty20 whitewash at the hands of India and had captain Kane Williamson among a string of absentees due to injury. 

New Zealand's hopes of stopping the rot, which started with a 3-0 Test series loss to Australia, looked slim when India posted 347-4 after being put in by stand-in skipper Tom Latham.

Shreyas Iyer (103) scored a maiden international hundred and KL Rahul blasted six sixes in an unbeaten 88 from only 64 balls after Virat Kohli (51) made yet another half-century.

New Zealand made light work of chasing down such a huge target, Taylor (109 not out) crafting a 21st ODI century to get them home with 11 balls to spare in their first match in the 50-over format since a heartbreaking Cricket World Cup final defeat to England.

Henry Nicholls (78) and Latham (69) also made contributions in a stunning victory, with head coach Gary Stead not present to witness it after taking a "pre-planned" break.

The tourists - missing the injured Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan - lost ODI debutants Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal in quick succession after an opening stand of 50.

New Zealand had a long wait for another breakthrough, though, as Iyer and Kohli put India on their way to posting a big total, the skipper hitting six boundaries in an effortless knock before he was bowled by Ish Sodhi.

Iyer struggled for fluency, but started to take more risks after he and Kohli put on 102, with Rahul at his explosive best in a brutal onslaught as India piled on the runs.

Rahul set about Sodhi and Tim Southee with a magnificent display of timing and power, while Iyer had his first hundred after being dropped by Colin de Grandhomme on 83.

Southee finally ended Iyer's knock to halt a partnership of 136, but Rahul and Kedar Jadhav (26 not out off 15) added another 55 off only 27 balls.

Nicholls and Martin Guptill set the platform for the run chase with an opening stand of 85 before the latter ramped Shardul Thakur to Jadhav and Tom Blundell was stumped off Kuldeep for only nine in his first ODI innings. 

The in-form Nicholls was in great touch as he coasted to another half-century and Taylor clattered Jasprit Bumrah for six over midwicket with disdain.

Kohli swooped to run Nicholls out, but Taylor raised his bat for a 45-ball half-century and Latham signalled his intent from the start as he and the former skipper made it advantage New Zealand. 

Shardul was smashed for 22 in the 40th over and Taylor celebrated an imperious hundred off only 73 balls after Latham lofted the expensive Kuldeep (2-84) to Mohammed Shami at long-on.

Jimmy Neesham and de Grandhomme failed to hang around following that stand of 138 between Lathan and Taylor, but the number four was still there to hit the winning runs in the penultimate over.

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