New Zealand fend off Jadeja and Saini assault to clinch ODI series victory

By Sports Desk February 08, 2020

New Zealand survived a major scare to clinch a 22-run victory over India at Eden Park and secure an ODI series triumph.

After posting 273-8 in their 50 overs, New Zealand looked to be on the point of victory when they reduced India to 153-7 in reply.

Yet Ravindra Jadeja and Navdeep Saini led a gutsy fightback that came to a head with India needing 23 runs to win from the final two overs.

By then they were nine wickets down and Jadeja holed out to Colin de Grandhomme on the long-off boundary in the last act of a gripping contest.

New Zealand's success gave them a 2-0 lead in the best-of-three series, following an opening win at Seddon Park on Wednesday, and the runs that set the platform for this latest victory were hard earned.

Opener Martin Guptill made a run-a-ball 79 before being run out in the 30th over, after he and Ross Taylor chased a chancy single.

Taylor (73 not out) and Kyle Jamieson (25no) later shared in an unbroken ninth-wicket partnership of 76 that allowed New Zealand to post a testing score, just as India threatened to bowl them out in the low 200s.

A mid-innings collapse had seen New Zealand crumble from 157-2 to 197-8, with five batsmen in succession dismissed for single-figure scores.

Spinner Yuzvendra Chahal snaffled three wickets while Jadeja (1-35) kept the run rate down, with India hoping they had reined in New Zealand sufficiently.

Shreyas Iyer was then the only batsman in India's top six who could hold his head high. He made 52, but one aggressive shot too many proved his downfall, a rash swipe at a straight ball from Hamish Bennett resulting not in the intended cut to the boundary but a clip through to wicketkeeper Latham.

Amid a string of failures with the bat, Virat Kohli had his wickets clattered by Tim Southee and KL Rahul edged a delivery from De Grandhomme into the stumps.

It fell to the lower order to dig India out of trouble, with the eighth-wicket pair of Jadeja and Saini taking the fight to the Kiwis.

The tourists required 85 runs from the last 10 overs and threatened to get them. Saini clubbed two huge sixes, but Jamieson bowled him after the second of those, ending an entertaining innings of 45 and a 76-run partnership.

A misfield led to Chahal being run out, and it effectively came down to Jadeja versus the New Zealand attack. A lusty hoick from the left-hander proved to be his last of the match, dismissed for 55 with Jimmy Neesham's full toss lashed into the grateful hands of De Grandhomme.

The series concludes in Mount Maunganui on Tuesday.

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