Impressive Black Caps bowling sets up series decider


A strong bowling performance earned New Zealand victory by 19 runs over India in the fourth one-day international, levelling the five-match series at 2-2 to set up an intriguing finale.

Needing a win in Ranchi to keep their series hopes alive, the tourists looked to have set a below-par total when they posted 260-7, adding only 76 runs in the final 15 overs.

But the Black Caps' bowlers came to the fore in the second innings, Tim Southee (3-40), Jimmy Neesham (2-38) and Mitchell Santner (1-38) particularly impressive as India succumbed to 241 all out.

The home side looked well set to take an unassailable 3-1 lead with Ajinkya Rahane (57) and Virat Kohli (45) going well for the second wicket, but their departures along with that of captain MS Dhoni (11) left India with too much to do.

New Zealand's triumph means the series is on the line in Saturday's decider in Visakhapatnam.

Kane Williamson's decision to bat first upon winning the toss seemed vindicated when Martin Guptill and Tom Latham (39) put on 96 for the first wicket before the latter top-edged a sweep off Axar Patel (1-38).

Guptill fell for a fluent 72 from 84 balls, caught behind off Hardik Pandya (1-31), but from a seemingly strong position at 184-2, New Zealand lost their way a little.

Williamson also edged behind to Amit Mishra (2-42) for 41 and Ross Taylor (35) was smartly run out by Dhoni in two of five further wickets to fall as the Black Caps stumbled their way to 260.

Southee struck first in India's reply, removing Rohit Sharma (11) with a beauty that took the outside edge, before Rahane and Kohli compiled a serene partnership of 79.

However, the loss of Kohli - well held by BJ Watling off Ish Sodhi (1-52) - began a demise that saw the hosts lose seven wickets for 69 runs.

Rahane was trapped in front by Neesham, who then cleaned up Dhoni before Southee took two in two balls to get rid of Manish Pandey (12) and Kedar Jadhav.

Mishra and Axar's eighth-wicket stand of 38 was ended with the former being run out following a mix-up, before Trent Boult (2-48) dismissed Axar (38) and Umesh Yadav to secure an impressive victory for the tourists.