The success of the Indian run chase wasn’t in doubt after Kohli and Sharma guided the tourists to 152-2 before their partnership was broken in the 29th over. The New Zealand bowlers have managed to take only nine India wickets in the three matches to date.
Ambati Rayudu made 40 and Dinesh Karthik 38 in an unbroken partnership of 77 for the fourth wicket to see India home after 43 overs, the winning runs coming with five wides among 16 bowled by New Zealand. Karthik also kept wicket in place of M.S. Dhoni, who has a hamstring strain.
“Again, three clinical games for us,” Kohli said. “We wanted to continue the same. We couldn’t have asked for a better performance after the first two clinical performances. Just the relentlessness of the side is something that really pleases me.”
“When a guy doesn’t get runs in a couple of games the opposition still feels that he’s gonna fire. I haven’t had a break for a long time. It’s been hectic. I can relax and enjoy my break. Someday someone has to take your place and that’s how it goes. Shubman is a very exciting talent and I saw him bat in the nets and I was like wow I was not even ten percent of that when I was 19,” he said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
The New Zealand innings was built around a 119-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Tom Latham and Ross Taylor. Latham made 51 and Taylor 93 in a stand which began after another poor top-order performance and ended ahead of a limp finish as Taylor fell in the 46th over, just as New Zealand needed to lift its scoring rate.
Because of the laborious pace of their scoring, Latham and Taylor needed bigger innings and a more productive partnership to justify the overs their partnership consumed. India’s bowling was accurate and the Bay Oval pitch, the same one used in the second match of the series two days ago, was slow, not entirely suited to stroke-making.
But the only New Zealand pair to become fully established needed to make more of their starts.
Taylor reached his half century from 71 balls with four boundaries and Latham followed him to a half century from 62 balls with one four and one six.
At times Taylor appeared to be batting for his average. He came to the wicket early, when New Zealand was 26-2 in the seventh over after the cheap loss of both openers. Latham was in at 59-3 after Kane Williamson fell for 28, to a brilliant catch by Hardik Pandya at midwicket.
The pair shared the crease for 21 overs without dominating the bowling. After Latham was out at 178-4, New Zealand quickly lost Henry Nicholls (6) and Mitchell Santner (3), and had to rely on Taylor to build a more competitive total.
But he edged a catch to Karthik at 222-6 and the innings dwindled to an end after 49 overs.