Kohli and Dhoni the guiding forces for India

India vs New Zealand 2016 3rd ODI Report

India 289 for 3 (Kohli 154*, Dhoni 80) beat New Zealand 285 (Latham 61, Neesham 57, Jadhav 3-29) by seven wickets

DOMINATING Skipper and his deputy set up a remarkable chase as India take 2-1 lead in series

While we may have to wait for another biopic on him to know why he padded up at No 4 on Sunday, few would question Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision. The game was tilting towards New Zealand at 41 for 2 chasing 286 and Dhoni walked out aware it was as much a make-or-break situation for him as it was for the team. Over the next couple of hours, two of India’s finest ODI batsmen, also wearing the tag of best finishers, produced vintage and destructive class. Click Here To Read Detailed Scoreboard & Full Highlights

Matching each other stroke for stroke, Dhoni and Virat Kohli dismantled the Kiwis’ hopes. By the time they finished, there weren’t too many at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium not dancing to the beat of the dhol.

GUIDING FORCE

Virat (154 not out) and Manish Pandey (28) guided India home with seven wickets in hand after Dhoni fell with plenty more to get. Virat walked back to the dressing room beaming. As is his wont, Virat creamed boundaries in all perceivable angles. Dhoni, on the other hand, was an anti-thesis of how he usually bats these days. Right from the first ball he faced and pulled towards square leg, Dhoni intimidated the bowlers, hitting powerful sixes and cutting and pulling for boundaries.

He seemed to have discarded his recent game of nudges, and soon Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson knew their game was up. The Delhi defeat may have served as a warning, but the methodical chase gave India double joy, an easy win that also saw Dhoni back to his buccaneering ways.

And yes, we could relive Dhoni’s famous match-winning knock at No 4 in the 2011 World Cup final. He also completed 195 sixes, breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record for maximum sixes hit by an Indian in ODIs. The 27,000-plus Mohali crowd went home happy. Dhoni would probably want to carry this piece of turf with him. It was here that he scored his last ODI century three years ago, against Australia.

He had got to his first ODI fifty in a year only to miss out on his 10th century. While he fell short, the 91-ball 80 helped him regain his mojo. Virat was monklike in concentration, happy to play second fiddle to Dhoni, before taking charge. Virat has now scored 21 of his 26 ODI tons in a winning cause.

The best ODI wicket in recent times at Mohali added to the charm of the game. Kiwis began well, but lost wickets to spinners Amit Mishra and Kedar Jadhav, which saw the batting collapse between overs 30-40. At 199 for 8, all seemed lost before the ninth-wicket stand of 84 between Neesham and Matt Henry. In the end, the effort was dwarfed by the Indian skipper and his deputy. The teams travel to Ran chi aware it is the home ground of Dhoni. If he stays on the same gear, you will hear chants of Mahi maar raha hai once again.

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