India suffer worst defeat in NZ, lose 5th ODI by 87 runs

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Wellington: A listless Indian cricket team slumped to its worst ODI series defeat in New Zealand, going down 0-4, after the Black Caps hammered them by 87 runs in the inconsequential fifth and final one-dayer here today.

Going into the match trailing 0-3 in the five-match series, the famed India batting came a cropper once again, bundled out for 216 in 49.4 overs by New Zealand, while chasing 304 at Westpac stadium here.

Virat Kohli’s 82 was the only saving grace as the visitors failed to put up a fight against the Kiwi bowlers, led superbly by debutant Matt Henry (4/38).

Earlier, Ross Taylor slammed his second successive hundred to power the hosts to an imposing 303 for five.

Besides the tie in the third ODI in Auckland, India had suffered defeats in Napier and Hamilton (twice) and today’s defeat continued their disastrous overseas performance as they had lost the ODI series against South Africa before coming here.

India had lost 2-5 to New Zealand in a seven-match ODI series in 2002-03. The last time the Indians failed to win even a single match in New Zealand was in 1975-76 and 1980-81, losing 0-2 in both the two-match series.

Put into bat, Taylor (102) shared a 152-run partnership with Kane Williamson (88), who scored his fifth consecutive half-century, for the third wicket to rescue New Zealand from a precarious 41-2 at one stage.

Taylor’s 106-ball innings was studded with 10 hits to the fence and one six, while Williamson blasted eight fours and one six in his 91-ball innings here.

For India, Varun Aaron (2-60) was the most successful bowler, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-48) and Mohammad Shami (1-61) provided decent support. Virat Kohli took the only other wicket to fall, while the spinners, R Ashwin (0-37) and Ravindra Jadeja (0-54) went wicket-less.

We failed to improvise and adapt: Dhoni

Dejected after being crushed 0-4 in the ODI series against New Zealand, Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said his team failed to adapt and improvise quickly enough against a side which was consistency personified.

India lost the fifth and final ODI by 87 runs here to go down 0-4 in the five-match series, the third match of which ended in a tie.

“Throughout this series, they (New Zealand) have played very good cricket. Their new ball pair has been very good but where they’ve taken the game away is in the middle overs batting which set up their charge late in the innings, picking up 80-90 runs consistently,” Dhoni said after the drubbing today.

Asked about his own team’s performance, a visibly drained Dhoni said, “It is important to improvise and adapt quickly, which we have failed to do.”

“From the talent point of view these are the players who have done very well in the past, winning the Champions Trophy.

But they have to back themselves to play their strokes and the execution was lacking,” he added.

Dhoni said the upcoming two-match Test series, which starts on February 6, would be a tougher challenge for his players.

“It’ll be a bigger test of character in the Test series and it will be good for our younger players. I am looking forward to it,” said Dhoni.

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