India vs New Zealand 3rd ODI: KL Rahul's century takes India to respectable 296/7
India lost three wickets for 27 runs in the death overs and could not reach the 300-run mark despite the middle-order flourish from Rahul, Iyer, and Pandey.
KL Rahul struck his fourth One Day International (ODI) century to rescue the Indian innings from a precarious position and take it to a challenging 296 in the third and final ODI against New Zealand.
Rahul's innings of 112 runs (from 113 balls), included nine fours and two sixes, as he rescued struggling India from 62/3 in the 13th over. With this innings Rahul once again claimed the number 5 position as his own.
He put on 100 runs with Shreyas Iyer (62 off 63 balls) for the fourth wicket, and later on, another 107 runs with Manish Pandey (42 off 48 balls) for the fifth wicket.
For New Zealand, who have already clinched the series after winning the first two matches, Hamish Bennett finished with 4/64 from ten overs to emerge as the deadliest of the lot.
The home side made two changes, with captain Kane Williamson joining the playing XI after recovering from injury, while spinner Mitchell Santner came in for Tom Blundell.
India also made a change with Manish Pandey taking the place of Kedar Jadhav. This non-selection could be the writing on the wall for the 34-year old Jadhav, who failed to make a mark in the first two ODIs.
Two in two for Hamish Bennett! He gets both set men Rahul and Pandey. India 269/6 after 47 overs at @BayOvalOfficial. Jadeja and Thakur the new batsmen. LIVE scoring | https://t.co/ME4kbXC4Jg #NZvIND pic.twitter.com/VxtruokOMg— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) February 11, 2020
India's opening woes continued in this match as well, with Kyle Jamieson (1/53) knocking opener Mayank Agarwal's (1) stumps. Mayank was drafted in after Rohit Sharma was ruled out of the series following a calf injury, and going by the numbers, Mayank has suffered a torrid tour of New Zealand thus far.
But the big blow came when captain Virat Kohli (9) was caught at third man in the seventh over.
The other opener Prithvi Shaw provided the initial flourish with 40 off 42 balls, including three fours and two sixes. But he was run-out going for a suicidal second run in the 13th over.
Iyer and Rahul then took charge of the proceedings, and anchored the Indian innings. The former batted steadily and reached his half century off 52 balls, his third 50-plus score in this series.
But Iyer could not carry on as he was caught off Jimmy Neesham (1/50) as he looped the ball up, for a soft dismissal.
It was down to Rahul then, who crossed 50 off 66 balls. His partnership with Pandey progressed well as India reached 250 in the 45th over.
Rahul's hundred came off 104 balls, and he perished in a bid to accelerate thereafter. This is where India's innings fell apart, as Pandey also holed out off Bennett shortly afterwards.