11 Mar :Virender Sehwag smashed the quickest One-day century by an Indian as the visitors defeated New Zealand by 84 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis method in the fourth ODI to secure their first series win in Hamilton on Wednesday.
Chasing a rain-revised target of 281 in 47 overs, which was reduced to 263 in 43 overs after another rain intervention, Sehwag reached 103 in just 60 balls and when the rain intervened for the final time, he was batting on 125 with fellow opener Gautam Gambhir (63 not out) as India made 201 in 23.3 overs.
Earlier after winning the toss, New Zealand batsmen did well to finish with a competitive total of 270 for five in 47 overs at the Seddon Park.India were declared the winner according to the D/L method that help them the secure the series 3-0 with one match still in hand.
Man of the Match Sehwag and Gambhir gave India the perfect start. Sehwag was too severe on Ian O’Brien, hitting the fast bowler for 24 runs from his two overs and set the momentum for India’s run-chase. Sehwag got to his 11th ODI century with a six over long off and broke the 20-year old record of Mohammad Azharuddin (62-ball 100), also against New Zealand.
Skipper Daniel Vettori and the rest of the New Zealand bowlers looked like a hapless lot in front of Sehwag and what seemed like a formidable target looked ridiculously achievable. Only Vettori managed to draw some respect from Sehwag but not enough to stop India from registering a seris win.
After opting to bat the Seddon Park, New Zealand got off to a good start with a century stand by openers Brendon McCullum (77) and Jesse Ryder (46). Thereafter, a significant sixth-wicket partnership of 95 runs between Peter McGlashan (56) and Grant Elliot (35) helped New Zealand finish with a competitive total in a do-or-die contest.
Ryder, who scored a century at Wellington, looked in sublime touch and raced to 46 off 57 balls but part-time spinner Yuvraj Singh dismissed him to pull things back a bit.
The onus then shifted to McCullum, who brought up his 15th One-day half-century and helped consolidate the brisk start by New Zealand. McCullum made the most of the life he got after India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni missed an easy stumping chance when the batsman was on 43. Zaheer trapped McCullum leg before wicket to end his 95-ball stay while Ross Taylor (5) holed out to deep mid-wicket off Yusuf Pathan’s to give an easy catch to Rohit Sharma.
Ishant Sharma, who missed the last three matches due to a shoulder injury, looked rusty but picked up the wicket of Jacob Oram, who tried to steer an away going delivery to third-man but edged the delivery to Dhoni. In his next over, Ishant snapped up the wicket of Martin Guptill (25) caught at third man by substitute Dinesh Karthik.
With half the side back in the pavilion, young wicketkeeper batsman McGlashan, playing at his home ground, then impressed with his innovative strokeplay and cracked his maiden half-century. With Elliot he shared a 95-run stand to take New Zealand to a competitive total.
Earlier, Daniel Vettori, who came back after missing the third ODI due to the birth of his first child, won a rare toss for New Zealand and decided to bat.