Trent Boult ensured New Zealand had to be involved in the fourth ODI at Seddon Park, Hamilton for just about three and a half hours on Thursday with a comfortable 8-wicket win. The left-arm seamer was on the money from the word go where he bowled 10 overs consecutively, conceded 21 runs with four maidens and picked up a fifer. It resulted in disarray and misery for the Indian batting which never really got going and the visitors were bowled out for 92 runs – their seventh lowest ODI total and second lowest against New Zealand. It is also the lowest total at the venue with previous lowest also belonging to India (122).
In Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni’s absence, two steady and experienced heads in India’s batting, the attempt at testing the bench strength faltered excruciatingly. Among the team changes, Shubman Gill came in with Dhoni still unfit while Khaleel Ahmed was also brought in to give some breathing room to Mohammed Shami.
After three comfortable outings where the batting was hardly tested, its vulnerabilities were brutally exposed by Boult and Colin de Grandhomme. In first match which offered support to the seamers, New Zealand won the toss and Kane Williamson’s decision to field immediately paid dividends.
“I don’t think we expected this much. But the guys bowled well. It was nice to bowl them out for 90 odd. It was just one of those days. It was an outstanding performance today,” said New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson at the post match ceremony.
Boult troubled the Indian batsmen with movement both ways, while Grandhomme gave him perfect support from the other end. “Nice to see the ball moving around, made the most of it,” said Boult, who was adjudged Man of the Match for his stupendous performance.
Not all Indian batsmen were done in by Boult’s prowess with some failing to apply themselves against the swing bowling. Only four Indian batsmen — Shikhar Dhawan (13), Hardik Pandya (16), Kuldeep Yadav (15) and Yuzvendra Chahal (18 not out) — posted double digit scores.
Dhawan started brightly but was first to depart after being caught plumb in front by Boult in the sixth over. Rohit, playing his 200th ODI, didn’t have a happy outing and was caught by Boult off his own bowling an over later.
Grandhomme then joined the party and dismissed both Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik for ducks in a span of four balls in the 11th over.
Shubman (9) persisted at the non-striker’s end for a little while but pressure got the better of him as he was dismissed in the same fashion as Rohit – caught by Boult off his own bowling.
Reeling at 33/5, India desperately a steady head in Kohli or Dhoni to bail them out but in their absence, the onus was on Pandya and Kedar Jadhav to do the repair job.
But it was not to be as wickets kept tumbling with Boult ripping apart India’s line-up, dismissing Jadhav and Pandya in quick succession.
Struggling at 55/8, Chahal and Kuldeep shared 25 runs for the ninth wicket to take India close to the 100-run mark before being shot out in 30.5 overs.
While chasing, even though New Zealand lost Martin Guptill (14) and Kane Williamson (11) early to Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/25), the hosts completed the formalities in 14.4 overs with eight wickets in hand. Henry Nicholls (30 not out) and Ross Taylor (37 not out) then completed the easy task for the Kiwis without any further damage.