AUCKLAND - Ravindra Jadeja kept India's one-day series against New Zealand alive as the tourists took 17 off the final over to tie an epic third match in the series at Eden Park Saturday.
New Zealand were on the verge of sealing an historic series win over the world champions, after making 314 and then removing the cream of India's batting talent to have the tourists at 184-6 with less than 15 overs remaining. But Jadeja, who finished unbeaten on 66, and Ravi Ashwin who posted a career-best 65, ensured India stayed in the game.
Between them they put on 85 runs in 55 balls for the seventh wicket before Ashwin fell to a spectacular catch by New Zealand century-maker Martin Guptill, leaving Jadeja to get India to the end as the tail-end batsmen fell around him. Despite Jadeja's heroics, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni felt his side wasted an opportunity to seal a victory.
"You're supposed to pick situations where we could have closed the game quite comprehensively. Those were the situations that we didn't grab and there were a few of our batsmen who could have done that so that's a bit disappointing," he said. "But (it's also a) good result because it keeps us alive in the series. We can't win it but we can go for a draw." New Zealand, who won the first two matches, need to win one more to claim the series victory, while India need to win the remaining two matches to draw. All-rounder Corey Anderson, who finished with five for 63, had the role of bowling the final over to India and could not contain Jadeja who belted two fours, a six and a single to go with two wides.
Three overs from the end, New Zealand believed they had Jadeja caught behind but umpire Rod Tucker turned down the appeal even though replays indicated the ball touched the bat. New Zealand, who lost the toss for the third time, were sent into bat on a fast-paced wicket and were all out for 314 on the last ball of an innings built around Guptill's 111. Guptill and Kane Williamson featured in a 153-run stand for the second wicket and when it was broken in the 33rd over with the removal of Williamson (65) New Zealand felt confident enough to promote big-hitting Anderson up the order. But the move did not pay off. Anderson went for eight and was quickly followed by Guptill, then Brendon McCullum (nought) and New Zealand were 230 for five. Ross Taylor (17) and Luke Ronchi (38) staged a minor recovery but when Taylor was run out it sparked a collapse in which New Zealand lost four wickets over 18 runs. At 288-9 it was left to some lusty hitting by Tim Southee to get New Zealand over the 300 mark before he was run out on the last ball.
India had a scare at the start of their reply when Rohit Sharma was dropped by Jesse Ryder at second slip before they comfortably progressed to 64 without loss after nine overs. However, the momentum switched with a bowling change which saw Anderson remove Shikhar Dhawan (28) and Sharma (39) while Hamish Bennett, back in the New Zealand side after a three-year absence, removed Virat Kohli for six. Suresh Raina (31) and Dhoni (50) carried India through to 184 at the start of the batting power play. With the removal of Dhoni there was reason for New Zealand to sense they were in command, but Jadeja with his 66 of 45 deliveries, including four sixes and five fours, kept India in the game.
M Guptill c Rahane b Jadeja 111
J Ryder b Kumar 20
K Williamson b Shami 65
C Anderson b Ashwin 8
R Taylor run out 17
B McCullum c Ashwin b Aaron 0
L Ronchi c Rahane b Jadeja 38
N McCullum run out 1
T Southee run out 27
M McClenaghan c Jadeja b Shami 3
H Bennett not out 3
EXTRAS: (lb10, w11) 21
TOTAL: (all out; 50 overs) 314
FOW: 1-36, 2-189, 3-198, 4-224, 5-230, 6-270, 7-280, 8-280, 9-288, 10-314
BOWLING: Kumar 9-0-48-1, Shami 10-0-84-2, Aaron 7-0-52-1, Jadeja 10-0-47-2, Ashwin 10-0-47-1, Raina 4-0-26-0
S Dhawan c Guptill b Anderson 28
R Sharma c Bennett b Anderson 39
V Kohli c Ronchi b Bennett 6
A Rahane c Ronchi b Anderson 3
S Raina c Ronchi b Southee 31
M Dhonic Southee b Anderson 50
R Ashwin c Guptill b N. McCullum 65
R Jadeja not out 66
B Kumar c N. McCullum b Bennett 4
M Shami c Williamson b Anderson 2
V Aaron not out 2
EXTRAS: (b1, lb 3, w14) 18
TOTAL: (9 wkts; 50 overs) 314
FOW: 1-64, 2-72, 3-74, 4-79, 5-146, 6-184, 7-269, 8-275, 9-286
BOWLING: Southee 10-0-74-1, McClenaghan 10-0-76-0, Bennett 10-2-41-2, Anderson 10-1-63-5, Williamson 2-0-17-0, N McCullum 8-0-39-1
UMPIRES: Bill Bowden (NZL), Rod Tucker (AUS)
TV UMPIRE: Derek Walker (NZL)
MATCH REFEREE: David Boon (AUS)