India claim No 1 spot in ICC rankings after 3-0 hammering of New Zealand in ODIs

Indian players celebrate their win on Tuesday night in Indore

The Indian cricket team once again came out on top against New Zealand in the third and final match of their three-game ODI series played at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Tuesday, handing the visiting side a 90-run defeat to take the series 3-0 as well as dethrone them from the top spot in the ICC rankings for teams in ODI cricket. 

The Rohit Sharma-led Indian cricket team is now the top-ranked ODI side in the world with New Zealand slipping down to as far as the fourth spot after they lost the ODI series in India.

It was once again a game which was totally dominated by the Indian players despite New Zealand making a comeback with a flurry of wickets in the second half of India’s innings, when they batted first on a favourable track in Indore, and Devon Conway led their response with a scintillating century but unfortunately his effort was not enough to take New Zealand anywhere close to the target that India had set.

Propelled by centuries from their opening batsman Shubman Gill and captain Rohit Sharma, India finished added strong total of 385/9 in their 50 overs with Hardik Pandya contributing with a 38 ball 54 in the company of Shardul Thakur, who cracked three boundaries and a six towards the later stages of the game to make 25 from 17 balls. 

Virat Kohli failed after getting a start as he was dismissed for 36 from 27 balls with 3 boundaries and six whereas Ishan Kishan (17) and Suryakumar Yadav (14) too had ordinary returns with the bat.

At one stage it looked like India would post a total anywhere close to 450 given how their opening batsman Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma batted against New Zealand bowlers, smashing them to pulp with absolutely no threat whatsoever from the Kiwis. 

India captain Rohit Sharma returned to the column of century makers as he notched up his 30th ODI century to level terms with Australian cricket great Ricky Ponting in the all-time list. The Indian captain was merciless with his strokeplay on Tuesday, hammering 6 sixes and 9 boundaries to make 101 from just 85 balls. 

It also looked like Shubman Gill would notch up his second career double century in a space of three matches but the young right-handed batsman was dismissed by Brian Tickner for 112 from just 78 balls, studded with 13 boundaries and 5 sixes. 

Despite a collapse of sorts in the middle overs, India recovered well to post 385/9 from their 50 overs with Hardik Pandya playing a crucial knock of 54 from 38 balls with 3 sixes and as many boundaries.

In their reply, New Zealand once again lost an early wicket in the form of Finn Allen who was cleaned up by Hardik Pandya without opening his account, but a strong 106-run stand between Devon Conway and Henry Nicholls for the second wicket brought New Zealand back on track. 

The two left-handed batsmen went about their job at a brisk rate, punishing the Indian bowlers with the batting friendly pitch and ground combined with conditions that made the job easier.

Kuldeep Yadav broke the second wicket stand, dismissing Henry Nicholls for 42 from 40 balls and from then on, it was a downward slide for the New Zealand team. Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham and Glenn Phillips were all dismissed in quick succession by India all-rounder Shardul Thakur, who shut out New Zealand from the contest all together even though Devon Conway played a brilliant knock from the other end.

The left-handed Devon Conway smacked 12 boundaries and 8 sixes and despite struggling with a cramp, he managed to make 138 from 100 balls to keep the Kiwis hope alive. However, his dismissal in the 32nd over with 230 runs on the board meant that the job of scoring the remaining runs fell on the shoulders of Michael Bracewell and Mitchell Santner, who could not pull it off as well as they did in Hyderabad in the first ODI.

Michael Bracewell fell to Kuldeep Yadav after scoring 26 from 22 balls with 3 boundaries and a six whereas Mitchell Santner fought long and hard for his 34 from 29 balls with 3 boundaries and 2 sixes. New Zealand were eventually bowled out for 295 in 41.2 overs, with Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep Yadav both claiming three wickets each.

India and New Zealand will now be engaged in a three-match T20I series starting on Thursday, January 26 in Ranchi.