India defeated New Zealand by 90 runs in the third and final ODI of the series, securing a 3-0 sweep at the Holkar Cricket Stadium on Tuesday. The victory also propelled India to the top of the ICC Men's ODI Team Rankings, pushing England to second place and causing New Zealand to fall to fourth.
India's strong performance was led by impressive centuries from Shubman Gill (112 off 78) and Rohit Sharma (101 off 85), as well as a valuable fifty from Hardik Pandya (54 off 38), which allowed them to score a massive 385/9 in the allotted 50 overs. Gill and Sharma's opening partnership of 212 runs set the tone for the rest of the Indian batting lineup, with contributions from Virat Kohli, Ishan Kishan, and Suryakumar Yadav.
The Indian team put on a dominant performance throughout the series, with their batsmen showing exceptional form and their bowlers executing their plans perfectly. The opening partnership between Gill and Sharma was particularly noteworthy, as they set a strong foundation for the rest of the team to build on. Their aggressive approach and ability to hit boundaries and sixes consistently put pressure on the New Zealand bowlers and allowed India to score quickly.
The Indian bowling attack also impressed, with Thakur and Kuldeep leading the way with their wicket-taking ability. Thakur's three back-to-back wickets in the middle of the New Zealand innings were crucial in swinging the game in India's favor, and Kuldeep's variations and accuracy made it difficult for the New Zealand batsmen to score runs. The rest of the Indian bowlers also chipped in with important wickets, making it difficult for New Zealand to mount a comeback.
In response, New Zealand got off to a poor start, losing Finn Allen for a duck in the first over, but Devon Conway and Henry Nicholls put up a fight with a 106-run partnership for the second wicket. Conway, in particular, scored a fighting century of 138 off 100, but it was not enough to overcome the substantial deficit. Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep Yadav were India's most successful bowlers, with Thakur taking 3 wickets and Kuldeep taking 3 wickets.
Conway's century for New Zealand, despite the loss, was also a positive takeaway for the visitors, who will look to build on his performance in future matches. His knock showcased his ability to score quickly and his range of shots, which he used to keep the Indian bowlers at bay for a while.
Overall, India's series sweep is a testament to their strength as a team, and they will now look to carry this momentum forward in their upcoming matches. On the other hand, New Zealand will have to regroup and come up with strategies to improve their performance against India in the future.