CHRIST CHURCH: New Zealand’s power-hitting allrounder stormed back into form on Tuesday night, swatting them to a five-wicket victory and 3-0 one-day international series clean sweep over India at Mount Maunganui.
De Grandhomme had a grand total of 14 runs from five innings against India on this tour and almost looked like he’d forgotten how to bat. Thankfully for a wobbling Black Caps chase, he exploded in the nick of time, some hefty blows in his unbeaten 58 off 28 balls helping them chase down 297 with 17 balls to spare.
Half-centuries from Henry Nicholls and Martin Guptill set a platform a team should always win from, then Tom Latham (32 not out) helped de Grandhomme coolly guide it home after a mini-collapse. It wasn’t as convincing as the game one chase in Hamilton, but a win’s a win.
A KL Rahul century was not enough to save the tourists, who scored a respectable 296 for seven after losing the toss and being asked to bat. But the Black Caps, stung by a 5-0 whitewash in the recent Twenty20 series, were determined not to let the chance of a retaliatory clean sweep in the ODIs slip away. Openers Henry Nicholls and Martin Guptill gave the Black Caps a flying start with 80 and 66 respectively before Colin de Grandhomme saw them home when he bludgeoned 58 off 28 balls.
The hosts finished on 300 for five, reaching India’s target with 17 balls to spare, despite a mid-innings wobble.
It is the first time India have been whitewashed in a bilateral ODI series of three or more matches since 1989 and the only time it has ever happened against New Zealand.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahals was the pick of India’s bowlers, taking three for 47.
Earlier, Rahul boosted India’s hopes with his fourth ODI century, bringing up the landmark off 104 balls, before departing on 112.
He was supported by a gritty 62 from Shreyas Iyer but most of India’s batters failed to live up to captain Virat Kohli’s pre-match exhortation to play positively and post a big total.
Prithvi Shaw and Manish Pandey both reached the 40s but no other batters made double figures, with Kohli out for nine.
Still, Rahul looked set to steer India to a huge total before Black Caps paceman Hamish Bennett slowed the scoring with a late flurry of wickets.
Rahul had a life on 64 when Mitchell Santner’s throw at the stumps went wide and the batsman made the most of it to score his fourth ODI century, bringing up the landmark off 104 balls, including nine fours and one six. Bennett dismissed Rahul for 112 and then snared Manish Pandey for 42 off his next ball. His fourth wicket came when Shardul Thakur sent a full toss straight to de Grandhomme, and the bowler was unlucky not to get another when Navdeep Saini almost edged the next delivery onto his stumps.
The focus now turns to Test cricket, with the first of two five-day matches scheduled to begin in Wellington on February 21.
The results of both matches will count toward the inaugural ICC World Test Championship, in which India are runaway leaders at the top of the ladder.