TOI looks at five of the most nail-biting India-New Zealand ODIs in the last 40 years:
1985 Benson and Hedges semifinal, SCG (India won by 7 wkts)
The scoreline might suggest that the then world champions India had it easy.But for a very long time, they were pushed into a tight corner on a difficult pitch. Chasing 207, India had reached 102/3, but the asking-rate had shot well past 6 – quite high by 1985 standards. It was at this point that captainSunil Gavaskar promoted Kapil Dev, whose brilliant unbeaten 37-ball 54 completely changed the course of the game. Giving Kapil company was the ever-reliable Dilip Vengsarkar, who was unbeaten on 63 off 59 balls as India made the final, where they beat Pakistan.
1990 Rothman’s Cup tri-series, Wellington (India won by 1 run)
It was Mohd Azharuddin’s first tour as Indian captain and things weren’t quite going right. After making a poor start to the tri-series, India were in a must-win situation. Kapil Dev’s 46 and Sachin Tendulkar‘s 36 helped India reach 221. New Zealand were on their way to victory when a brilliant 49th over by Manoj Prabhakar (3/37) gave India hope. But with Richard Hadlee still there and NZ needing 10 runs off six balls, it was the hosts’ game to lose. Kapil bowled a superb last over, dismissing Hadlee off the last ball to help India score a memorable 1-run win.
2000 ICC Champions Trophy final, Nairobi (NZ won by 4 wkts)
Under new captain Sourav Ganguly, India were in brilliant form and were the overwhelming favourites. It was Ganguly’s 117 that had helped India reach 264/6, which seemed like a good score on a pitch which was getting slower. But coming in at No. 5, Chris Cairns, returning to play the match after recovering from injury, smashed one of the best ODI knocks in a final. He attacked the Indian bowlers and his unbeaten 102 helped the Kiwis pip India with two balls to spare.
2003 bilateral series, 6th ODI, Auckland (India won by 1 wkt)
This was a series where India were getting hammered on green-tops both in Tests and ODIs. India had already lost the ODI series by the time this game was played but careers were on the line, especially with the World Cup coming up. Again, on a green pitch, India bowled New Zealand out for 199. Then it was Virender Sehwag’s superb 112 off 139 balls that brought India close. Sehwag counter-attacked the likes of Shane Bond and Daryl Tuffey and when he was dismissed, India had 18 more to get with six wickets in hand. But India were reduced to 198-9 and another humiliation was looming when the last-wicket partnership of Javagal Srinath and Ashish Nehra helped them scrape home.
2019 World Cup semifinal, Old Trafford (NZ won by 18 runs)
One of India’s worst defeats in recent times. It also marked the end of MS Dhoni’s international career. Virat Kohli‘s boys had made the semifinals winning 7 of 9 games. When they reduced the Kiwis to 239-8, it looked like a cakewalk. But rain intervened and the match was pushed to the second day. With the ball seaming around next morning, India were reduced to 5-3. The match was kept alive by Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja (77 off 59 balls). After Jadeja got dismissed, Dhoni hit a six off Lockie Ferguson and they needed 25 off 10 balls with Jimmy Neesham to bowl the last over. But Dhoni was run out by a brilliant throw by Martin Guptill from the deep while trying a second run off the third ball of the 49th over. It brought down the curtains on MSD’s career and the Indian campaign.
There have been quite a few outstanding individual performances in ODIs played between the two teams…
Chetan Sharma got India’s first ODI hat-trick and Sunil Gavaskar scored his only ODI century against New Zealand in a must-win World Cup group league match in Ahmedabad in the 1987 World Cup which India won.
Mohd Azharuddin’s 65-ball 108 helped India win in Baroda in a bilateral ODI. It was an Indian record for the fastest ODI century for a long time before Sehwag broke it in 2009.
Sachin Tendulkar opened for the first time in ODIs in 1994 at Eden Park Auckland and smashed 82 off 49 balls in a winning cause.
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