Indian ODI captain MS Dhoni came back into form as he struck a knock of 80 runs to help India defeat New Zealand by 7 wickets in the third ODI in Mohali on Sunday. Virat Kohli played an exquisite knock of 154 not out to steer the team to win. Dhoni and  Kohli put up a 151 run stand when India were in peril as both the openers departed early. The duo kept their nerves and paced the innings well to bring the team close to the target of 286 runs. After Dhoni departed, Kohli finished off the match in style.

Earlier, India’s pace attack that looked sharp in Dharamsala ODI appeared unimpressive in Mohali as New Zealand batsmen hit them all around the park in the first few overs of the match and in death overs. New Zealand posted a challenging target of 286 runs courtesy the 9th wicket stand between Matt Henry and James Neesham. Spinners Kedar Jadhav and Amit Mishra were impressive.

While Jadhav confused the batsmen with his toss of the ball, Amit Mishra bowled some genuine leg-spinners and googlies to share five Kiwi batsmen between them. Jadhav took 3 wickets and gave away only 29 runs in his 5 overs. Amit Mishra scalped 2 wickets and bowled his quota of overs at an economy rate of 4.6 runs per over. Axar Patel also bowled 10 overs at an economy of 4.9 runs per over.

At one point, New Zealand were reeling under pressure.They were 199 for 8. But then, Neesham and Matt Henry started hitting Indian pacers. Neeshan scored 57 runs, whereas Henry scored 39 runs. India’s pace spearhead Umesh Yadav took 3 wickets but gave away 75 in his 10 overs. Kiwi batsmen scored 34 runs in 5 overs of Pandya’s bowling. Bumrah, who was economical in the beginning, ended his quota with 2 wickets after having squandered 52 in his 9.4 overs.

New Zealand openers put up a 46 runs stand before Guptill perished to a swinging Umesh Yadav delivery. Umesh Yadav had dismissed Guptill in the second ODI as well. New Zealand completed their 50 in the 7th over .

In the second ODI also, New Zealand were looking to put up a big score on the board. But, Indian spinners had dried up runs for the Kiwis, restricting them to 246 runs. India couldn’t even chase that total. In the third ODI, it was expected the new ball bowlers would pose challenge to the New Zealand batting. Though, Umesh Yadav got the breakthrough, spinners put a break on the run rate. Kedar Jadhav again troubled New Zealand with his slow pace as he got in-form Kane Williamson out lbw. Star Suresh Raina couldn’t play the third ODI as well as he was recovering from viral fever. The onus of being a part-timer fell on Jadhav. He did justice to his role.

The newcomers Hardik Pandya, Jadhav and Axar Patel have been mighty impressive so far. The trio almost took the team home in Delhi ODI. At number 6, Jadhav scored 41 runs. Patel scored 17 runs and dangerous Pandya almost finished off the match with his 36 runs. Dhoni, who was in question for not being able to finish off the match, had got out again at 39 runs. Even in the third ODI, Axar Patel and Jadhav bowled beautifully.

Indian pacers had bowled in the right areas in Dharamsala as they dismantled their top order. India comfortably win the match by six wickets. Hardik Pandya was adjudged man of the match for his stupendous bowling. He took 3 wickets in the match to derail New Zealand innings.

Hardik Pandya is an important plan of Indian team management that is searching a genuine fast bowling all-rounder. Captain Dhoni and coach Anil Kumble have shown their confidence on the young player.