Southee leads series-levelling win over India

Tim Southee (Getty Images)
Tim Southee (Getty Images)

Ranchi - Fast bowlers Tim Southee and James Neesham ran through India's middle order to help New Zealand to a 19-run series-levelling win in the fourth one-day international (ODI) in Ranchi on Wednesday.

Southee (3-40) and Neesham (2-38) shared five wickets between them to bowl out India for 241 in 48.4 overs.

Earlier opener Martin Guptill scored a gritty half-century to drive New Zealand to 260 for seven after electing to bat first.

Southee hurt India's reply with an early wicket but Ajinkya Rahane (57) and Virat Kohli (45) put on 79 runs for the second wicket to steady the chase.

Kohli dominated his stay at the crease with two fours and a six before his innings was cut short by leg-spinner Ish Sodhi who got the star batsman caught behind.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is trying to make the number four slot his own, walked out to a rousing welcome in his hometown Ranchi.

Neesham soon swung into action with two big wickets of Rahane and Dhoni as India's chase began to fall apart.

Rahane was setting a good pace after recording his 16th ODI half-century, but failed to convert his solid start into a big score as he was adjudged lbw to a Neesham inswinger.

Neesham got Dhoni bowled for 11 in his very next over as the crowd fell silent with the wicketkeeper-batsman once again faltering in a chasing effort after he consumed 31 deliveries.

But it was Southee's double strike in the 33rd over of the innings that completely derailed India's chase with the hosts slipping to 154 for six.

Southee got Manish Pandey (12) and Kedar Jadhav (0) off consecutive deliveries to be on hat-trick which was only averted by Hardik Pandya (9), who did not last long.

Axar Patel tried to infuse life into the chase with his 40-ball 38 as he looked to turn things around with Amit Mishra, who made 14, at the other end.

Mishra was run out after a mix-up while attempting a second run and Patel was bowled by Trent Boult, who took two wickets.

But the hosts did not bow out without a fight as Dhawal Kulkarni, unbeaten on 25, and Umesh Yadav put together 34 runs for the final wicket to give the Black Caps a scare.

Earlier the visitors, started off well courtesy of a 96-run opening stand between Guptill (72) and Tom Latham only to lose steam towards the end of the innings.

Leg-spinner Mishra led the bowling charge with impressive figures of 2-42.

The spinners, who were brought into the attack after the 10th over, dried up the flow of runs and Patel's left-arm spin managed to break the stand.

Guptill went on to complete his 31st ODI half-century as he and skipper Kane Williamson tried to build momentum against a persistent bowling attack.

Guptill, who was named the man of the match, though did not make the most of a dropped chance at 62 as he fell to Pandya 10 runs later.

Mishra ended the obdurate Williamson's stay at the crease after getting the batsman caught by Dhoni for 41.

India's bowlers kept chipping away as the visiting batsmen found it hard to get runs in the final 15 overs, in the process losing wickets at regular intervals.

Mitchell Santner struck an unbeaten 13-ball 17 to give respectability to the New Zealand score which in the end proved just enough.

The action now shifts to Viskhapatnam for the deciding fifth and final match on Saturday.

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