India has won all three of their previous ODI deciders at home against New Zealand, and in Sunday’s big match two big players stepped up to significantly raise their odds of making it four out of four. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli became the first pair of batsmen in ODI history to combine in four double-century stands, and their 230 runs for the second wicket laid the foundations for an Indian total of 337.
A massive total, but not the insurmountable one India threatened at one stage, and for that New Zealand will thank their bowling in the last 10 overs, in which they conceded 85 while picking up five wickets.
Three of those wickets fell to catches at long-off – a not insignificant detail, for it encapsulated the value of the fifth boundary fielder in the third Powerplay. In the last five overs of the second Powerplay, when mid-off was usually inside the circle, Rohit and Kohli had hit six fours and a six in the arc between deep extra-cover and long-off. India scored 56 in that five-over period, and Kohli and Rohit looked unstoppable.