Hamilton, 27 January:
Unperturbed by India’s remarkable performance in the tied third One-Day International, New Zealand wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi today said that, given their comfortable 2-0 lead, the hosts were all set to win the five-match series.
The series currently stands at 2-0 in favour of New Zealand after India had lost the first two ODIs in Napier (by 24 runs) and Hamilton (by 15 runs), and the third one, at Auckland, finished in a scintillating last-ball tie on Saturday.
New Zealand just need one win now to seal the series, and Ronchi exuded confidence. “We didn’t lose in Auckland. We obviously would have liked to win. I think a tie was a pretty fair result since both sides played some good cricket. It was a serious game of cricket to watch and be a part of. I think it was a fair result in the end,” he said ahead of the fourth ODI here tomorrow.
“We are still playing good cricket and still in a good mind frame, we have to keep going that way. We are very much on target to win the series,” he said.
The Black Caps had scored 314 and India looked set to go down 0-3 in the series before stunning half-centuries from Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja helped the visitors snatch a sensational tie from the jaws of defeat in the previous game. New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum and coach Mike Hesson subsequently rued the chances missed by the Kiwis in the tied game, and Ronchi, told of that, said: “There are lots of different things that you can pick on since it was such a close match. There were opportunities missed in the field in terms of catching and stumping and all that. With batting, you sort of think you could have picked up a run here or there, maybe. There are so many different situations where you can think we could have made one run there. But we need to look forward,” Ronchi said.
In Auckland, a predominantly Indian crowd cheered the visitors on till the last ball, even as the home team seemed a bit flustered.
“India’s fans are everywhere. It was a good atmosphere,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman, who has played international cricket for both Australia and New Zealand.
“The noise that the crowd made when the penultimate ball was hit for a six was awesome. It was a nice thing to have and that’s what you play cricket for," Ronchi said.
A significant feature of this series has been the fact that India have won the toss in all three ODIs so far and opted to field, twice finishing second-best despite very intense run-chases.
Asked about this, Ronchi said: “At the moment, batting first is working well for us. The gameplan we have is working out well with guys batting through the middle overs, and then we have got our hitters towards the end. If we win the toss, things might change but at the moment that’s what we have got and that’s the way we have to play. We are comfortable with the way it is working and hoping that it continues.”