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‘Beating India one hell of an achievement’

Hamilton: New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum says beating World Champions India in an ODI series was “hell of an achievement” and acknowledged crucial contributions with the bat by Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson in their “emphatic” victory.

New Zealand on Tuesday hammered India by seven wickets to take a 3-0 lead in the five-match series, with only one game left to play at Wellington on Friday.

“This is a big moment for us. We are obviously proud with what we had achieved in South Africa and England in those one-day series. But this series, they were the No. 1 ODI team in the world when they arrived here and we knew how dominant their batting line-up is.

“To have tipped them up and be sitting after the fourth game at 3-0 is a pretty good achievement for us,” McCullum said at the press conference.

The hosts now target to win the last match as well. “The last game is also very important and 4-0 is what we want to strive for. But we won’t let this opportunity to really enjoy what we have achieved pass us by either. I think it’s one hell of an achievement .

“We will worry about the next couple of days, tomorrow morning when we wake up. But we are obviously delighted at the moment and we should have another couple of guys who are fresh and ready to go in the next game as well,” McCullum said.

“To beat a very, very good Indian team, especially in these conditions which I thought were more favourable to them, was a great achievement. We closed out the series which we have been talking about all through the summer, so we are really pleased with the effort tonight.

McCullum said the key to their win was execution of their batting plans.

“We continued the blueprint that we have shown with the bat built around Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson as seen in the last few games, and to execute that again tonight and get the rewards for it is incredibly satisfying. The boys are very, very happy at the moment,” said McCullum.

Ross Taylor hit 112 runs and put on a 130-run partnership with Williamson to grind the Indian bowling and chase down the 279 target with 11 balls to spare.

“The key to winning this series has been how we have got to that power situation, in the partnerships. Kane and Ross are two senior batsmen, how they have played throughout the series has allowed us to get to that 35-over mark.

“Sometimes we have capitalised and at other times, we haven’t. The cricket we have played to get to that point has been high class and credit has to go to both Ross and Kane for how well they are playing at the moment and how well they are allowing us as a batting group to set big totals when we are batting first and as we saw tonight, chase down a big total in tough conditions,” said McCullum.

It was the first time in this series that the hosts batted second. Mahendra Singh Dhoni won a fourth consecutive toss and this time chose to bat first, instead of his usual tactic of chasing in the first three ODIs.

“Chasing is different. We discussed it leading into the last game, and we said if we do find ourselves chasing, the blueprint shouldn’t really change. When we chased 360 against West Indies, we didn’t quite get it right.

“And we discussed it as a batting group, how we are going to go about doing it and just try and replicate what we do batting first and that’s still trying to put together partnerships, try and get to sort of that 35-over mark and have wickets in hand and obviously not too many runs to get. If we do that, then we would be pretty hard to beat in the back end of the game,” said McCullum. (PTI)