Playing in his 200th ODI, Virat Kohli marked the occasion with his 31st century, scoring 121 runs in 125 balls smashing nine fours and two sixes. He became only the second batsmen to score a century in his 200th ODI, the first being AB DeVilliers.
However, after stupendous run of form, the Men in Blue fell short in the first ODI against New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. The Kiwis, who have had a relatively relaxed pre-tour season had done their homework well against the Indian team. On the other hand, Team India have had a busy pre-season battling against the Lankans and the Aussies.
After having elected to bat first, a disciplined bowling effort from New Zealand saw the Indian innings revolve around skipper Virat Kohli's hundred. Kohli's ton saw him moved past Australia's Ricky Ponting, who scored 30 ODI centuries in his career. Only Sachin Tendulkar with 49 is now ahead of Kohli in the list.
In addition, Kohli beat the record of legendary Indian captain Mohammed Azharuddin to become the skipper with most runs in a calendar year. Kohli now has 1318 runs in 24 innings, while Azhar had slammed 1268 runs in 33 innings in 1998. Moreover, Azhar had an average of 43.7, while Kohli is averaging in the excess of 79 this year. Overall, Kohli is now only third on the illustrious list of skippers with most runs in a calendar year. Ricky Ponting (1424 runs) and Misbah Ul Haq (1373) are within touching distance of the Indian captain.
The skipper's innings anchoring performance helped the Indian team to post a competitive total of 280 on the board. Tim Southee (3/73) and Trent Boult (4/35) were the pick of the Kiwi bowlers, while Mitchell Santner (1-41) limited the hosts' scoring.
Chasing a target of 281 runs, openers Martin Guptill (32) and Colin Munro (28) provided a solid start for the Kiwis, with a 48-run stand for the first wicket. However, the Kiwis were soon reduced to 80/3 by the 18th over on the back of some good bowling by Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Hardik Pandya. This brought Tom Latham and Ross Taylor together who steadied the innings for the visitors against the Indian spin attack.
The duo took the Black Caps across the finishing line with a recording breaking 200-run patnership - the highest fourth-wicket stand in ODI cricket for the Kiwis. Latham remained undefeated on 103, while Ross Taylor (95) just missed out on his century. Latham reached his century off 95 balls, to become the first New Zealand wicketkeeper to score an ODI century against India. The Kiwis also rewrote the history books, recording the highest chase in ODI cricket by any team at the Wankhede Stadium.
The Kiwis already have the upper hand in the three-match series, while the hosts would be under tremendous pressure to keep the series alive.
In other cricket tournaments, the South Africa recorded a dominant series whitewash over Bangladesh in the three match ODI series, to reclaim the top spot in the ICC ODI rankings. Following huge defeats by ten wickets and 104 runs in the first two matches, the Tigers were staring down the barrel once again after the hosts batted brilliantly to end the first innings at 369/6.
Proteas openers Temba Bavuma (48) and Quinton de Kock (73) put on 119 for the first wicket, while Aiden Markram (66) and Faf du Plessis (91) added 151 off 116 balls for the third wicket. Du Plessis suffered an acute lower back strain after turning for a second run in the 41st over, which saw him return to the pavilion. The Proteas lost 7 wickets for 80 runs in the final nine overs to end their innings at 369/6.
The match ended as a contest soon, as Bangladesh were reduced to 20/3 inside five overs and to 61/5 midway through the 15th over. Shakib Al Hasan (63) and Sabbir Rahman (39) show a brief resistance for the Tigers putting together a 67-run partnership for the sixth wicket. The final five wickets tumbled for just 41 runs as Bangladesh were bowled out for 169.
Du Plessis was named as man of the match, while De Kock was named as man of the series for scoring 287 runs. The teams now face each other in two T20 internationals. JP Duminy will take over as captain for the two T20I matches, to be played in Bloemfontein and Potchefstroom later this week.
In the Middle East, Pakistan completed a series sweep over the Sri Lankans winning the fifth and final match by nine wickets. This was the third ODI series whitewash for the Lankans this year, following the white washes South Africa and India.
Pakistan put forth a clinical bowling performance, dismissing the Sri Lanka batting for 103. Left-arm pacer Usman Shinwari tore apart Sri Lanka top and middle order after the Lankans won the toss and decided to bat first. He struck in the first over of the match to remove both Samarawickrama and Chandimal off consecutive balls. The fast bowler then dismissed skipper Tharanga and Dickwella in his next over. Usman then removed Siriwardana to claim an amazing five-wicket haul in just 21 balls, as Sri Lanka crumbled to 20-5. Usman Shinwari finished with 5-34, while Thisara Perera top-scored for the Lankans with 25. Hasan Ali and Shahdab Khan performed well picking up two wickets each. Chasing a meagre target of 104, Pakistan made a cautious and steady start to the innings and reached the target with 29.4 overs to spare.
In Bulawayo, the West Indies tightened their grip over the first Test against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo. The Windies currently lead by 429 runs with 2 wickets remaining on the final day. While Windies will be going for the kill, the hosts will be hoping to save the match.