India after a dismal start earned a hard fought 35-run win over New Zealand in the fifth ODI Sunday to finish the series with a 4-1 scoreline in their favour, proving the heavy loss at Hamilton was an aberration. At 18 for four, India were heading towards another sub-100 total before Ambati Rayudu (90 off 113) and Vijay Shankar (45 off 64) forged a 98-run stand to ensure India ended with a fighting 252. Hardik Pandya's 45 off 22 balls also went a long way in India posting a challenging target and his two wickets later on showed why he is such an important member of the team. New Zealand batsmen, including skipper Kane Williamson (39), squandered their starts in the chase but the home team remained in the contest until Jimmy Neesham (44 off 32) was dismissed in the 37th over.
At the toss, skipper Rohit Sharma called the eight wicket loss in the previous game 'humiliating' and embraced the challenge of batting on a testing surface by opting to bat. With top-four falling cheaply, it looked Rohit's brave call backfired but Rayudu and Shankar produced an innings-reviving stand under immense pressure. Pacer Henry was the standout bowler for the hosts, taking four wickets for 35 runs while Trent Boult picked up three for 39.