Wellington, February 3: Stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma showered praise on his team after India defeated New Zealand by 35 runs to clinch the five-match ODI rubber 4-1 here on Sunday. After a top-order collapse in the fifth and final contest, Ambati Rayudu (90), Vijay Shankar (45) and all-rounder Hardik Pandya (45) rose to the occasion to help India reach a fighting 252 before the Indian bowlers came into the picture to dismiss the Kiwis for 217.
"At the toss, I said we needed to come together as a team and we did that. Four down, we needed someone to apply, and Rayudu and Vijay Shankar did that. The way Hardik and Kedar played was magnificent," Rohit said after the match. "We showed a lot of character. With the ball as well. Bowlers got crucial breakthroughs at critical times. When you want to win games, you've got to find the right balance. Coming here and beating them at home wasn't going to be easy," the skipper added. NZ 217/10 in 44.1 Overs | India vs New Zealand 5th ODI 2019 Highlights: IND Win by 35 Runs, Take Series 4-1.
— BCCI (@BCCI) February 3, 2019
Meanwhile, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson also acknowledged the role of the Indian bowling attack and said losing wickets at regular intervals hurt his team's chances. "Scoring rate never got away from us but it was just that we lost wickets at the wrong time. They did it pretty well through Rayudu with 90," Williamson said.
"We know how well India bowl on any surface. They've taught us a few lessons in our own conditions. They're a world class outfit, they deserve the series win," added the Kiwi captain. With the ODI series over, the two sides will now face-off in a three-match Twenty20 rubber, starting February 6 here.