Amit Mishra, India's leg spinner, foxed New Zealand's batsmen by claiming a five-for that helped the hosts thrash their opponents by a massive 190-run margin in the fifth and final ODI of the series played in Vishkhapatnam on Saturday.
At the toss, Kane Williamson, New Zealand's captain, said that he expected due to play a part in thwarting India's plans of playing three spinner on a slow-dry surface. India's spinners - and Mishra in particular - proved him wrong, as he excelled and wrecked the visitors middle order with figures of five for 18 in his six-over spell.
New Zealand's bowlers had earlier restricted India to 269 in their innings after MS Dhoni won the toss and opted to bat first. India's top four found runs but their relatively inexperienced middle order lost their way at the death and failed to push their side closer to the 300-run mark.
New Zealand's batsmen would have backed themselves to chase India's target and in the process claim the series. However, India's bowlers were in no mood to lose ground to the visitors. Umesh Yadav dismissed opener Martin Guptill, who had top-scored for New Zealand in the fourth ODI, in the first over itself.
An in form Tom Latham followed five-overs later and fell to Jasprit Bumrah. The biggest blow to New Zealand's chances came in the 15th over when Axar Patel accounted for Williamson for 27. His departure triggered a collapse, as Mishra stepped to the fore. His first victim was Ross Taylor who miscued his cut shot and edged it to Dhoni.
BJ Watling was foxed by a Mishra googly two-balls later. The hard hitting Corey Anderson was then done in by Mishra's flight and drift and he played outside the line to be trapped lbw for 0. Mishra dismissed James Neesham and Tim Southee an over later. New Zealand by the 20th over were struggling at 74 for 8. Mishra then accounted for Ish Sodhi to complete his second five-for in ODIs. Patel finished the contest by dismissing Mithcell Santner for 4.
In the ODI series, Mishra claimed 15 wickets - which is the most by any bowler in a five-match ODI series against New Zealand. The previous best was 13 by Darren Gough in 2001-02 and Sunil Narine in 2012. Mishra's tally is also the second-best by an India bowler in a five-match series.
"It's great for the team if I perform like this, they've supported me during tough phases. At the start, I was a little tense, but Dhoni told me to calm down, bowl at the wickets, and thanks to that, all went well," Mishra said.
"There was bounce and spin in the pitch, so bowling slowly, bowling normally worked for me. Anil Kumble also talked to me about it before the match, to trust my strength, to trust the flighted balls. Axar Patel has also been doing well, and if newcomers keep doing well like this, it will be good for India. Very happy with the way I am bowling, hopefully I can continue. All credit to my coaches, MS, Kohli, Ajinkya, everyone."