Dhoni's racy 108 helps India post 360/5 against NZ | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Dhoni's racy 108 helps India post 360/5 against NZ

cricket Updated: Feb 17, 2011 01:40 IST
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An explosive unbeaten knock of 108 by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and a classy 89 by Gautam Gambhir powered India to an imposing 360 for five against New Zealand in their second and last warm up match of the World Cup cricket tournament here on Wednesday.

After sharing 68 runs in 9.3 overs for the fourth wicket with Gambhir, Dhoni set the nearly-packed Chepauk stadium on fire as he tore into the Kiwi bowling in the company of Suresh Raina, who made his exit just 12 balls before the hosts ended their innings.

Raina made a quick fire 50 off just 26 balls with three huge sixes and four boundaries and added 124 runs in 9.2 overs along with Dhoni.

For the hapless New Zealand, Jacob Oram and Tim Southee were the most successful bowlers sharing two wickets each, while Kyle Mills accounted for one wicket.

Earlier, Indian openers Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar started cautiously after Dhoni won the toss for the second time and elected to bat.

The Kiwi pacers extracted bounce and also kept up a steady line in length to stifle the Indian openers.

Tendulkar (17) was the first to go with the scoreboard reading 35 and soon Sehwag (23) followed suit as India were reduced to 42 for two.

However, Gambhir hit form at the right time and resurrected the Indian batting along with Virat Kohli (59), adding 106 crucial runs for the third wicket to save India from the embarrassment of another batting collapse like in Bangalore against Australia.

After Kohli's departure, Gambhir involved in a 68-run stand for the fourth wicket with Dhoni. The hosts made good use of the opportunities and also showed better on field intensity as both Gambhir and Dhoni rotated their strike and looked for big runs.

During their stay, the pair scored at 7.15 runs an over together for 9.3 overs at the pitch.

Dhoni, who took the role of aggressor after Gambhir's exit, was in his elements as he stepped on the gas and went on a run hunt, hitting the bowlers, particularly Jacob Oram, all around the park.

After completing his half century in just 40 balls, Dhoni raced to 61 with five successive boundaries, including a four at the square leg region and one over the bowler Oram, who was taken off from duty at end of 43rd over.

Dhoni continued his blitzkrieg and sent spinner Nathan McCullum to the ropes twice, much to the amusement of over 35,000 odd crowd that cheered every shot of the host captain.

New Zealand skippered by Ross Taylor, used as many as seven bowlers on the wicket which offered good bounce with the odd ball keeping low. But spinners McCullum and Luke Woodcock came a cropper against the mighty Indian batting.