Dhoni''s racy 108 helps India post 360/5 against NZ

Written by: Pti
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Chennai, Feb 16 (PTI) An explosive unbeaten knock of 108by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and a classy 89 by GautamGambhir powered India to an imposing 360 for five against NewZealand in their second and last warm up match of the WorldCup cricket tournament here today.

After sharing 68 runs in 9.3 overs for the fourth wicketwith Gambhir, Dhoni set the nearly-packed Chepauk stadium onfire as he tore into the Kiwi bowling in the company of SureshRaina, who made his exit just 12 balls before the hosts endedtheir innings.

Raina made a quick fire 50 off just 26 balls with threehuge sixes and four boundaries and added 124 runs in 9.2 oversalong with Dhoni.

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

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

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

Tendulkar (17) was the first to go with the scoreboardreading 35 and soon Sehwag (23) followed suit as India werereduced to 42 for two.

However, Gambhir hit form at the right time andresurrected the Indian batting along with Virat Kohli (59),adding 106 crucial runs for the third wicket to save Indiafrom the embarrassment of another batting collapse like inBangalore against Australia.

After Kohli''s departure, Gambhir involved in a 68-runstand for the fourth wicket with Dhoni. The hosts made gooduse of the opportunities and also showed better on fieldintensity as both Gambhir and Dhoni rotated their strike andlooked for big runs.

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

Dhoni, who took the role of aggressor after Gambhir''sexit, was in his elements as he stepped on the gas and went ona run hunt, hitting the bowlers, particularly Jacob Oram, allaround the park.

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

Dhoni continued his blitzkrieg and sent spinner NathanMcCullum to the ropes twice, much to the amusement of over35,000 odd crowd that cheered every shot of the host captain.

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

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