KL Rahul’s fourth ODI century was not enough to prevent New Zealand from securing a five-wicket victory to complete a 3-0 series whitewash of India at Bay Oval on Tuesday.
Rahul struck a classy 112 from 113 balls as India posted 296-7 at Mount Maunganui after the fit-again Kane Williamson won the toss and put the tourists in, Hamish Bennett taking 4-64.
That was not enough for Virat Kohli’s side, who whitewashed the Black Caps in the Twenty20 series, to claim a consolation victory as the Cricket World Cup runners-up reached their target with 17 balls to spare.
Henry Nicholls (80) Martin Guptill (66 off 46) put on 106 for the first wicket and Colin de Grandhomme blasted 58 from 28 deliveries to consign India to another defeat.
Kyle Jamieson cleaned up Mayank Agarwal in the second over and held to a catch at third man to claim the big scalp of Kohli for only nine off the bowling of Bennett.
Prithvi Shaw (40) looked well set before he was run out, but Iyer and Rahul put India on their way to setting a challenging target with a fourth-wicket stand of 100.
Iyer brought up his 50 off 52 balls before falling to a short ball from Jimmy Neesham and Mitchell Santner should have run both Rahul and Manish Pandey (42) out.
Rahul, looking very much at home at number five as wicketkeeper-batsman, accelerated after reaching his half-century, taking just 38 balls to move from 50 to three figures before eventually falling to Bennett after Jamieson dropped him off the previous delivery and the ball crossed the rope for six.
Guptill and Nicholls made a great start to the run chase, the former crunching Jasprit Bumrah over midwicket for six and clattering the expensive Shardul Thakur over the ropes for his half-century.
Nicholls continued to tick along nicely but Guptill was bowled by a beauty from Yuzvendra Chahal, the pick of the bowlers with 3-47, after he ought to have been run out by Rahul.
Spinners Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja drew false shots from Williamson (22) and Ross Taylor (12) respectively before Nicholls was caught behind trying to cut Thakur, having struck nine boundaries in an assured knock.
It looked to be game on when Neesham was removed by the impressive Chahal, with the Black Caps needing 77 to win off 63 balls.
De Grandhomme and Tom Latham (32 not out) stepped up to seal the clean sweep, the all-rounder smashing three sixes and finding the rope six times in a swashbuckling outing to end the series in style.