Bangalore: A career-best 123 not out off 96 balls by Yusuf Pathan, studded with seven fours and seven sixes, powered India to an improbable victory in the fourth ODI at Bangalore on Tuesday when they chased New Zealand's mammoth 315 to take a 4-0 lead in the five-match ODI series.
The match was interestingly poised with India 203/5 in 36 overs but rain stopped play. If weather prevented any further play at that moment, New Zealand would have won by D/L method as India were 17 runs behind the par score.
But Saurabh Tiwary and Yusuf Pathan changed the face of the match after the rain delay and were simply unstoppable.
Among NZ bowlers, Andy McKay and Nathan McCullum took a couple of wickets each but none of the Kiwi bowlers was able to keep a lid on the Indian scoring.
Earlier, James Franklin once again turned out to be an unlikely hero with the willow as his smashing innings of an unbeaten 98 from only 69 deliveries helped New Zealand reach a commanding 315 for seven in 50 overs against India in the fourth ODI being played at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
After scoring 70 in the previous match at Vadodara, Franklin hit 12 boundaries and three huge sixes on Tuesday during his 88-minute stay at the wicket. The southpaw hit a couple of sixes and boundaries each as 22 runs were scored off Ashish Nehra's over which was the 50th of the innings.
It was due to Franklin's mayhem that Black Caps managed 63 runs in the last five overs as they crossed the 300-run mark.
Along with Nathan McCullum (13 not out), Franklin, who came to bat in the 30th over, added 64 runs for the eighth wicket after the Indian bowlers were successful in stopping the flow of runs during the middle overs when it didn't look like the visitors would be able to cross 300-run mark.
Earlier, put into bat, New Zealand openers Martin Guptill (30) and Brendon McCullum (42) showed positive intent right from the onset as they went after both Zaheer Khan and Praveen Kumar who made a comeback in this match.
McCullum, in fact, stepped out and slashed hard for a six off Praveen while Guptill also hit a number of boundaries.
However, Ashish Nehra had the last laugh when he got Guptill after being hit for successive boundaries with Yuvraj Singh taking a good catch in the cover region.
Nehra got his second wicket when Jamie How (4) poked at an away-going delivery and Yusuf Pathan standing at widish second slip fumbled but ended up taking the catch.
McCullum, who looked good for a big score, was sent back by offie Ravichandran Ashwin when his mistimed aerial shot was smartly taken by Rohit Sharma standing at mid-wicket.
The score was 91 for three at that stage. Then there was a 78-run fourth wicket partnership between Ross Taylor (44) and Scott Styris (46). The duo didn't take any undue risk as they took the score to 170 before Styris was holed in the deep by Saurabh Tiwary off Yusuf Pathan's bowling.
Pathan (three for 49) turned out to be the most successful bowler as he made good use of the bowling powerplay, being able to breach through the defences of rival skipper Daniel Vettori (17) and Kyle Mills (1).
Ashwin in the meantime got his second wicket when he was able to trap Taylor plumb in front.