Williamson delighted with understrength New Zealand following series sweep

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New Zealand overcame a mid-innings wobble to beat India in the third one-dayer, despite missing several key players.
New Zealand overcame a mid-innings wobble to beat India in the third one-dayer, despite missing several key players.

Kane Williamson praised the way New Zealand handled the pressure after his depleted side completed an ODI series sweep over India with a five-wicket win at the Bay Oval.

The Black Caps' attack – minus Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson, as well as Matt Henry and Adam Milne – restricted India to 296-7 in the third and final game, despite a century from KL Rahul.

Martin Guptill (66) and Henry Nicholls (80) gave the hosts a sound platform in their reply, sharing an opening stand of 106, and despite a mid-innings wobble, Colin de Grandhomme smashed an unbeaten 58 to see his team home with 17 balls to spare.

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Captain Williamson was particularly pleased with the way New Zealand fought hard with the ball, Hamish Bennett claiming 4-64, to restrict their opponents, India having at one stage reached 162-3 during the 31st over.

"As you know on some of these surfaces with some short boundaries, the job of the bowlers is so important," Williamson said during the post-match press conference. "They also operated nicely in partnerships and we were able to hold our nerve in key moments.

"Today was a great example. Once again, we were put under pressure by India, but we were able to have a really good death phase, which helped us keep India to about a par total.

"A lot of positives in different areas, so it's an opportunity to build on this series and keep moving forward as an ODI side."

Opposite number Virat Kohli admitted India had been second best throughout the 50-over games, a dramatic reversal after they had won 5-0 in the Twenty20 series.

"With the ball we were not able to make enough breakthroughs. And in the field as well, we were not good at all," Kohli said at the presentation ceremony.

"We didn't deserve to be on the winning side at all in the series. [We] haven't played so badly, but if you don't grab your chances at this level then teams are going to hurt you."

The focus for both nations now turns to Test cricket, with a two-match series beginning at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on February 21.

Williamson was able to provide a positive update on injured duo Boult and Ferguson, saying: "[I'm] Expecting all of those guys to be fit for the first Test and they're all tracking nicely."

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