Virat Kohli will return home a happy man as India has clinched the five-match series by comfortably defeating New Zealand in the third ODI by 7 wickets in Mount Maunganui.
The bowlers once again set the match up perfectly as they skittled the hosts out for 243 in 49 overs and it was Mohammed Shami who starred once again with three wickets. Shami's pace mate Bhuvneshwar Kumar got two wickets as the new ball pair had, like in the previous two ODIs, got rid of the openers early.
Hardik Pandya made a triumphant comeback to the Indian team as he plucked a stunning catch and also took two wickets in the game's first innings.
In reply, India notched up the total in 43 overs as Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu saw the team through following half-centuries from Kohli and Rohit Sharma. As was announced after the first ODI, Kohli will now leave for India and take some rest ahead of the home series against Australia.
Speaking to Simon Doull at the post-match presentation ceremony, an overjoyed Kohli said that he is delighted with his team's performance and can now get his much-needed rest in contentment.
"The guys are making those impactful performances and that's why we have been winning convincingly. Hopefully, we can win the last 2 games. I haven't had a break for a long time. It's been a very hectic Australian tour and now I go on a break very happy 3-0 up sealing the series. I can relax and enjoy my break," Kohli said.
Kohli was naturally asked about his possible replacement as his absence will leave a huge void in the team and the captain was delighted that the next generation of cricketers is already lining up.
"Someday someone has to take your place and that's how the game goes. I'm pretty happy contributing for the team as much as I can. A word on the youngsters coming in - I think there are some outstanding talents. We saw Prithvi Shaw grab the opportunity with both hands."
The captain had special words for young Shubman Gill saying, "Shubman is a very exciting talent and I saw him bat in the nets and I was like wow I was not even ten per cent of that when I was 19."
That is immense praise coming from a man who is already hailed as one of the greatest ever batsmen to have played the game. Maybe, Kohli's words are an indication of the impending future – one with the likes of Gill and Shaw.