India handed New Zealand a 12-run defeat in the first ODI of the three-match series, but it was one man – Shubman Gill – who stole the show at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Thursday.
With the Men’s ODI World Cup set to be held in India this year, Shubman Gill continued his rich vein of form as he hammered a double ton to guide home. Though Gill struck a double ton, it wasn’t a walk in the park for the hosts as Michael Bracewell all but took the game away with a sizzling 140.
After electing to bat first, it was Gill who singlehandedly powered India to a strong total. On a day when no other Indian batsman scored more than 35 runs, Gill hammered 208 off 149 to guide India to 349/8.
Opening the innings with skipper Rohit Sharma (34), the pair put up 60 off 73 for the opening partnership to hand India a strong start. While wickets tumbled at the other end, the youngster kept the scoreboard ticking and the boundaries flowing.
Apart from the opening stand, Gill added 65 off 53 for the fourth-wicket stand with Suryakumar Yadav and 74 off 67 with Hardik Pandya for the fifth wicket partnership. Gill’s double ton saw India post a defendable total. After getting off to a slow start, Gill pressed his foot on the accelerator as wickets tumbled at the other end.
Gill brings up double ton in style
The 23-year-old not only brought up his double ton with back-to-back maximums of Ferguson, but also guided the hosts to a defendable target.
But despite the dazzling Shubman Gill show the match was far from done. Rohit Sharma’s men had their task cut out. Though India took early control of the chase, Bracewell, coming in at no. 7, had other plans for the hosts. The visitors found themselves in a bit of trouble as they were reduced to 131/6 in 28.4 overs.
But Bracewell, who scored at almost two runs a ball, nearly took the game away from the hosts. Striking at a rate of 179.48, Bracewell hammered a 78-ball 140 to put New Zealand right back into the game. With just one wicket in hand and needing 20 from six the game headed for a thrilling finish.
The inform Bracewell was still at the crease with Thakur being handed the ball in the final over. After hammering Thakur for a maximum on the first ball, the pressure showed on the bowler as the next delivery went for a wide. The stadium broke into ruptures as Shardul got his man on the next delivery to bowl the Kiwis out for 337. Though Bracewell did review it, a confident India were already celebrating their win over the visitors.
While player-of-the-match Shubman Gill set the chase up with his double ton, Mohammed Siraj led the bowling attack with a four-wicket haul. Kuldeep Yadav and Shardul Thakur accounted for two wickets each as Mohammed Shami and Hardik Pandya picked up one each.
India will next take on New Zealand in the 2nd ODI on Saturday (Jan 21) at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Cricket Stadium in Raipur.