IND vs NZ 2023, 1st ODI: Gill's double ton gives India 1-0 lead against Kiwis; Bracewell's heroics wins hearts
Shubman Gill settled the debate for the opener's slot with a coming-of-age doubled hundred before India survived Michael Bracewell's blitzkrieg to pull off a nervy 12-run win over New Zealand in the first ODI of the three-match series in Hyderabad on Wednesday.
Shubman Gill ended the argument about who should open first with a coming-of-age double-hundred before India held off Michael Bracewell's onslaught to defeat New Zealand by a narrow 12-run margin in the opening ODI of the three-match series on Wednesday in Hyderabad.
In his exceptional 208 off 149 balls, Gill exuded class. He batted steadily throughout the innings to lead India to 349 for eight. The second-best total in the innings and captain Rohit Sharma's 34 off 38 showed that it was a one-man show.
Chasing a big target, New Zealand were down and out at 131 for six before Michael Bracewell (140 off 78) came up with a stunning century to bring his team back in the game from nowhere. He shared 162 off 102 balls with fellow left-hander Mitchell Santer (57 off 45), New Zealand's highest seventh-wicket stand in ODIs, to test India's nerves.
Playing in front of his home crowd, pacer Mohammed Siraj (4/46) produced a match-winning effort to stop New Zealand, who ended at 337.
The 23-year-old Gill took centre stage after India decided to bat and became the youngest player to ever reach a double hundred in an ODI. He surpassed Ishan Kishan, who was controversially dropped from the Sri Lanka ODI team following a double-century in Bangladesh last month.
After showcasing his talent in the 2018 U-19 World Cup, Gill was lauded as the upcoming star of Indian cricket. Gill smashed 19 fours and nine sixes, six of which came after his century. The second consecutive three-digit score he had was the double century.
After India decided to bat, the openers and New Zealand pacers engaged in a competitive battle that helped the hosts reach 52 for no loss in the opening 10 overs. Rohit once again promised a big hundred but was flattered to deceive.
Lockie Ferguson was generating a serious pace from one end. However, after getting lucky with a mistimed pull in the fourth over, Gill produced a crisp cover drive to deny him a maiden in his following over.
The Indian crowd usually falls silent after a wicket, but after Rohit was dismissed, they erupted in jubilation to welcome superstar, Virat Kohli. After scoring three centuries in his previous four innings, Kohli started with a crunching cover drive before being defeated by a stunning delivery from the left-arm spinner Santner.
Kishan, who was accommodated in the middle order after missing out against Sri Lanka, did not last long as he edged an angled delivery to wicketkeeper Tom Latham.
At the other end, Gill completed his fifty with a long-range slog sweep of off-spinner Bracewell. On 45, when Gill was anticipating the ball to turn, Latham fluffed a simple stumping off Bracewell, giving the elegant opener another chance.
Gill's luck was all his own because he never looked back after that. He used his feet against the spinners while launching his trademark pull shots off the pacers.
He pulled Santner to reach 99, then added a single to get his third ODI hundred. His most incredible shot was saved for the celebrations following his century, whipping a full delivery from Tickner between mid-wicket and mid-on.
After Suryakumar Yadav's departure, Gill shared a 74-run stand with Hardik Pandya (28), who got out in a rather bizarre fashion.
As India cruised towards 300, Gill reached 150 with a six-over deep mid-wicket off Bracewell. After that milestone, he went berserk and reached 200 with three huge sixes off Ferguson in the 49th over.
What was astounding was Gill's ability to hit straight sixes. His sensational hitting meant India hammered 57 runs off the last five overs.
New Zealand had a mountain to climb
Siraj provided the first breakthrough in front of a packed home crowd as his well-directed short ball got big on Devon Conway (10). Conway's opening partner Finn Allen (40), played some enthralling strokes but fell to a brilliant catch in the deep from Shahbaz Ahmed off Shardul Thakur.
Kuldeep Yadav was impressive once again as he got rid of Henry Nicholls with a perfect wrong one before trapping Daryl Mitchell in front of the stumps with the conventional incoming delivery.
With New Zealand struggling at 131 for six in the 29th over, the game looked over before Bracewell played a knock to remember. He toyed with the Indian attack, smashing 12 fours and as many as 10 sixes. He took the team to the brink of a famous win before falling short. The second ODI of the series will be played in Raipur on Saturday.
However, the Bracewell won the hearts of cricket fans, with most Twitter users asking the Kiwi batter to 'Take a bow' for his sensational effort. Here's a look at some of the reactions:
(With inputs from PTI)