India beat New Zealand by 12 runs in yesterday’s one-day game at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.
Batting first after winning the toss, the Men in Blue put up 349-8 in their 50 overs. Opener Shubman Gill top-scored with 208 off 149, becoming the fifth Indian to smash a double hundred in ODIs and the youngest ever. In response, Kiwi No. 7 Michael Bracewell slammed a spectacular 140 off 78. However, he could not take New Zealand over the finish line as the visitors were all out for 337 in the 50th over.
Gill dominated the Indian innings, clobbering 19 fours and nine sixes. The 23-year-old brought up his 150 by whacking Bracewell for a six over wide long-on. He later proceeded from 182 to 200 with three consecutive sixes off Lockie Ferguson on the first three balls of the penultimate over.
Earlier, Gill and captain Rohit Sharma (34) added 60 for the opening wicket in 12.1 overs. After the Indian captain perished, following a failed endeavour to go big against Blair Tickner, the Men in Blue also lost Virat Kohli and Ishan Kishan cheaply. While Kohli (8) was bowled by Mitchell Santner, Kishan (5) was caught behind off Ferguson.
Gill found support from Suryakumar Yadav (31) and Hardik Pandya (28), adding 65 and 74 runs for the fourth and fifth wickets respectively. After India lost a couple more wickets at the death, Gill took it upon himself to lift the team towards a big total.
Chasing 350, New Zealand were off to a poor start. Devon Conway (10) fell to Mohammed Siraj, while Shardul Thakur ended Finn Allen’s dangerous stay at the crease for 40. The wickets kept falling and when Kiwi captain Tom Latham perished to Siraj for 24 off 46, the game seemed out of the visitors’ reach.
Bracewell, though, launched a stunning assault on the Indian bowlers, with help from Santner (57 off 45). The duo added 162 runs for the seventh wicket to bring New Zealand back into the contest.
After Santner’s departure, Bracewell took the game into the 50th over of the innings. However, he was the last wicket to fall, trapped lbw by Thakur by a dipping yorker, with the Kiwis 13 runs short of the target.
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Gill was exceptional with the bat, carrying the Indian innings on his shoulders. However, for his spectacular effort, the Men in Blue might not have ended up with a winning total. Pacer Siraj impressed yet again, claiming four wickets, including the big ones of Conway, Latham and Santner.
During New Zealand’s chase, Bracewell played an outstanding knock that did not deserve to end up on the losing side. However, he was left with way too much to do.
Gill was named the Player of the Match for his memorable double hundred.
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