The Rohit Sharma-led India National Cricket Team defeated the Tom Latham-led New Zealand National Cricket Team by 12 runs in the ODI series opener at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad on Wednesday, January 18.
Winning the toss and batting first, India posted a humongous total of 349/8 in 50 overs. Shubman Gill’s sheer dominance while Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav’s decent contributions helped India reach the mammoth total.
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Shubman Gill played an absolutely stupendous knock and he dominated the Kiwi bowling attack. The Punjab-born batter smashed sensational 208 runs off 149 balls, including 19 boundaries and 9 maximums. While Rohit scored 34 runs, Suryakumar scored 31 runs and Hardik amassed 28 runs.
Defending the target, Indian bowlers – Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Shami – bowled very well and restricted the Kiwis to 131/6.
However, Michael Bracewell showcased batting splendidness under tremendous pressure and stitched up a remarkable partnership with Mitchell Santner. Mohammed Siraj ultimately broke the terrific 162-run stand between the Kiwi all-rounders by dismissing Mitchell Santner in the 46th over.
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In the end, the equation came down to 20 off 6 and Shardul Thakur was bowling the final over to Michael Bracewell. On the first ball, Thakur was smashed for a six, but he had the last laugh to seal the deal as he nailed a perfect yorker to dismiss the one-man-army Bracewell on the next ball to bundle out the Black Caps for 337. Michael Bracewell smashed spectacular 140 runs off 78 balls, including 12 fours and 10 sixes.
We knew that if we bowled well, we would be okay unless we really slipped up with the ball – Rohit Sharma
At the post-match presentation ceremony, Rohit Sharma said that Michael Bracewell was hitting the ball very well, but he was confident that they can go past the finish line if the bowlers don’t mess up badly. He said:
“To be honest, the way he (Bracewell) was batting and the way it came on to the bat nicely, it was clean ball-striking. We knew that if we bowled well, we would be okay unless we really slipped up with the ball. Unfortunately, that’s what happened. I did say at the toss that I’d like to see us challenge ourselves, not quite the situation I expected but that’s how it is.”
Rohit Sharma further showered praise on Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj for their brilliant performances in recent times. He said:
“He (Gill) is going really well. The form he was in, we wanted to make use of it and that’s why we backed him in the SL series. Free-flowing batter and it’s quite exciting to watch. Siraj has been brilliant, not just in this game but in the red-ball, T20 format and now ODIs. Really good to see what he does with the ball. Executing what he wants to do and he is very clear about his plans. Which is how it should be.”
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