- Sinchan Saha | January 19, 2023 | 12:00 am
IND vs NZ, 1st ODI: India 349 for 8 (Gill 208, Mitchell 2-30, Shipley 2-74) beat New Zealand 337 (Bracewell 140, Santner 57, Siraj 4-46, Kuldeep 2-43, Thakur 2-54) by 12 runs
Shubman Gill and Michael Bracewell extended their congratulations and shook hands as they awaited the match’s final DRS review, a mere formality. To set up a modern classic, they had batted superbly. Before Bracewell made a game out of a chase of 350 from 130 for 6 with a sensational 140 off 78 balls, Gill became the youngest double-centurion in ODIs. When New Zealand lost their final wicket with four balls remaining, they were eventually within two sixes of levelling the score, Bracewell having already hit 10.
After the batter who replaced him while he was resting scored a double-hundred, Gill’s place in India’s ODI team was questioned. However, he responded by scoring 70, 21 runs, and 116 runs in his first three innings since returning. The batting conditions on this track were not ideal: Rohit Sharma’s 34 came in second place, and India’s 349 for 8 was the lowest total in any ODI innings with a double-century.
Mohammed Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav helped India take six wickets in the second half of the match, which proved to be the difference when Bracewell and Mitchell Santner added 162 for the seventh wicket in just 17 overs. The conditions changed as they always do. The asking rate was within reach toward the end, but Bracewell ran out of partners.
Hard lengths bowled straight were difficult to hit when play began, and the oddball turned for Santner and Bracewell as India once again took on the challenge of scoring a total they could defend under lights. Gill kept taking the heat off, scoring 19 off 8, 17 off 12, 12 off 8, and 18 off 10 right after the first four outs, but New Zealand kept taking wickets on a regular basis. From the 35th to the 47th over, New Zealand only lost 93 runs, but Gill made their biggest comeback, scoring 39 runs off their last 12 balls.
India got off to a quick start thanks to Rohit and Gill, but once Santner started playing short overs, wickets started to fall. Rohit skidded an intended hit down the ground because he felt the need to take on the bowling. Soon after, the first ball of the match hit the top of the off stump and passed to Virat Kohli’s bat. New Zealand had returned to the match thanks to Santner.
Gill appeared magnificent
His dismissive pulls, extra-cover drive, and backfoot punch were all on display. Gill attempted to immediately reduce spin, a welcome departure from India’s approach in such situations. Tom Latham missed the catch on his first attempt, which was an outside edge from a Bracewell off break that didn’t turn. Gill did not relent. The slog-sweep a six in the same over to reach 52 off 52.
Ishan Kishan was bowled out by Lockie Ferguson again, and Gill and Suryakumar Yadav appeared to be threatening with a stand of 65 runs in 53 balls. New Zealand made a crucial breakthrough when Suryakumar chipped Daryl Mitchell straight to cover.
Gill went to his hundred with a six and a solitary in the 30th over, minutes after Suryakumar’s excusal. India failed to fully capitalize in the overs just before the final powerplay with four down. Their final kick was pushed further into the innings when they lost Hardik Pandya in the 40th over due to a questionable call.
The final kick was fantastic when it finally arrived. Gill stopped searching for balls that could be hit with three overs remaining. He looked like he was going to smash everything to the ground. In the 48th, Blair Tickner was given two sixes, and in the 49th, a hat trick of sixes off Ferguson led to the double. He had hit 19 fours and nine sixes when Glenn Phillips made a special catch to get rid of Gill.
Instead of facing Siraj and Mohammed Shami in top form, New Zealand hoped for the ball to skid under lights, for dew, or both. With the new ball, Siraj has been focusing on his out-swingers, but this match saw a shorter window of swing than usual. As a result, Siraj lost the match in his third over. He put Devon Conway to the test on the hook after beating Conway once with the seam movement. Siraj got his first international wicket on his home field when the sharp bouncer hit a fine leg with the top edge.
His seam is always upright, so Shami doesn’t have to try these wobble-seam tricks. The two quicks bowled 23 balls without scoring between them, making life difficult for the New Zealand top three. They were relieved when Finn Allen pulled Pandya in the 11th over for three fours and a six because of an injury to Shami’s left hand.
However, Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep immediately dragged New Zealand back. Allen was caught at deep midwicket when Thakur charged him and bounced him first. The batters were safe because he couldn’t read Kuldeep. Daryl Mitchell returned to a quick but full stock ball after Henry Nicholls was bowled off a wrong ball. Kuldeep and Thakur bowled 11 consecutive overs, combining for 42 runs and three wickets.
Rohit returned to Shami and Siraj, who responded with the wickets of Glenn Phillips and Tom Latham, recognizing an opportunity. New Zealand needed 10.5 runs per over in 21 overs when Bracewell and Santer joined forces. Bracewell kicked off the counterattack with some of his own exquisite hitting. The fact that the ball was now coming onto the bat did not diminish the quality of the hitting: He hit big hits right in the middle of the field each time.
India soon found themselves under the desired pressure to defend under lights. Every 3.5 balls, Bracewell struck a boundary, destroying every bowler. India began to fall behind. They bowled wides when they tried wide lines. The ball continued to skid, allowing Bracewell to hit the ground when they attempted hard lengths.
All hands were on deck in India when Santner began to expand. With 103 runs required in ten overs, Siraj, Shami, and Pandya were left with the task of keeping New Zealand at bay. The 42nd over was bowled by Siraj without a boundary, but Shami was bowled out by Bracewell and Santner in the next over. With a combination of lengths and pace, Pandya made a comeback and bowled the 45th without a boundary. Siraj then bowled his final over and took two wickets: Henry Shipley bowled and Santner hit the hook.
Now wickets also played a role. However, Bracewell found another wind, hitting Shami for a six and a four in the 48th and Pandya for two sixes in the 47th. Rohit backed Pandya to bowl the 49th over with 24 required from the last two deliveries. Pandya delivered on all counts. With a slower ball, he got Ferguson and only gave up four runs.
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Bracewell continued to think in terms of four good connections, the first of which came off the first ball of the final over, a length ball. Bracewell, however, was able to manoeuvre across and ramp it fine until a Thakur yorker caught him.