Hyderabad (TIP)- Shubman Gill dazzled by hammering a sublime maiden double century as India beat New Zealand by 12 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal on Wednesday, January 18. India rode on Gill’s 208 (149b, 19*4, 9*6) to post a mammoth 349 for the loss of eight wickets. When the lights came on, the bowlers picked wickets upfront but stumbled against a counter-attacking century from Michael Bracewell before bouncing back to clinch the thriller. The match went tantalisingly close with Bracewell keeping the visitor in the hunt with a breath-taking 140 off 78 balls and New Zealand requiring 20 runs in the final over.
Shardul Thakur was taken to the cleaners; he leaked 47 runs in seven overs. He was entrusted to bowl the final over with Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj finishing their quota of overs. Bracewell welcomed Thakur by smoking the medium pacer high into the wide long-on stands for a maximum. Shardul followed it up with a wide but the murmur rose to a din when the medium pacer trapped the centurion plumb in front with a yorker to bundle out the Kiwis for 337.
After Gill’s heroics with the bat, Siraj, playing his first international match at home, starred with the ball by taking a four-wicket haul. On a day where 686 runs were scored on a track that aided bounce and turn, Bracewell steered New Zealand from a precarious position and almost won the match for the Black Caps. But Siraj returned to bowl an inspiring spell at the death and registered figures of 10-2-46-4 at an economy of 4.60 – the best figures at this venue, eclipsing Umesh Yadav’s figures of 9-0-53-4 against Sri Lanka in November 2014. Finn Allen and Devon Conway failed to give New Zealand a fiery start as Siraj made an early breakthrough by dismissing Conway. The fast bowler has built a reputation of striking inside the PowerPlay and the pattern continued. The end of PowerPlay saw Thakur dismissing Allen with a well-planned short ball strategy as Shahbaz Ahmed took an excellent catch with a dive in the deep. Kuldeep Yadav found his mojo back with a three-wicket haul against Sri Lanka and playing in place of Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep struck immediately on arrival.