Bracewell fails as Gill's double ton puts India in the lead right away

Bracewell fails as Gills double ton puts India in the lead right away

In a high-scoring thriller to open the three-match series in Hyderabad, Shubman Gill became the youngest player to score a men's ODI double hundred, laying the foundation for India's 12-run triumph over New Zealand with his 149-ball total of 208. In the 350 chase, Michael Bracewell produced a similarly daring masterwork, but despite his career-high 140 and record-breaking 162 partnership with Mitchel Santner from a shaky 131/6, they weren't enough to help the visitors pull off a miraculous comeback.

With his commanding pulls and exquisite drives, Gill made batting appear simple on a pitch where the odd ball was stopping and the spinners found turn. India chose to set a defendable target, and Gill and Rohit Sharma got off to a strong start by taking advantage of Henry Shipley's inability to get his lengths just right early on. The pacer was pricey in the opening five overs, and Rohit had a field day with two sixes and a few boundaries. But New Zealand managed to sabotage every significant alliance that India would establish.

Rohit skied a lofted shot straight to mid-on following a 38-ball 34. Santner's length ball that twisted a touch and crashed into the off-stump required Kohli to rush in and out of defense. If not for a slip behind the stumps, Bracewell would have terminated Gill's stay next, and the opener went on to slog-sweep later in the over to raise a run-a-ball fifty. But as India slid to 110/3, Kishan stole a catch from Lockie Ferguson behind.

Unfazed, Suryakumar Yadav hit four boundaries in his first 10 balls before the pair displayed excellent racing between the wickets to add 50 runs to their partnership in just 38 balls. Gill cranked up the pace and kept the occasional boundary pouring in, but Suryakumar chipped one tamely to him at cover in Darly Mitchell's subsequent over after escaping a stumping fright from Santner.

A crucial wicket that fell against the flow of play did not stop Gill, who pulled his way to 99 before lifting the bat for his second consecutive century in just 87 deliveries. After Shikhar Dhawan (17 innings), Gill became the second-fastest Indian to reach the century mark with his third ODI hundred. When he reached 109, he also broke Dhawan and Kohli's previous record for the quickest Indian to 1000 ODI runs (24 innings).

When Shipley was unable to secure a return catch from the opener, Gill received a second reprieve. However, their 74-run partnership was ended by the third umpire's controversial decision to rule Pandya bowled, even though it was unclear whether Latham's gloves or the ball actually knocked the bails off.

Gill brought up the 150 with a six, just like his fifty, and smoked it well over a wide, long-on barrier. Following a brief dry spell, New Zealand managed four straight boundary-free overs, and Shipley also claimed his first ODI wicket in Washington. After a catastrophic mix-up, Sundar and Thakur gave his life in order to save Gill. With two sixes off Tickner in the 48th over, Gill returned that small act of confidence and picked up the pace. In the 49th over, he hit the last of Ferguson's three straight sixes to reach 200 before eventually dying after giving India a commanding 349/8 total.

Bracewell also destroyed record books while traveling 140. His and Santner's partnership was the third-best overall, the biggest against India in the format, and the highest for the seventh wicket for the nation. His 57-ball century was the second-fastest against India and the third-fastest for New Zealand. He is currently only the second player, after MS Dhoni, to have two ODI hundreds at position 7. His 78-ball effort, though, was painfully short of pulling off the rescue.

The Kiwis' start to the tall chase was a mixed bag, with some individual brilliance mixed in with a 3 for 19 post-powerplay collapse. Devon Conway, who had grown fond of Siraj early on, was top-edged by the local hero's well-aimed short ball. Even Finn Allen showed glimpses of regaining his best form after a cautious start, finishing the 11th over from Hardik with 4, 6, 4, and then welcoming Kuldeep with still another boundary to go from 17 off 27 to 39 in the following five balls.

With a short ball, Thakur entered the game to end that threat, encouraging the opener to aim for the larger side boundary. Allen accepted the bait but timed his draw improperly, causing the fall. Before absolutely misreading a wrong'un that turned back in to catch him off guard, beat the inside edge, and struck the off-stump, Nicholls played out a maiden from Kuldeep. The all-rounder took it upstairs in desperation despite the wrist-spinner trapping Daryl Mitchell squarely in front of him in his next.

Glenn Phillips, who began with a second-ball slog-sweep for six from Kuldeep and perished trying to slog over the line a length ball from Shami in order to break free, succumbed to the strain of the dots. In the 27th over, the asking rate entered double digits for the first time. Bracewell promptly brought it back with back-to-back fours from Shami. Siraj, however, eliminated New Zealand skipper Tom Latham in a close resemblance to the Conway removal just as the relationship appeared to be blossoming.

In his final over, Siraj attempted to break that momentum by hitting Santner twice, who never appeared to be in control of the pull shot. However, Bracewell continued to deliver lusty blows to the very end. When New Zealand required 13 runs off the final four deliveries, Thakur, who was under pressure after previously messing up his attempted wide yorkers, eventually maintained his composure well enough to hit the ideal leg-stump yorker that caught Bracewell exactly in front. The all-rounder chose a frantic review, but the Indians were saved by the three reds.


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