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Gill rescues India, Bracewell’s ton in vain

Wednesday 18 January 2023 | Written by Rahul Patil | Published in Cricket, Sports

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Gill rescues India, Bracewell’s ton in vain
Shubman Gill and Michael Bracewell after the match. Gill scored 208 for India while Bracewell scored 140 for New Zealand. Picture credit: BCCI

India vs New Zealand – ODI Series – 1st ODI (India – 349 for 8 in 50 overs (Shubman Gill 208, Santner 1/56) beat New Zealand 337 all out in 49.2 overs (Bracewell 140, Santner 57, Siraj 4/46) by 12 runs)

We knew Shubman Gill was extremely talented. Right from his under 19 days he was talked about as the next big thing in Indian cricket. He made his international debut in 2019 but wasn’t able to cement a permanent place for himself in any format. There was the odd innings that kept reminding us of his class but the consistency was missing. The consistency started six months back in ODI cricket. A format which probably suits his game the best. But every cricketer needs a career defining innings. One that stops the cricketing universe and forces people to take notice. Yesterday’s 208 was that innings. One that screamed, Step aside everyone else Shubman Gill has arrived.

Shubman single handedly made 208 of India’s total of 349. The next highest individual score was 34. He scored almost 60% of the runs while facing only about 50% of the deliveries. He is the fastest Indian to get to a 1000 ODI runs and the youngest batter ever to score a double hundred in ODI’s. Whichever parameter you consider; the stats are phenomenal.

The problem of plenty is a big one in Indian cricket. Whom do you leave out of the XI? Just last month Ishan Kishan scored the fastest double hundred ever in ODI’s. He didn’t get to play the next 3 games when the regulars returned. Suryakumar Yadav the #1 ranked T20 player in the world is not a regular in the ODI side. KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and Axar Patel are not part of this series. Prithvi Shaw meanwhile is waiting in the wings. Surely it must mean the end of the road for veteran Shikhar Dhawan?

A target of 350 doesn’t get chased down very often in ODI’s. At 131 for 6 in the run chase the game looked like it was going to be horribly one sided. Anyone who knows New Zealand cricket though will tell you that they never go down without a fight.

Michael Bracewell who is a bit of an unknown commodity in India along with Mitchell Santner decided to throw caution to the wind and launched a phenomenal counter attack on the Indians. They put on a 162 for the 7th wicket at almost 10 runs per over. Even after Santner departed Bracewell kept the blackcaps in the hunt. When he hit the first ball of the final over for a six, New Zealand needed a further 14 from 5 deliveries. But “The Lord” Shardul Thakur produced the perfect yorker on the second legal delivery of the over to give India the win by 12 runs.

This is why I don’t like love stories, as they normally have sad endings. Bracewell finished on 140 of 78 balls at a strike rate of almost 180. An unbelievable effort but one that does not surprise fellow Wellingtonian’s like me. We have often seen him produce the same magic for the firebirds.

A quick word on the local lad Mohammed Siraj. In a game where 686 runs were scored at almost 7 runs an over, Siraj had figures of 10-2-46-4. A splendid spell of fast bowling while his family and friends were in attendance. From winning a test series for India down under to being a strike bowler for India in white ball cricket Siraj’s stock has risen very high in Indian cricket.

The series now moves on to Raipur for the 2nd ODI on Saturday. If this game is anything to go by we are in for a mouthwatering contest for sure.