New Zealand off-spin all-rounder Michael Bracewell produced a stunning counter-attack through a 78-ball 140 but his fightback went in vain as India won by 12 runs in the first ODI to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, here on Wednesday.
After Shubman Gill produced a magnificent display of batsmanship to make 208 off 149 balls, laced with 19 fours and nine sixes, and becoming youngest batter to hit a double century in men’s ODIs as India made a massive 349/8, New Zealand were in trouble at 131/6.
Bracewell, who hit 12 fours and ten sixes in his 78-ball knock, took charge of the chase and added 162 off just 102 balls for the seventh wicket with Mitchell Santner, who made 57 off 45 balls.
India were put into massive pressure and it needed wickets from local lad Mohammed Siraj, who took 4/46, apart from Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur taking out a wicket each at the end to give the hosts’ 1-0 lead in three-match series.
Bracewell slashed, pulled and swept well against spinners while Santner gained momentum by dispatching anything overpitched and short to the boundary rope off Hardik and Washington Sundar. Shardul was brought back in the 37th over and Bracewell hammered over extra cover for four, before getting his fifty with a pull over mid-wicket for six.
He continued to be severe on Shardul and Kuldeep Yadav, playing with the field and getting his boundaries with ease, with Santner joining in the fun too. Bracewell then attacked Washington, hitting him for sixes over long-off and wide long-on as New Zealand needed 103 off the last ten overs.
Mohammed Shami was brought back to end the partnership, but Bracewell moved across to scoop over fine leg for six. He then brought up his century in 58 balls with a six smoked cleanly over long-on off Shami in the 43rd over. Santner crunched three boundaries off fast bowlers to get his fifty.
Siraj brought India back in the match by having Santner miscue pull to deep mid-wicket and on the very next ball, got one to nip back in to rattle Henry Shipley’s stumps in the 46th over. But Bracewell was standing tall, swinging off Hardik for sixes over mid-wicket and square leg in the 47th over, before taking a four and six off Shami in the 48th over.
Hardik kept hopes of an Indian win high by getting Lockie Ferguson to hole out to long-off in the 49th over, conceding just four runs. With 20 needed off the final over, Bracewell hammered a short ball from Shardul over wide long-on for six before conceding a wide. Shardul finished things for India by trapping Bracewell plumb lbw with a dipping yorker. As DRS confirmed the ball hitting the stumps, India took a sigh of relief.
Chasing 350 was always going to be an uphill task for New Zealand. Devon Conway and Finn Allen got going with a couple of boundaries. Siraj, playing an international match at his home ground for the first time, provided the breakthrough by having Conway pull a short ball to fine leg.
Henry Nicholls got runs by smashing a brace of boundaries off Shami while Allen feasted on Hardik short balls, pulling through vacant mid-wicket region for three fours and a six. Eventually, Shardul took out a dangerous Allen with a short ball pulled straight to deep mid-wicket.
After Nicholls swept off Kuldeep, the left-arm wrist-spinner bounced back on the very next delivery by castling him with a googly. He then took out Daryl Mitchell in his next over, with the ball spinning in and trapping the right-hander lbw in his crease.
Some tight, disciplined bowling from both ends and asking rate climbing meant New Zealand continued to crumble. Glenn Phillips looked to slog off Shami, but the ball seamed back in and hit the stumps after ricocheting off the batter’s back leg.
Siraj struck on the fourth ball of his second spell, getting some extra bounce and forcing Tom Latham to pull towards a sliding deep square leg. From there, Bracewell and Santner fought back in stunning fashion, only for it to fall short.
Brief Scores: India 349/8 in 50 overs (Shubman Gill 208, Rohit Sharma 34; Daryl Mitchell 2/30, Henry Shipley 2/74) beat New Zealand 337 all out in 49.2 overs (Michael Bracewell 140, Mitchell Santner 57, Mohammed Siraj 4/46, Kuldeep Yadav 2/43) by 12 runs