India captain Rohit Sharma was one relieved man after winning the first ODI by 12 runs at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, surviving a mighty scare from Michael Bracewells 140, here.
With a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, Rohit praised Shubman Gill for his scintillating 208, saying the right-hander has been fantastic to watch while calling fast bowler and local lad Mohammed Siraj, who starred with 4/46, brilliant.
“Watching Gill bat is fantastic, clean striking and no aerial shots. We wanted to give him a run before the SL series the kind of form he was in. He’s such a free-flowing batsman. Siraj has been brilliant, of late even in the other two formats. He’s gone from strength to strength, running hard and clear about what he wants to do. He’s not afraid to use the short ball as well which is exciting,” said Rohit in post-match presentation ceremony.
Rohit admitted that Bracewell’s 140, which almost took New Zealand over the line, gave them the challenge they needed — of defending a total under lights and minimal dew.
“To be honest, the way Bracewell was batting, we knew it was going to be a challenge. It was such a clean strike. After we had them five down, we knew we were in the game unless we slipped up. And that’s what happened. But we always knew the threat of bowling under lights and with the dew like I said at the toss, which is the kind of challenge we wanted,” he said.
New Zealand captain Tom Latham admitted to being disappointed on not getting the victory, but appreciated Bracewell’s efforts.
“Bracewell’s was an amazing innings. The situation of the game and then to play an innings like that, needing 12 off four, to put us in that situation was outstanding. Disappointing to not get across the line. Right up there, chasing a big score, under pressure and it was outstanding,” said Latham
With the next match in Raipur on Saturday, Latham hopes New Zealand carries confidence of giving India a scare in the second ODI.
“We’ve seen it from him before – believe it or not. Hopefully we can take confidence from that for the next game. I think the ball gripped a bit more, we saw them use the cutters more. But the partnership between Bracewell and Santner was great,” he said.