Hyderabad: India kicked-off the ODI series against New Zealand with a 12-run win. Shubman Gill produced a magnificent display of batsmanship to score a double century and propel India to a massive 349/8 against New Zealand in the first ODI of the three-match series at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here.
Michael Bracewell and Mitchell Santner almost foiled India’s party with their stunning knocks, but it was the hosts who eventually ended up on the winning side.
Rohit Sharma and team kicked-off the series with a 12-run victory, which also saw them go 1-0 up in the three-match series.
On a two-paced pitch, where no other Indian batter crossed 35, Gill dished out an opening masterclass against a quality New Zealand bowling line-up to score 208 off 149 balls, laced with 19 fours and nine sixes.
On his way to becoming the youngest player to score a double century in the ODI format and fifth to do so from India, Gill had to overcome early jitters to be a dominating force in the innings. Be it in the first power-play or in the death overs, Gill was smashing boundaries against pacers and spinners.
Gill reached his first fifty in 52 balls, before reaching his century off 87 balls. He then went from 100 to 150 in 35 balls, and the jump from 150 to 200 happened in just 23 balls, with his overall strike-rate at 139.6, taking India to nearly reaching 350.
Electing to bat first, Rohit Sharma was severe on an erring Henry Shipley, hitting two fours and as many sixes, of which a well-timed lofted drive going over cover for a maximum was the standout. Gill, on the other hand, wasn’t at ease before leaning into a drive off Lockie Ferguson in the sixth over got him going.
Gill easily took on Blair Tickner, pulling him twice over mid-wicket to bring up India’s fifty in 8.4 overs. The 60-run opening stand ended in the 13th over when Rohit miscued a loft, giving mid-on a simple catch off Tickner. But Gill continued his fluency against spin, flicking and using his feet well to take boundaries off Mitchell Santner, while taking a brace of boundaries against Shipley.