Published on: Jan 19, 2023
Team India opener Shubman Gill scored a terrific 208 off 149 balls in the first ODI against New Zealand in Hyderabad on Wednesday, January 18. Thanks to his exceptional innings, India won the match to take the 1-0 lead in the three-match series. However, it was not before Michael Bracewell gave India a big scare. He matched Gill stroke to stroke during a spectacular 140 off 78 balls. In the end, he was last man out as New Zealand were all out for 337 in response to India’s 349/8, going down by 12 runs.
While a massive achievement like a double hundred in the ODIs taken some time to sink in, Gill admitted that Bracewell’s knock cut down that time period for him. The young Indian opener commented, “I mean (the double ton) sunk in pretty well, you know, when Bracewell started hitting those sixes and the game went closer than what I expected.” He, however, added, “But yeah, this is definitely, you know, one of those things. This is what dreams are made of.”
While Bracewell struck 12 fours and 10 sixes in his innings, Gill hit 19 fours and nine sixes earlier in the day, completely batting in a zone of his own. During his knock, he became the fifth Indian to notch up a double hundred and the youngest ever. The previous record was in the name of Ishan Kishan, who scored 210 off 131 as recently as December 2022.
Speaking of joining Kishan in the double centurions list, Gill said, “Yeah, it’s amazing. He’s one of my best mates in the team and it’s amazing to be able to spend time with him. I was there when he scored his double hundred and it felt amazing.”
The right-handed batter is not known for his six-hitting ability, but on Wednesday, he struck as many as nine maximums, three of them coming off consecutive deliveries, which took him to 200. Speaking about the big hits, Gill explained, “I was waiting very eagerly to, you know, go out there and do what I want to do.
“And with the wickets falling, you know, there were times when I wanted to unleash. But I got my moment when we had the last three or four overs left and I wanted to get some sixes under my belt and I’m happy that it paid off today,” he added.
Even as India were losing wickets at one end, Gill kept going for big hits at the other. Asked if it was a conscious decision, he said, “Yeah. Sometimes when the bowler is on top, you have to get them under pressure. Because if they are not feeling any kind of pressure, it’s easier for them to create more dot balls. So that was my plan, you know, when the bowler is trying to get on top of me, just try to hit the gap, hit it hard, show some intent to the bowler.”
The second ODI of the India-New Zealand series will be played in Raipur on Saturday, January 21.
–By A Cricket Correspondent