Gill smashes double century in last-over thriller against New Zealand

Gill smashes double century in last-over thriller against New Zealand

Shubman Gill became the fifth Indian batter to post an ODI double-century as the Men in Blue beat New Zealand in a thriller to start the three-match series in Hyderabad. Gill single-handedly took the Men in Blue to a mammoth total of 349 for eight, smashing 19 fours and nine sixes in his glorious knock of 208 from 149 deliveries. New Zealand stuttered in response at 131 for six, but Michael Bracewell took the game to the wire with an equally impressive 78-ball 140 that nearly helped New Zealand complete a historic run chase.

On a sluggish surface which saw the spinners find some turn, Shubman Gill showcased his class. The opener gave India a strong start alongside his captain after Rohit Sharma opted to bat first. The pair added 52 runs in the powerplay without losing any wickets, but the skipper fell while looking to up the ante in the 13th over, skying one to Daryl Mitchell.

Gill continued his assault at one end, but the wickets tumbled at the other. Virat Kohli was castled by a superb delivery from Mitchell Santner that hit the top off stump, while Ishan Kishan nicked off to Lockie Ferguson. Gill was given a life after Latham dropped a catch, and the opener punished the Kiwis for that reprieve. He reached his fifty in 52 balls with a stunning six over the leg-side and continued to milk the New Zealand bowlers throughout the middle.

Gill added 65 runs with Suryakumar Yadav, who fell for 31 against the medium pace of Daryl Mitchell and reached his century in just 87 deliveries in the 30th over. The 23-year-old also became the fastest Indian to score 1000 ODI runs in this innings and exploded in the death overs to become the youngest double centurion in ODIs. The opener creamed six sixes in the final three overs of the innings, helping India set a substantial target of 350.

In response, New Zealand got off to a strong start to the chase, with Finn Allen’s cameo taking them to 69 for one in 12 overs. However, the Kiwis faltered after the opener’s dismissal, losing three wickets for 19 runs. Tom Latham and Daryl Mitchell also fell while looking to keep up with the run rate, leaving the tourists in a pressure situation at 131 for six in 29 overs.

However, New Zealand nearly salvaged the match from the brink of defeat as Michael Bracewell tore into the Indian attack. The all-rounder carted ten sixes and 12 fours in his majestic innings, sharing a 162-run stand with Mitchell Santner that brought New Zealand back into the game. Mohammed Siraj broke the partnership and picked up two wickets in the 46th over and Shardul Thakur finished the job for India in the final over, removing Bracewell for 140 to give the hosts a narrow 12-run victory.