India claimed a thrilling 12-run victory over New Zealand after Shubman Gill scored a double century as they kicked off their one-day international series in Hyderabad on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old opener scored 208 off 149 balls, smashing an incredible 19 fours and nine sixes as he helped India set New Zealand a target of 350.
Apart from Gill, the rest of India’s batting order struggled to add runs, with captain Rohit Sharma making the second-highest contribution with 34. Batting talisman Virat Kohli could only manage eight runs.
In the process, Gill became the youngest double-centurion in ODIs.
Gill’s place in India’s ODI side was questioned because the batter who replaced him (Ishan Kishan) when he was resting scored a double-hundred.
However, Gill responded with one of his own after making 70, 21 and 116 in his first three innings since his return.
The best part about Gill’s innings was the manner he went into overdrive in the last 3 overs.
He just looked to hit everything out of the ground.
Blair Tickner was taken for two sixes in the 48th, and a hat-trick of sixes off Ferguson in the 49th brought up the double.
Chasing 350, New Zealand got off to a slow start and lost half their side inside 25 overs.
New Zealand opener Finn Allen made 40 but the rest of the batsmen did very little until Michael Bracewell produced a batting masterclass after coming in at number seven.
A solid partnership between Bracewell and Santner kept New Zealand in hunt.
The pair added 162-runs for the seventh wicket, with Santner chipping with a 45-ball 57.
Despite losing his partner, Bracewell kept things moving for New Zealand as he was the final man to depart.
He made 140 runs, hitting 12 fours and 10 sixes, as he kept the visitors in the contest and took the game until the final over, where he was the last player to be sent packing as they were bowled out with four balls to spare.
At one stage, Siraj, Shami and Pandya were left with the task of holding New Zealand back with 103 required off 10 overs.
Siraj’s spell was vital as he bowled the 42nd without a boundary.
Though Bracewell and Santner took Shami apart in the next over, Pandya made a comeback and bowled the 45th without conceding a boundary.
Bowling his last over then, Siraj got two wickets: Santner on the hook, and Henry Shipley bowled. This swung the game in India’s favour.
Deservedly, Siraj was the pick of the bowlers on his home ground with 4-46, while Kuldeep Yadav and Shardul Thakur also bagged two wickets each.
India XI: India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Ishan Kishan (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami.
New Zealand XI: Tom Latham (wk/c), Finn Allen, Devon Conway, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Michael Bracewell, Henry Shipley, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson and Blair Tickner
India 349 for 8 (Gill 208, Mitchell 2-30, Shipley 2-74) beat New Zealand 337 (Bracewell 140, Santner 57, Siraj 4-46, Kuldeep 2-43, Thakur 2-54) by 12 runs