Indian captain Rohit Sharma admitted that defending 349 was a challenge when Michael Bracewell was playing exceptionally well in the first ODI at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. Bracewell came to bat at No.7 when New Zealand needed more than 200 runs with half their side back in the pavilion. However, he scored a 57-ball hundred to give India a reality check. Bracewell later scored 140 runs off 78 balls with 12 fours and 10 sixes before getting out to Shardul Thakur in the last over. He also added a 163-run stand with Mitchell Santner, who scored a 45-ball 67 as well.
“To be honest, the way Bracewell was batting, we knew it was going to be a challenge. It was such a clean striking. After we had them five down, we knew we were in the game unless we slip up. And that’s what happen. 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,” Rohit Sharma said in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Rohit Sharma also heaped praise on the Indian youngster Shubman Gill, who became only the fifth Indian after Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Ishan Kishan and Virender Sehwag to score an ODI double hundred as well. He also applauded Mohammed Siraj, who picked up a four-wicket haul and helped India win the game as well.
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“Watching Gill bat is fanastic, clean striking and no aerial shots. We wanted to give him a run before the SL series for 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,” Rohit Sharma concluded.