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 out to bat at No. 7 with New Zealand needing over 200 runs and half their team 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, studded with 12 fours and 10 sixes, before being dismissed by Shardul Thakur in the last over. He also shared a 163-run partnership with Mitchell Santner, who also scored 67 off 45 balls.
“To be honest, the way Bracewell was batting, we knew it was going to be a challenge. It was so clearly striking. When we got them down to five, we knew we were in the game until we slumped. And so it happens. But we always knew the danger of bowling under lights and with dew, as I said at the toss, we wanted that kind of challenge,” said Rohit Sharma at the post-match presentation ceremony.
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Rohit Sharma also praised Indian youngster Shubman Gill, who became the fifth Indian after Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Ishan Kishan and Virender Sehwag to score an ODI double century. He also lauded Mohammad Siraj, who took four wickets and helped India win the game.
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“Great to watch Gill bat, clean striking and no aerial shots. The kind of form he was in, we wanted to give him a run before the Sri Lanka series. Siraj has been brilliant, even in the other two formats. He’s gone from strength to strength, he’s working hard and is clear about what he wants to do. He is also not afraid of using the short ball which is exciting,” concluded Rohit Sharma.