‘It was such a clean hit’ – Rohit Sharma admits he felt the heat during Michael Bracewell’s attack

Team India skipper Rohit Sharma was impressed by Michael Bracewell’s unerring hitting during the 1st ODI against New Zealand and admitted it became a challenging task to defend 350 as Bracewell slammed the ball into all corners of the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad .

It was a whirlwind and none of the Indian bowlers could come up with an answer in the face of his onslaught. Finishing in 7th place, Bracewell faced a difficult task as New Zealand needed 240 runs to win.

Accompanied by Mitchell Santer, the duo made a dramatic turn to bring New Zealand closer to their goal.

Brilliant innings by Michael Bracewell. He hit 140 in just 78 balls with 12 fours and 10 sixes. Came to bat when New Zealand was 110/5. One of the biggest punches in a chase, bow 👏👏#INDvsNZ #INDvNZ

The 162-run tally gave India a real scare, but eventually Santner was sacked by Siraj. In the final, Shardul Thakur managed to keep his nerve and execute the killer punch.

He found Michael Bracewell right in front of the stumps after a dazzling 140 in just 78 deliveries. His innings included 12 fours and 10 monstrous sixes as New Zealand fell 12 runs short of India’s total.

Here’s what Rohit Sharma said in the post-match presentation:

“To be honest, with the way Bracewell was batting, we knew it was going to be a challenge. It was such a clean shot. After we were five down, we knew we were in the game unless we blunder. And that happens.

“But we always knew about the danger of bowling under lights and with the rope, like I said at the throw, that’s the kind of challenge we wanted,” Rohit told broadcasters at the awards ceremony after the game.

Rohit Sharma praises Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj

Rohit Sharma also reserved special praise for Shubman Gill, who hit an intriguing 208 that came in just 149 deliveries.

Gill sped his innings to perfection and then launched a crushing attack on the New Zealand bowlers in the last few overs. He was eventually sacked in the final but not before leading India to a huge sum.

The youngster also became the fifth Indian after Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan to score an ODI double century.

Rohit praised Gill for his amazing tapping, saying:

“Seeing the Gill bat is awesome, clean hitting and no aerial shots. We wanted to give him a run ahead of the SL series because of the form he was in. He’s such a free-flowing hitter.

Mohammed Siraj again played a crucial role in India’s victory. Just as Bracewell and Santner were threatening to win it for New Zealand, Siraj came back to sack Santner before castling Henry Shipley with a beauty. Rohit lavished praise on the pacer, who returned with numbers of 4/46.

“Siraj has been brilliant, even in the other two formats lately. 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 too, which is exciting,” said Rohit Sharma.

The two teams will now head to Raipur for the 2nd ODI on Saturday (January 21), followed by the final ODI at Holkar Stadium in Indore.

With the 50-over World Cup approaching, team management will be tempted to rest the older players in bilateral T20 tournaments.

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