Legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has pointed out India’s woes in defending big totals in white-ball cricket following their near escape against New Zealand in the first ODI.
On Wednesday, January 18, India eked out New Zealand by 12 runs at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. The Men in Blue rode on opener Shubman Gill’s sensational knock of 208 to post 349 for 8 in the first innings.
India bowled out the Black Caps for 337 in the final over of the game, with local boy Mohammed Siraj (4/46) and Kuldeep Yadav (2/43) once again starring with the ball for the hosts.
New Zealand were reduced to 131 for six inside 29 overs at one with the likes of Devon Conway (10), Tom Latham (24), and Glenn Phillips (11) back in the dressing room. It seemed like India would wrap up the game within a few moments thereafter.
A defiant 162-run stand between Michael Bracewell (140) and Mitchell Santner (57) brought the visitors back into the game. Bracewell played the wrecker-in-chief in a record-breaking partnership for the seventh wicket in New Zealand’s ODI history.
The southpaw smashed 12 fours and 10 sixes to almost snatch the game from the jaws of India. Bracewell nullified the lines and lengths of Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur, Hardik Pandya, and Washington Sundar in a power-hitting masterclass.
Thakur’s yorker managed to trap the New Zealand all-rounder in the final over just when they needed 13 runs from five balls to pull off a sensational win.
Gavaskar believes India have struggled to defend totals in ODIs and T20Is while remarking on chasing as their strength.
Speaking to Sports Today to emphasize India’s need for improvement in bowling along the line, Gavaskar said:
“I think that’s always been one of India’s problems. Not being able to defend. India is always good at chasing. If a similar situation was given to India to chase 350 then I I think the Indian batting with the depth (that they have) they would have got it.”
“Like we saw, we have seen it earlier in the T20 format as well. India can get to 190-200 but sometimes struggles to defend that total. So clearly bowling is the area that has been a concern for a while. That is where you find a little more churning going on.”
India will play their second ODI against New Zealand on Saturday, January 21, at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium in Raipur.