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
When play resumed, India once again took on the challenge of scoring a total they could defend under the lights, straight deliveries finding it difficult to hit the hard length, and the odd ball turning for Santner and Bracewell. New Zealand continued to take wickets regularly, but Gill continued to turn the heat on him, hitting 19 for 8, 17 for 12, 12 for 8 and 10 for 18 soon after the first four dismissals. New Zealand conceded only 93 runs in 13 overs from 35th to 47th, but then Gill launched his biggest onslaught, scoring 39 runs in his last 12 balls.
Rohit and Gill got India off to a brisk start, but wickets started falling as soon as Santner started stringing together tight overs. Rohit felt the need to push the bowling forward, and skied in to hit an intended one. Soon the first ball to take a turn in the match came out from near the bat of Virat Kohli and went over the off. Santner brought New Zealand back into the match.
Gill, however, looked elated. His back-foot punch, his extra-cover drive and his dismissal pull were all on display. In a welcome departure from the way India play in such conditions, Gill tried to take down the spin immediately. His first attempt resulted in an outside edge on a non-turning Bracewell offbreak, but Tom Latham dropped the catch. Gill did not back down. In the same over, he hit a six to bring up his 52 off 52 balls.
Lockie Ferguson came back to dismiss Ishan Kishan, after which Gill and Suryakumar Yadav shared a 53-ball 65-run partnership. A timely breakthrough gave New Zealand a boost when Suryakumar hit Daryl Mitchell straight to cover.
Gill brought up his century in the 30th over with a six and a single moments after Suryakumar was dismissed. Four down, India could not capitalize much in the overs just before the final powerplay. Losing Hardik Pandya to a debatable call in the 40th over took his final kick further into the innings.
When it came, the final kick was spectacular. With three overs to go, Gill stopped to wait for hitable balls. He just wanted to kick everything out of the ground. Blair Tickner was hit for two sixes in the 48th over and Ferguson’s hat-trick of sixes in the 49th over brought up the double. By the time Glenn Phillips took a special catch to dismiss Gill, he had hit 19 fours and nine sixes.
Expecting either the ball to skid under the lights or dew or both, New Zealand instead faced Siraj and Mohammed Shami in red-hot form. Siraj has been focusing on his outswinger with the new ball, but his usually brief window of swing was brief in this match. That’s why Siraj faltered in his third over. After knocking out Devon Conway once with seam movement, he tested Conway on the hook. The sharp bouncer took the top edge to fine leg to hand Siraj his first international wicket on his home ground.
Shami doesn’t need to try this wobble-seam trick as his seam is always straight. Between them, the two fast bowlers made life difficult for New Zealand’s top three, bowling 23 balls without a run at one point. Shami was relieved from an injury to his left hand as Finn Allen hit Pandya for three fours and a six in the 11th over.
Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep, however, pulled New Zealand back. Thakur lofted Allen first when he charged him to deep midwicket. Not reading from Kuldeep’s hand, the batsmen were ducking. Henry Nicholls was bowled at Rong’on, and Daryl Mitchell went back to a quicker but fuller stock ball. Between Kuldeep and Thakur, Kuldeep and Thakur bowled straight 11 overs and took three wickets for 42 runs.
Sensing an opportunity, Rohit went back to Shami and Siraj, who replied with the wickets of Glenn Phillips and Tom Latham. Bracewell and Santer came together and New Zealand needed 10.5 an over from 21 overs. Bracewell launched a counter-attack on his own. The ball was coming onto the bat now, but this should not take away from the quality of his hitting: every time he tried a big hit, he lofted it out of the middle.
Very soon, India were under pressure that they wanted to defend under the lights. Bracewell hit a boundary every 3.5 balls and got every bowler down. India started slipping. When he tried the wide line, he bowled wide. When he tried a tighter length, the ball skied down the ground for Bracewell.
Once Santner also started making big appearances, India were fully on deck. Siraj, Shami and Pandya had the task of stopping New Zealand from scoring 103 runs in 10 overs. Siraj bowled the 42nd over without a boundary, but Shami was dismissed by Bracewell and Santner in the next over. Pandya comes back with a mix of length and pace, bowls the 45th without a boundary. Bowling his last over at that point, Siraj got two wickets: Santner on the hook, and Henry Shipley bowled.
Now wickets also started playing. However, Bracewell hit Pandya for two sixes in the 47th over and Shami for a six and a four in the 48th over. With 24 needed from the last two, Rohit backed Pandya to bowl the 49th. Pandya did not disappoint. He dismissed Ferguson with a slower ball and conceded just four runs.
Bracewell nevertheless thought of four good connections, the first of which came on the first ball of the last over, a length ball. Eventually, however, a Thakur yorker trapped Bracewell, who was looking to cross and recover it.
Siddharth Monga is assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo