Shubman Gill equals Babar Azam's ODI record to strengthen World Cup chances

Opening batsman scored another century to complete series sweep against New Zealand and help India rise to top of ODI rankings

India's Shubman Gill en route to his century against New Zealand in the third ODI at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore. AFP
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India opening batsman Shubman Gill is making the most of his purple patch in one-day cricket, cracking a sparkling century in the third and final match of the ODI series against New Zealand in Indore to help complete a series sweep.

The hosts amassed 385-9 thanks to 112 from just 78 balls by the young Gill, with fellow opener and captain Rohit Sharma also reaching three figures. That target was too much for New Zealand, even on a batting friendly surface like the Holkar Stadium, and they folded for 295 to hand India another home series win and also the No 1 ranking in ODIs.

The match was significant for Gill for two reasons. Firstly, he finished the series with his third century in four ODI games – which also included a double ton. Gill's tally for the three-match series against New Zealand stood at 360 – which is the joint highest for a series of that length alongside Pakistan's Babar Azam, who reached the same score against West Indies in 2016.

After 21 ODIs, Gill now averages more than 73 and has a strike rate in excess of 100, which makes him an almost guaranteed starter for the 50-over ODI World Cup at home later this year.

While the current one-day team is missing a few regulars like KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant, Gill's form has made him almost undroppable.

"He understands his batting, he paces his innings well," Rohit said of Gill.

"That is what you want in one-day cricket. You want to go big, you want to go deep in your innings. He has shown that. He has got big hundreds."

Gill smashed a career-best 208 against New Zealand in Hyderabad and was named player of the series.

"No matter how flat the pitch is, to get a double hundred is not easy. In that game, the next best score [by India player] was 34," Rohit said.

"It shows that he was calculative and he knows that he needs to bat deep. A set batsman needs to bat for as long as possible ... He has got great maturity in the way he thinks about his game, the way he approaches the game."

Shubman Gill hits double ton against Kiwis

Updated: January 25, 2023, 9:21 AM