The Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium escaped the fury of Cyclone Maha on Thursday, but a storm of a very different nature made landfall. In what was his 100th T20 international, Rohit Sharma hammered a savage 43-ball 85 to wipe Bangladesh out. Set 154 for victory in the second T20I here, India strolled home in 15.4 overs, with eight wickets in hand.
It was as if Rohit had enough of all the slipping-up, enough of all the talk of a series defeat, enough of the doubts around India’s competence in T20 cricket. He took all that angst and walloped it into the night sky high above Rajkot.
AS IT HAPPENED | TEAM INDIA LEVELS SERIES 1-1
Any possibility of the run-chase being a close affair melted away as Rohit took off. Mustafizur Rahman was thumped for 15 in the fourth over, a crunching cover-drive followed by a six into the sight-screen. Al-Amin Hossain was twice steered to the boundary behind square, Rohit placing the ball wherever he pleased. Shafiul Islam bowled what he thought was a decent delivery; Rohit lunged out of the crease and deposited him over long-off.
The off-spinner Afif Hussain was brought on; his first ball was put into orbit as Rohit raced to an 18th T20I fifty off 23 balls. Mahmudullah gave young Mosaddek Hossain a try; Rohit clobbered his first three balls for six. India’s 100 arrived in 9.2 overs; Bangladesh was yet to take a wicket.
Rohit eventually fell 15 short of what would have been a fifth T20I hundred when he was caught at deep mid-wicket. Shreyas Iyer then applied the finishing touches as India leveled the series 1-1. The third and final T20I will be played in Nagpur on Sunday.
ALSO READ | Rohit Sharma becomes first Indian male cricketer to play 100 T20Is
There was no sign of the rain that had lashed the ground on match-eve as India won the toss and put Bangladesh in. Liton Das and Mohammad Naim started briskly as Khaleel Ahmed suffered, leaking 24 runs from his first two overs.
Yuzvendra Chahal came on in the sixth, and struck at once. Or so he thought. Liton had been beaten after charging a long way out of his crease, and Rishabh Pant had whipped the bails off. The third umpire ruled, however, that the wicket-keeper had gathered the ball in front of the stumps. Liton was on 17 then. A little later, he was put down at square leg by Rohit, who had a lot of ground to cover to complete a high catch. Das was finally run out for 29, after some smart work from Pant, breaking an opening stand of 60.
Mushfiqur Rahim and Soumya Sarkar, two of Bangladesh’s senior players, had been their side’s top two scorers in Delhi. Chahal dismissed both of them in the same over. Mushfiqur slog-swept him, just like he had at the Kotla, and the ball sailed towards Krunal Pandya on the leg-side boundary again; this time, the fielder made no mistake. Sarkar was thoroughly deceived by a googly and stumped; a relieved Pant was found to have gathered the ball just behind the wickets.
If Chahal was the best of India’s bowlers, finishing with 2/28 from his four overs, Washington Sundar and Deepak Chahar were also quietly efficient. Bangladesh struggled for momentum towards the close, just about crossing the 150-run mark. It would prove woefully inadequate.
Credit: Source link