Skipper Rohit Sharma smashed a breathtaking 85 in his 100th T20 international to power India to an eight-wicket series-levelling win over Bangladesh on Thursday.
Sharma put on 118 runs with opening partner Shikhar Dhawan as the hosts achieved their target of 154 in only 15.4 overs in Rajkot to make the three-match series 1-1. The 32-year-old raced to his fifty in just 23 deliveries, reaching the milestone with his third six. He hammered six fours and six sixes in total, including three successive hits over the fence off spinner Mosaddek Hossain in his 43-ball blitz.
“I knew that Rajkot is a good track, knew (it) will be difficult for bowlers in the second innings,” said Sharma, who is leading the side in the absence of the rested Virat Kohli. “We took advantage of that, had a great powerplay. After that, it was all about going on. I never underestimate bowlers. All these years, I’ve just tried to do my best with the bat in hand. Knew conditions were perfect, so all I wanted to do was stay still and tonk the ball.”
He is the only male Indian cricketer to play a century of T20 internationals and just the second worldwide, with Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik having played 111.
Sharma was finally dismissed when he became leg-spinner Aminul Islam’s second victim after being caught at deep mid-wicket.
“Was a very good wicket, but we were 25-30 runs short. Having said that, credit to Rohit and Shikhar, how they started. Momentum went their way,” said visting skipper Mahmudullah. “We need to assess the conditions when we go to Nagpur. We needed to be a bit more positive.”
The final match is on Sunday in Nagpur.
Shrama’s blistering knock got social media talking, of course. First, here are the statistical highlights from his innings:
Here’s a look at how pundits and fans reacted to the Hitman’s special knock:
With AFP inputs