Sharma’s record ton helps In­dia clinch T20 se­ries

Gulf Times Sport - - CRICKET -

Skip­per Ro­hit Sharma smashed his fourth Twenty20 in­ter­na­tional cen­tury — the most by any bats­man in the for­mat — to set up In­dia’s con­vinc­ing 71-run se­ri­esclinch­ing win over West Indies yes­ter­day.

Sharma hit an un­beaten 111 off 61 de­liv­er­ies to power the hosts to 192-2 af­ter be­ing put into bat first in the sec­ond T20 at Luc­know’s newly built cricket sta­dium.

In­dia then re­stricted the tourists to 124-9 and take an unas­sail­able 2-0 lead in the three-match se­ries.

Fast bowlers Bhu­vanesh­war Ku­mar, Khaleel Ahmed and Jasprit Bum­rah, along with spin­ner Kuldeep Ya­dav, took two wick­ets each.

But the day be­longed to Sharma. He put on 123 runs with open­ing part­ner Shikhar Dhawan — who made 43 — to pum­mel the West In­dian bowl­ing af­ter pace­man Oshane Thomas started with a maiden over.

Sharma, who now has 2,203 runs in 86 matches, be­came In­dia’s high­est run­scorer in T20s af­ter sur­pass­ing reg­u­lar cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli (2,102 runs) dur­ing his red-hot knock.

He is now the sec­ond high­est scorer in the world be­hind New Zealand’s Martin Gup­till, on 2,271 runs.

“When­ever you get an op­por­tu­nity you do your best. Ev­ery­one who came out to watch the game will go home with a smile. Glad that we won this game and this se­ries as well,” said Sharma, who is lead­ing the side in place of the rest­ing Kohli.

“Shikhar’s nat­u­ral in­stinct is to put pressure on bowlers. We took the time ini­tially and when he gets go­ing it’s not easy. I think 120-plus partnership be­tween us was very cru­cial.”

The right-left com­bi­na­tion of Sharma and Dhawan, who sur­passed 1,000 T20 runs dur­ing his 41-ball knock, smashed the balls to all parts of the huge ground be­fore the first wicket fell in the 14th over.Dhawan, who sur­vived a dropped catch on 28, fi­nally fell to spin­ner Fa­bien Allen as Ni­cholas Pooran took a div­ing catch at long leg.

Sharma then launched an at­tack as he hit eight fours and seven sixes dur­ing his en­ter­tain­ing blitz in front of a rau­cous home crowd.

Lokesh Rahul, un­beaten on 26, had the best view when Sharma reached his cen­tury in the last over of the in­nings with a bound­ary off his op­po­site num­ber in Car­los Brath­waite.

The Caribbean bat­ting fal­tered in their chase af­ter los­ing their open­ers in Shai Hope, for six, and Shim­ron Het­myer, for 15, early. Ahmed bowled Hope in his very first over and then got the dan­ger­ous Het­myer caught at long on, three overs later, with his left-arm pace.

Brief scores

In­dia 195 for 2 (Ro­hit Sharma 111 not out, Shikhar Dhawan 43)

West Indies 124 for 9 (Dar­ren Bravo 23, K. Paul 20. Ku­mar 2-12, Bum­rah 2-20, Ahmed 2-30. In­dia won by 71 runs

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