Rohit Sharma blasted 85 and helped India beat Bangladesh by eight wickets to level the three-match series 1-1. (Photo Credit: PTI)
Rohit Sharma put on an exhibition of batting as the Indian cricket team skipper notched up his 18th century and shared a partnership of 113 with Shikhar Dhawan as the hosts thrashed Bangladesh by eight wickets at the Saurashtra Cricket Stadium in Rajkot on Thursday to level the three-match series 1-1. Rohit and Dhawan's effort, combined with the wonderful bowling efforts of Yuzvendra Chahal who took two key wickets got India back on winning ways after the loss in Delhi, which was India's first in eight Twenty20 International outings against Bangladesh. It was a thorough performance from the Indian players and it gets their Twenty20 campaign back on track after a couple of losses against South Africa and in the first game.
India were in total command once they won the toss and chose to field against Bangladesh. With dew playing a big factor, it was a good toss to win and they inserted Bangladesh in. The total of 154 would be no match for Rohit's prowess, who once again showed why he is the best batsman in the Twenty20 format. Dhawan was the one who set the tempo rolling with two fours in the first over from Mustafizur Rahman and Rohit matched him by getting off the mark with a four off Shafiul Islam. The fourth over bowled by Mustafizur was carnage with Rohit smashing two fours and a six straight down the ground.
Having gotten into the zone, Rohit hit two more fours off Al-Amin Hossain as Dhawan decided to play second fiddle. The skipper neared his fifty with a four and another straight six off Shafiul and notched up his 18th fifty off just 23 balls with a six off the legspinner Aminul Islam. With Dhawan also finding the boundary on a regular basis, Bangladesh wilted. When Rohit hit three consecutive sixes off Mosaddek Hossain, it seemed he would repeat Yuvraj Singh's feat and also score a record-breaking fifth Twenty20 International ton. However, Aminul ended the 113-run stand by bowling Dhawan with a legbreak and Rohit miscuing a short ball to deep midwicket to fall for 85. Shreyas Iyer got off the mark with a six and ensured India crossed over the line by eight wickets.
However, Rohit's effort would not have been possible had Yuzvendra Chahal not restricted Bangladesh after a superb start. Mohammad Naim slammed three consecutive fours off Khaleel Ahmed as the left-arm pacer's Delhi nightmare was prolonged. Naim continued to target Khaleel but in the sixth over, Rishabh Pant's woes behind the stumps continued as he fluffed the stumping in controversial circumstances. Yuzvendra Chahal had Liton stumped but Pant collected the ball just ahead of the stumps and it was declared a no-ball.
Liton benefited from another life as Rohit dropped him off Washington Sundar. Pant redeemed himself by running out Liton and Naim was caught by Shreyas Iyer off Sundar at deep midwicket to fall for 36. Soumya Sarkar smashed a six off Krunal Pandya but Chahal turned the game with his double strike in the 13th over. The legspinner got rid of Mushfiqur Rahim for 4 and then sent back the dangerous Sarkar for 30. Bangladesh lost total momentum in the death overs and despite some good strikes from Mahmudullah, Bangladesh managed to get past 150 but the total was under-par.
Rohit and Chahal have shown the blueprint for success in Twenty20 Internationals but India will have to tie some loose ends up if they have to continue maintaining their momentum heading into the next match in Nagpur as well as the World T20 next year in Australia.