India skipper Rohit Sharma put on an awe-inspiring display of hitting as the hosts cantered to an emphatic eight-wicket win over Bangladesh in the second T20I at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot yesterday. The win levelled the three-match T20I series 1-1, with the decider to be played in Nagpur on Sunday.
In pursuit of a sub-par 153 for six from Bangladesh in perfect batting conditions, Sharma -- playing his 100th T20I -- put the bowlers to the sword with a demolition job that ended only in the 13th over when he was caught off leg-spinner Aminul Islam for 85 off 43 balls. By then, six sixes and as many fours from Sharma’s bat had powered India to the virtually impregnable position of 125 for two in 12.2 overs. Shreyas Iyer (24 off 13) and KL Rahul (8 off 11) then took India home with 4.2 overs to spare.
The only Bangladesh bowler to come out with any sort of credit was Aminul, who also took the wicket of opener Shikhar Dhawan in the 11th over, ending an opening stand of 118. Aminul ended with figures of two for 29 from four overs.
While Sharma was at his imperious best and has laid better bowling attacks to waste over a storied career, he was helped by the rest of Bangladesh’s bowlers, who unlike in the first T20I were guilty of indiscipline and failed to bowl to the fields set by skipper Mahmudullah Riyad.
Earlier, Bangladesh failed to capitalise on a promising start, having reached 97 for two in 12 overs and seemingly on course for a 170-plus score that would have been par on a good batting surface. India leg-spinner Chahal then put the skids on the scoring by getting Mushfiqur Rahim, the star of the first T20I, caught at deep midwicket and Soumya Sarkar stumped for a 20-ball 30 in the 13th over.
It was key that Soumya, the set batsman at the time after a 60-run opening partnership between Liton Das and Mohammad Naim, continued for a substantial score but he stepped out and failed to read the googly -- a common failing.
From 103 for four after 13 overs, skipper Mahmudullah Riyad made sure that Bangladesh did not lose their way completely, stroking a 30 off 21 balls before departing in the penultimate over. Mosaddek Hossain and Aminul Islam took Bangladesh to 153 for six, around 20 runs short of a fighting total.
However, it could have been very different had Bangladesh carried over some of the maturity they showed while beating India in the first T20I in New Delhi. The restraint and planned assault that was on display in the first match was absent yesterday, especially in Liton, even when they had India on the ropes after reaching 54 without loss in the six Powerplay overs.
Liton had a big slice of luck in the previous over when, on 17, a stumping was disallowed because wicketkeeper had collected the ball before it had crossed the stumps. In the next over, he was dropped by Sharma on 26 after going for another hairy shot. Liton then got himself out when, being deceived by a googly from Yuzvendra Chahal, went off on a blind run with the ball at his feet and was easily run out by Pant for a 21-ball 29.
Naim continued his good initiation into international cricket, top-scoring with 36, but was caught at deep midwicket off Washington Sundar trying to force the pace.