Rohit Sharma’s elegant unbeaten century made it a walk in the park for India as they cruised to a seven-wicket victory against England to clinch the three-match T20 International series 2-1 here on Sunday.
The Indian vice-captain made a target of 199 look ridiculously easy on a small Bristol ground after the visiting bowlers did a commendable job at the back end to restrict the hosts to a sub-par score. Captain Virat Kohli (43 off 29 balls) played his part with his authoritative strokeplay while Hardik Pandya, who shone with the ball earlier with a four-wicket haul, also made a significant contribution with the bat. Pandya hit 33 not out off just 14 balls as India reached 201 for 3 in 18.4 overs.
Hardik Pandya is a really good all-round cricketer. He’s confident with his skills with bat and ball,” said Virat Kohli .
India’s shoulders had shoulders had dropped somewhat after Hardik Pandya concluded his first over. He had been hit for a couple of sixes and a couple of fours off the first four balls and eventually ended the over having leaked 22 runs. But the skipper still had faith in him and Pandya didn’t let him down. Pandya’s next three overs saw four wickets falling for 16 runs that included the dismissals of Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow. But it didn’t end there. Hardik was promoted up the order and came out to bat at number five and took the revenge with authority. He hammered 33 runs in 14 balls and remained unbeaten in Bristol.
Fittest Captain Cool MS Dhoni
Coach Ravi Shastri had said earlier that MS Dhoni is someone who is fitter than a player 10 years younger to him and this is the reason the captain and the team management backs him and wants him in the team. Well, Mr. Shastri was on point then as Dhoni is proving irreplacable every time another option rises its head. It is not just his batting or wicket-keeping but also his understanding of the game. The former Indian skipper once again proved his worth in this series. The only innings where he got a chance to bat, Dhoni notched up a 24-ball 32. On Sunday, he became the first player to take five catches in one single T20I game and was involved in a total of 6 dismissals out of the 9. In total, he finished the series with 8 dismissals that include two stumpings. Dhoni’s statistics behind the stumps and his runs tally with the bat prove why he finds a place in the side.
Rohit stroked his way to 100 not out, his third T20I hundred, with the help of 11 fours and five sixes, adding 89 runs for the third wicket with Kohli, who got his first score of note on the tour of UK.