Rohit Sharma’s indifferent form has been a cause of concern for the Team India think tank of late. But the India captain’s doubters were proved wrong on Friday as Rohit Sharma delighted not just his legion of fans but legendary Sunil Gavaskar as well. The 34-year-old star batter played a sparkling knock of 46 not out off just 20 deliveries to power the home team to a six-wicket win against Australia in the second T20I in Nagpur, leveling the series at 1-1.
“What you saw with Rohit today was a measured approach. It wasn’t anything where he was looking to defend, but he was being a lot more selective. And look, when he is playing those flick shots or the swivel pull shots, he is very good at that. Where he gets into trouble is where he is looking to play on the off-side, just tonks it up like that, that’s where he hits the ball up in the air rather than into the stands. That’s the only thing that he is going to watch out for,” Sunil Gavaskar told host broadcaster Star Sports.
“Otherwise, when he is hitting it in his range, he has got absolutely no problems at all. That’s what he should be looking to do. Today was such a measured innings. He was waiting, cutting the ball, pulling, he was not going bang straight away. That is the reason why he batted so brilliantly,” Sunil Gavaskar explained.
Even Australia captain Aaron Finch and ex-India batter Mohammad Kaif were in awe of Rohit Sharma’s knock.
“Rohit sharma has skills, technique and jazba the perfect mix when you are chasing 11 runs per over. One player all formats,” Kaif posted on Twitter.
“Rohit was brilliant. And the two overs Axar bowled was probably the difference in the game. Wade is such a calm customer at the back end of the innings. He did a wonderful job for us. We got close,” Finch said after the match.
With inclement weather reducing the match to an eight-overs a side contest, Australia put a solid total of 90/5 on the board with Aaron Finch and Matthew Wade smashing a 15-ball 31 and an unbeaten 43 off 20 deliveries respectively.
With more than 11 runs to score to achieve the stiff target, India didn’t have a very bright start as they lost opener KL Rahul for 10 and premier batter, Virat Kohli, for 11.
While wickets kept on falling from the other end, Rohit Sharma looked like a player from a different planet as he continued to hit boundaries and sixes at will.
In the end, the Mumbai resident finished the game with a scintillating 46 off 20 balls, including four boundaries and an equal number of sixes.
In the process, he broke two massive world records in the format.
The 34-year-old now has the most number of sixes in the T20I format after adding four maximums to his name at Nagpur’s Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium.
His tally of sixes now stands at 176 – four more than New Zealand’s Martin Guptill who has so far smashed 172 sixes in this version of the game.
Moreover, Rohit Sharma also became the first player in history to hit 500 boundaries in T20Is with the help of his heroics against Aaron Finch’s men in Maharashtra.
In the post-match presentation ceremony, Rohit Sharma revealed that he surprised himself with his innings.
“I was quite surprised as well. I didn’t expect it to go quite as well as that. For the last 8-9 months I have been playing like that so it didn’t change much. But when you are playing a game like that you can’t plan too much. You just have to play the situation and use conditions to your advantage,” he said.
“I felt when we were bowling the bowlers had something to bowl to. We used the conditions pretty well. But then at the back end dew started coming in. That is where we want guys to learn how tough it is. It was good to see Bumrah on the park. Slowly and steadily he is coming back into his rhythm. As a team we are not going to analyse it too much. Axar has fitted in the role well. He can bowl in any phase of the game. He brings a lot to the game,” Rohit Sharma signed off.
On the other hand, his brilliant knock didn’t go unnoticed on social media, as netizens hailed him for his captain’s innings and for putting the series back on track.
While some declared him the greatest batter and captain, others praised him for his technique.
“When other batsmen play a good innings, you remember their runs. When Rohit Sharma is in full flow, You remember his each and every shot. That’s the difference between him and others,” a fan of the India captain wrote on the social network.
“India suddenly jumps to 136th spot from 146th in world happiness index and that too within 2 hours, you all know the reason. The Hitman Rohit Sharma’s batting,” a second claimed.
“Rohit Sharma in Hitman Mode is perhaps the most dangerous batsman in the world. One man show to win it off against Aussies,” a third concluded.