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Turning Point: Rohit's attack stuns England!

By HARISH KOTIAN
March 21, 2021 08:01 IST
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Rohit Sharma

IMAGE: Magnificent Rohit Sharma during the fifth T20 International. Photograph: BCCI
 

It was Rohit Sharma at his belligerent best as he stunned England with his sensational stroke-play to power India to victory in the series-deciding final T20 International in Ahmedabad,on Saturday.

Put in to bat, India's strategy was clear: Play an attacking game and bat England out of the contest with a huge score.

With K L Rahul left out, Virat Kohli walked out to bat with Rohit. The decision worked wonders for the hosts.

England's fast bowlers -- Mark Wood and Jofra Archer -- had troubled India's batsmen earlier in the series with their extra pace, but on Saturday they were at the receiving end as Rohit hit them all around the park at the Narendra Modi stadium.

After a quiet first over from Adil Rashid, Kohli got India going as he drove Archer through the covers for a four and Rohit hit the last ball of the over through the same region for another boundary.

One of the finest batsmen in limited overs cricket, Rohit clubbed leg-spinner Rashid for a huge six over midwicket in the third over.

He then took the attack to Wood straightaway as he hit two cracking straight drives in his first over.

The fast bowler was pulled for a six each by Kohli and Rohit in his second over as India made most of the Powerplay to race to 60 for no loss in six overs.

The best part about Rohit's attack was that he looked to deflate the England bowlers' morale by hitting them over the top for sixes.

Chris Jordan was pulled over midwicket for a six by Rohit in his first over. Rohit was put down by Wood at third man as he got a leading edge off Sam Curran and he made England pay by flicking the pacer's next ball for a six to race to his fifty from just 30 balls.

Rohit welcomed Ben Stokes with a massive six straight down the ground and pulled the next ball for a four.

Stokes brought England some relief with the big wicket of Rohit who dragged the slower ball back on his stumps to be bowled for an entertaining 64 from 34 balls, having hit five sixes and four fours.

He dominated the 94-run opening stand from 54 balls with Kohli as the skipper played second fiddle with 22 from 20 balls, preferring to enjoy Rohit's stroke-play from the other end.

Rohit's attacking innings proved to be the trigger for India as the rest of the batsmen continued in same vein to literally bat England out of the game.

His quickfire knock allowed Kohli the luxury to take his time at the start of his innings, before the skipper cut loose at the end to smash a brilliant 80 from 52 balls.

Suryakumar Yadav played a quickfire cameo of 32 from 17 balls while Hardik Pandya sizzled at the end with an unbeaten 39 from 17 balls to power India to a massive 224/2 in their 20 overs.

England's batsmen tried their best but could only finish on 188/8 and lost the match by 36 runs.

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HARISH KOTIAN / Rediff.com
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Indian Premier League - 2021

Indian Premier League - 2021