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regular-article-logo Monday, 27 May 2024

Rohit Sharma plays stellar innings; Team India sweep series only after two Super Overs

Leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi takes just three balls to confirm India’s win, dismissing Afghanistan's Nabi and Gurbaz

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 18.01.24, 06:05 AM
Captain Rohit Sharma during his unbeaten innings of 121 off 69 balls in India’s last T20I before the World Cup in June, against Afghanistan at the Chinnaswamy on Wednesday.

Captain Rohit Sharma during his unbeaten innings of 121 off 69 balls in India’s last T20I before the World Cup in June, against Afghanistan at the Chinnaswamy on Wednesday. PTI picture

Form is temporary, class is permanent. It was Rohit Sharma’s time to prove so at the Chinnaswamy in Bangalore on Wednesday.

After back-to-back ducks, the skipper bashed the Afghanistan bowling attack en route to an unbeaten 121 that powered India to 212/4 in the third and final T20I. Rinku Singh (69 not out off 39 balls) too showed good temperament during an unbroken 190-run stand with the skipper. That, after India were reeling at 22/4 in the fifth over.

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But little did Rohit know that his brilliance wouldn’t be enough, as two Super Overs — not seen too often — determined the fate of this contest. It was India who eventually won the contest as the Afghans fell 10 short of India’s 11 in that deciding Super Over.

Barring Washington Sundar (3/18), the other Indian bowlers failed to keep the likes of Gulbadin Naib (55 not out off 23 balls), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (50 off 32 balls) and Mohammad Nabi (34 off 16 balls) away from churning out the timely big strokes, which forced the first Super Over. India had to chase down 17 after the first.

Rohit and Co. were annoyed though as Nabi and Gurbaz took two off the overthrow even after keeper Sanju Samson’s throw deflected off Nabi’s legs. Some words too were exchanged between Rohit and Nabi.

However, Rohit’s exploits with the bat weren’t over as he smashed a couple of maximums in that Super Over, but his partner Yashasvi Jaiswal could manage just one when India needed two to win off the final ball. In the second Super Over, a six and a four from Rohit set Afghanistan a 12-run target.

Leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi took just three balls to confirm India’s win, dismissing Nabi and Gurbaz.

With five centuries, Rohit now has the most number of T20I hundreds. But more than records, what mattered for Team India in their last T20I before the (T20) World Cup in June is for a quality performer like Rohit to regain rhythm and tempo.

On a two-paced Chinnaswamy track, even Virat Kohli suffered a first-ball dismissal. But with his class, Rohit simply showed how to build an innings of substance.

New Zealand vs Pakistan: Balls lost as Allen goes on rampage

Dunedin: Finn Allen blasted a world-record-equaling 16 sixes in New Zealand’s 45-run win over Pakistan in the third T20I on Wednesday for a 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

Allen, during his innings of 137 from 62 balls, matched the record set by Afghanistan’s Hazratullah Zazai, also posting the highest score by a New Zealander in T20Is, beating Brendon McCullum’s 123 against Bangladesh in 2012.

Two of Allen’s 16 sixes carried more than 100m, with one passing over the crossbar and between the uprights of the rugby ground adjacent to the University Oval. Three were hit so far out of the ground that the ball could not be found and had to be replaced.

He took a particular toll on Haris Rauf, who conceded only two runs from his first over but 28 runs and 23 runs from his next two overs. Rauf and Allen are teamma­tes at the San Francisco Unicorns in Major League Cricket.

New Zealand made 224/7 after being sent in by Pakistan. The visitors again fell short, as in the first two matches of the series, as they were held to 179/7.

The only bright point of the Pakistan innings was Babar Azam’s third consecutive half-century of the series.

Brief scores: NZ 224/7 in 20 ovs (F. Allen 137, T. Seifert 31; H. Rauf 2/60, Md Wasim 1/35) Pak 179/7 in 20 ovs (B. Azam 58; T. Southee 2/29). NZ won by 45 runs.

AP/PTI

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