India vs West Indies 2nd T20I, Lucknow: India’s stand-in captain Rohit Sharma once again put on a ‘masterclass’ on display in his favourite format (limited-overs cricket) during the second T20I international between India and West Indies at the Bharat Ratan Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on Tuesday. Rohit unbeaten knock of 111 propelled the hosts to a daunting total of 195/2 in 20 overs. Later, Indian bowlers produced a clinical display one more time and never really allowed the men in maroon to get on with the tall chase of 196. Also Read - PAK vs SA 2021: South Africa Not Easy to Beat But Pakistan Banking on Home Advantage, Says Coach Misbah-ul-Haq
At the end, it was a stroll in the park for India as they take an unassailable 2-0 lead in this 3-match T20I series. It was not going to be an easy wicket to bat on and it was definitely not going to be easy to clear those big boundaries. This was also Team India’s seventh successive series win in the shorter format. Also Read - Brisbane Test: Rohit Sharma Has 'No Regrets' On His Dismissal vs Nathan Lyon in Fourth Test at The Gabba, Says I Will Keep Playing Such Shots
Being certified as the cleanest hitter of the cricket ball in modern day cricket, Rohit along with batting partner Shikhar Dhawan set the stage for the final assault. During his knock, the Mumbai batsman also surpassed regular skipper Virat Kohli to become top run-getter among Indians in the shortest format, was at his brutal best, hitting eight boundaries and seven towering sixes.
In reply, West Indies batting caved in once again as they managed only 124 for 9 at the end of the stipulated overs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/12), Jasprit Bumrah (2/20), Khaleel Ahmed (2/30) and Kuldeep Yadav (2/32) equally shared the spoils. All-rounder Krunal Pandya did miss out on the chance to pick up any wicket but he came to the party with a direct hit. And courtesy of this clinical performance, India have managed to clinch the series.
West Indies’ misery in the two-month long tour was compounded as they suffered yet another series defeated after losing the Test series 0-2 and subsequently the one-dayers by a 1-3 margin.
Earlier, Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan (43 off 41) made up for their rare failure in the first T20 in Kolkata on Sunday, stitching 123 runs off 84 balls for the opening wicket to lay the foundation for the big score. Young pace sensation Oshane Thomas got West Indies off to a fine start with a maiden over. But the Indian openers finally broke the shackles in the fifth over when Rohit and Dhawan took Thomas to the cleaners hitting six and two boundaries, picking up 17 runs.
Dhawan, however, was lucky as Keemo Paul dropped a straightforward catch at deep mid-wicket in the ninth over off captain Carlos Braithwaite. It eventually opened the flood gates for India as Rohit thereafter dealt mostly in boundaries and sixes to notch up his fifty in 38 balls. The elegant right-hander mostly preferred the straight boundaries and cleared them on both sides with consummate ease.
Dhawan’s luck finally ran out in the 14th over when he was caught by Nicholas Pooran at the long leg boundary off Fabian Allen as the batsman went for a slog sweep.
Rishabh Pant failed for the second consecutive time, holing out to Shimron Hetmyer at midwicket boundary off left-arm spiner Khary Pierre.
Rohit and KL Rahul then shared quickfire 62 runs for the third wicket off just 28 balls to take India close to the 200-run mark.
Needing a win to stay alive in the three-match series after the five-wicket loss at Kolkata, West Indies got off to the worst possible start, losing two wickets Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer early on with young left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed accounting for both the batsmen.
While Hope was cleaned up by Ahmed in the second over, Hetmyer was holed out at long-on to Dhawan in the pacer’s third over. Introduced into the attack in the eight over, chinaman Kuldeep Yadav continued with his magic and struck twice in a span of one delivery to derail West Indies’ chase.
Kuldeep first induced an edge of Darren Bravo with Rohit taking a sharp catch in the lone slip and then Nicholas Pooran failed to read a wrong-un a ball later to be bowled as West Indies slumped to 52 for four in eight overs.
It became bad to worse for the visitors when Kieran Pollard was caught off his own bowling by Jasprit Bumrah. From there on, it was just a matter of time before India wrapped up the game and they did it in style.