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India vs New Zealand | Narain: Another Blistering Knock Carries Rohit to Top of T20I Perch

Rohit Sharma smashed another fifty in T20I cricket – his 16th in the format (only Kohli has scored more) – as India thrashed New Zealand by seven wickets in the second ODI in Auckland to level the three-match series 1-1.

Nikhil Narain |February 8, 2019, 6:53 PM IST
India vs New Zealand | Narain: Another Blistering Knock Carries Rohit to Top of T20I Perch

Rohit Sharma smashed another fifty in T20I cricket – his 16th in the format (only Virat Kohli has scored more) – as India thrashed New Zealand by seven wickets in the second ODI in Auckland to level the three-match series 1-1.

Set a target of 159, India romped home with seven balls to spare – their chase built on the match-winning 79-run opening stand between Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan.

Rohit’s blistering 50 came off just 29 deliveries and included three boundaries and four towering sixes. During the course of the innings, he overtook Martin Guptill to become the highest scorer in T20I cricket history.

Rohit now has 2288 runs in 84 innings at an average of 32.68 and strike rate of 138.41. Of the 32 batsmen who have scored above 500 runs and average above 30 in T20I cricket, he has the eighth-highest strike rate.

He now has 20 fifty-plus (four tons) scores in international T20 cricket – overtaking Kohli who has 19. Rohit has also registered the maximum number of hundreds – 4 – in the history of the format.

He also has the distinction of hitting 102 sixes in his T20I career – the second-highest after Chris Gayle and Guptill (103 each).

Rohit Sharma strikes a six

Rohit had registered scores of 4, 7, 23 and 1 in his last four T20Is and though there was never any real pressure on him to perform – as he had stitched a string of big scores not too long before and is an all-time great in the format – it was still a timely knock for him – keeping in mind he was leading the side and the series scoreline.

He was in a menacing mood on Friday and took the attack to the New Zealand bowlers from early in his innings – usually, Rohit plays out a few deliveries before he unleashes his shot-play on the bowlers.

He cut a wide delivery from Tim Southee behind point to the square third-man boundary and never looked back. He then welcomed Ferguson with a magnificent six - his favourite shot – standing tall and pulling the ball over mid-wicket.

He was in no mood to stop. He tonked Scott Kuggeleijn over mid-on for a one-bounce four after being hit by the bowler in the box with the previous delivery. He then whipped the next delivery over fine-leg into the stands.

India had reached 50 after the powerplay without losing a wicket. Rohit had scored 31 (off 19 balls) including three 4s and two 6s. This was the second instance since 2018 when India has registered more than 50 without losing a wicket in the powerplay.

Rohit sharma image

He did not let any New Zealand bowler settle – and took all of them on, unsettling the plans of the opposition.

Rohit broke Guptill’s record when he deposited a short-pitched delivery over the fine-leg boundary for a maximum. He then smashed Mitchell Santner over his head for another six.

By the time Rohit was dismissed, India had reached 79 in 9.2 overs and were well on their way to levelling the series.

The Rohit-Dhawan partnership has now 9 fifty-plus stands in T20I cricket – the joint second-highest with Warner-Watson (and just two behind Guptill-Williamson). The pair has aggregated 1480 runs in the format – the maximum for any pair in history.

The high correlation between a Rohit Sharma fifty and India being victorious does not come as a surprise then. India has won 17 of the 20 matches when Rohit has scored 50 or more in an innings – that is a success percentage of 85%.

The corresponding percentage for Kohli is 73.68% (14 wins in 19 fifty-plus scores), Guptill 75% (12 of 16), Gayle 66.67 % (10 of 15) and McCullum 80% (12 of 15).

Rohit continues to dominate at the top and torment bowling attacks all over the world.

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