India captain Rohit Sharma was on song against Australia in the second T20I of the three-match series in Nagpur. The match was reduced to 8 overs per side after the start of play was delayed due to wet outfield. Rohit eventually won the toss and put Australia into bat.
The visitors rode on an emphatic knock from Matthew Wade who struck an unbeaten 43 off 20 to help the side put 90/5 in 8 overs. But the Indian skipper had other plans as he took on the Australian bowlers from the word go and hammered them all around the park.
The hosts later needed 9 from the last over Dinesh Karthik on strike. The wicket-keeper batter didn’t really waste much time and struck a six and a four on the first two deliveries respectively to seal the win for India by 6 wickets. Rohit was not out at 46 off 20, a knock which included four maximums and as many fours.
Sharma who adjudged Player of the match talked about his knock and the dew factor which played an important role in this run feast.
“I was quite surprised as well actually. Didn’t expect to hit it like that, glad it came off. For the last 8-9 months I have been playing like that. You can’t really plan too much is such a shortened game. The bowlers had something to bowl to and we bowled well. The dew started coming in later, which is why we saw a few full tosses from Harshal. Coming back after a couple of months, the back injury can be tricky. I am not going to talk too much about how he bowled. Got us the crucial wicket. As a team we are not going to analyse too much. Just want him to come and enjoy,” he said after the match.
The right-hander also lauded Axar Patel who returned with figures of 2/13 in 2 overs and Karthik who eventually finished off the game.
“Axar can bowl in any stage, gives me an advantage of using the other bowlers in different situations too – maybe use the pacers in the middle overs if he bowls in the powerplay. I would like to see his batting as well. Glad DK could finish well. Been a while since he had some time in the middle. There was this thought if we should get Rishabh in but I thought Sams is going to bowl off-cutters, so I thought let DK come in and he is playing that role anyway for us. Groundsmen have been here since 1.30 pm to get the outfield ready,” he added.
Australian skipper Aaron Finch hailed Rohit and Axar for their performances and also gave credits to Wade for his innings.
“You probably plan for a 5 over game and then a bit more to it. Rohit played brilliantly and two overs of Axar made the difference. Wade is a calm customer at the back end and he has grown into that finisher’s role. Zampa was good too,” he said.
The series is levelled at 1-1 with the decider to be played on Sunday in Hyderabad.