Sharma helps India level series

Staff Correspondent | Published: 19:12, Nov 07,2019 | Updated: 00:25, Nov 08,2019


Bangladesh batsman Mohammad Naim plays a shot during their second T20 international match against India at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Thursday. — AFP photo

Rohit Sharma struck a blistering half-century as India crushed Bangladesh  by  eight wickets in the second Twenty20 international to level the three-match series 1-1 in Rajkot on Thursday.

Sharma hit 85 off 43 balls with six fours and  as many  sixes, helping India race to  154-2 in 15.4 overs after their bowlers restricted Bangladesh to 153-6 on what looked like a placid batting track at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

Sharma, who reached his fifty off 23 balls – his second fastest in career, took Bangladesh out of the contest, putting 118 runs with Shikhar Dhawan in the opening stand.

Leg-spinner Aminul Islam bowled Dhawan for 31 off 27 balls to give Bangladesh their first breakthrough before picking the wicket of Sharma, but they came too late for them impose any kind of authority on the home side.

Sharma, who fell 15 short of his fifth Twenty20 international century playing his 100th match in the format, spared no other Bangladeshi bowlers apart from Aminul, who finished with 2-29 in his four overs.

The stand-in Indian skipper was particularly harsh on off-spinner Mosaddek Hossain, hitting him for three consecutive sixes in the 10th over of the innings.  

Things could have been a little different if Bangladesh could capitalise on their start after Sharma put them in as Liton Das (29) and young Mohammad Naim (36) provided them a positive start with 60-run stand.

Soumya Sarkar (30) and Mahmudullah (30) also played decent knocks but none could convert their start into a big innings. 

Naim struck three consecutive fours off pacer Khaleel Ahmed in the second over, showing Bangladesh’s intent.

Liton was stumped by Rishabh Pant on 17 off Yuzvendra Chahal but got a lucky reprieve as the wicketkeeper collected the ball slightly in front of the stumps and the ball was called a no-ball.

Liton, who was dropped by Sharma on 26, struck Chahal consecutive fours in next two deliveries and but Pant finally made amendment of his mistake when he ran out Liton as the right hander attempted for a single which was never there.

Washington Sundar then dismissed Naim before Chahal removed Mushfiqur Rahim (four) and Soumya in the same over to bring India back into the contest.

Afif Hossain could do little with bat as he became Khaleel’s first victim in the match, leaving the onus on Mahmudullah to give them a competitive score. 

Deepak Chahar deceived Mahmudullah with a slow bouncer in the penultimate over to ruin that prospect.

Chahal finished with 2-28, his best bowling performance against Bangladesh.

The third and final match of the series will be held on Sunday at Nagpur.

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