India amass highest whole in opposition to England in T20 sequence decider


Ahmedabad, March 20

Rohit Sharma’s sensational 64 and skipper Virat Kohli’s well-crafted 80 powered India to a massive 224 for two, their best ever total against England, in the winner-takes-all fifth Twenty20, here on Saturday.

After losing the toss for the fourth time in the series, India were predictably put in to bat by Eoin Morgan.

Preparing themselves for success in all conditions ahead of the T20 World Cup, India thrived under the pressure of a series-decider to produce their best total of the series.

Jofra Archer and Mark Wood had troubled the Indians with their extra pace in earlier games but Rohit and Kohli sent them to the cleaners on way to their 94-run stand.

The other major contributions came from Suryakumar Yadav (32 off 17 balls) and Hardik Pandya (39 not out off 17 balls).

The hosts hammered 67 runs in the last five overs to give the innings a perfect finish.

Barring Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid, all England bowlers leaked more than 10 runs per over with Chris Jordan (0/57) being the most expensive.

India decided to drop opener K L Rahul to accommodate an extra bowling option in left-arm pacer T Natarajan for the all important game.

With no Rahul at the top, Virat Kohli moved himself up the order to open with Rohit. The move worked wonders with Kohli and Rohit sharing a 94-run stand off 54 balls.

Rohit did the bulk of the scoring in their partnership as Kohli was more than happy to enjoy a sensational display of stroke-making from the other end.

Rohit, who was rested for the first two games and did not get much in the next two, enhanced his reputation of a big match player on Saturday.

Most of his five sixes were his trademark shot, the seemingly effortless pull over deep square leg. Also a treat to the eye were his rasping straight drives off a seriously quick Mark Wood in his first over.

Kohli too pulled Wood into the stands, a shot that got him fully pumped up. It was not entirely a surprise that Rohit got to his fifty with a maximum before playing one on to his stumps off Stokes.

As Kohli paced his innings beautifully at the other end, he had the company of a supremely confident Suryakumar, who carried on from where he left in his debut game.

The Mumbai batsman further increased the intensity of the innings with two consecutive sixes off leggie Adil Rashid. Then he toyed with pacer Jordan with three fours in a row with his scoop shot reminding of his exploits in the IPL. That over went for 19, taking India to 133 for one in 12 overs.

Kohli then partnered with Hardik to get India past 200. PTI



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