Rohit Sharma 'tonks' his way to another milestone

In a landmark 100th T20I match, Rohit Sharma plundered record sixes as an Indian captain.

Photo: BCCI

Rohit Sharma became only the second player and the first Indian to play in 100 T20 International matches when he took the field against Bangladesh at Rajkot on Thursday and during the match the stand-in captain made it a memorable one.

He was handed his 100th cap by fellow Mumbaikar Shivam Dube, who became the 82nd player to represent India in the format when he made his international debut in the preceding game. Dube was handed his cap by skipper Sharma in the Delhi fixture.

Sharma led India to an eight-wicket to level the series after his onslaught saw him smash records for the most sixes hit by an Indian captain, eclipsing MS Dhoni's 34, and pummelling the most maximums against Bangladesh.

"I never underestimate bowlers. All these years, I've just tried to do my best with the bat in hand," said Sharma, who is only the second player after Pakistan's Shoaib Malik to play in 100 T20I matches. "I knew conditions were perfect, so all I wanted to do was stay still and 'tonk' the ball."

He even brought up his fifty in style, after he slog-swept Afif Hossain over deep midwicket for a six, taking just 23 balls to reach the landmark. Later, he hammered Mosaddek Hossain for three sixes in a row, plundering 21 runs off his solitary over.

"When I hit three consecutive sixes, I tried to go for six maximums," Sharma said. "But when I missed the fourth one, I decided I will take singles."

Chasing 154 for the win, Sharma fell for a 43-ball 85 with six fours and sixes, making little of the target as India. When he made his exit, he had scored 68 per cent of the total runs, that included a 118-run partnership with Shikhar Dhawan for the first wicket.

"I had the best seat in the ground to watch him bat," marvelled Washington Sundar. "If he bats like this, it's a treat for anybody in the stadium. Certain boundaries he hit were unbelievable. I also think from a bowler's point of view, there were a few balls they executed really well but Rohit as usual was on song."

India won the match with 4.2 overs to spare with Sharma, an ARCS Andheri pick from the inaugural season of T20 Mumbai, named Man of the Match.

"If Rohit is having a good time, he's in a good mood, it's hard to stop him, especially when he's batting brilliantly," conceded Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah.

Sharma is already India's most capped T20I player, going past MS Dhoni's 98 matches in the preceding game and is the highest run-scorer in the format.

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