(Reuters) – India captain Rohit Sharma smashed a blistering century to help the team secure a series-clinching 71-run victory over West Indies in the second Twenty20 International in Lucknow on Tuesday.
The right-hander’s unbeaten 111 off 61 balls powered India to a commanding 195 for two wickets, and he returned to marshal his bowlers who restricted the tourists to 124-9 to earn an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Having elected to field, West Indies initially managed to restrain Rohit and his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan, conceding only nine runs in the first four overs.
Rohit broke loose in the fifth over when he clobbered Oshane Thomas for the first of his seven sixes at the Ekana Stadium which debuted as an international venue with the match.
Dhawan made a brisk 43 but found himself playing second fiddle to the rampaging Rohit in their 123-run stand for the opening partnership.
Rohit was particularly harsh on Carlos Brathwaite, Fabian Allen and Khary Pierre, hitting each of them for a couple of sixes en route to his fourth century — the most by any batsman in Twenty20 Internationals — in just 58 balls.
The 31-year-old also became the second leading run scorer in Twenty20 Internationals, his aggregate of 2203 only behind New Zealander Martin Guptill’s 2271.
A one-handed shot off Pierre that ran to the third man boundary illustrated the form Rohit, who also took three catches, was in.
After Dhawan and a promoted Rishabh Pant fell in quick succession, KL Rahul, who made 26 not out off 14 balls, combined with his captain to punish the West Indies attack.
The tourists needed someone from their top order to try to match Rohit’s effort, but Khaleel Ahmed (2-30) and Kuldeep Yadav (2-32) nipped any such prospects in the bud.
Darren Bravo’s 23 was the top score in West Indies’ timid reply to the huge target set for them.
The teams now move to Chennai for Sunday’s dead rubber.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Hugh Lawson)