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India beats West Indies by 71 runs in second Twenty 20

November 6, 2018
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Lucknow: India's Rohit Sharma reacts during the 2nd T20I cricket match against West Indies at Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Cricket Stadium in Lucknow, Nov. 6, 2018. (PTI Photo/Arun Sharma) (PTI11_6_2018_000193B)

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — Rohit Sharma struck his fourth hundred as India beat West Indies by 71 runs in the second Twenty 20 on Tuesday.

Sharma scored 111 runs off only 61 balls, and hit eight fours as well as seven sixes, as India notched up 195-2 after being put in to bat. In reply, West Indies were restricted to 124-9 to give India a 2-0 unassailable lead in the three-match series.

At India’s newest international venue, Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan (43) raced off the blocks as they put on 123 runs off 84 balls for the first wicket. They belted the West Indies’ attack on a good batting surface, notching up 50 off 39 balls and racing to 100 off 76 balls.

The visitors had no response to this attacking stroke play as Sharma reached his half-century off 38 balls.

Dhawan was subdued as he faced 41 balls and hit only three fours. He was the first to go, out caught off Fabian Allen (1-33), although India was in control.

Rishabh Pant (5) was sent up the order to make use of the launching pad, but he diminished trying to needlessly force the scoring rate. Lokesh Rahul then put on 62 runs off only 28 balls with Sharma for the third wicket as India put up a nearly insurmountable target for the West Indies.

In doing so, the stand-in skipper reached his fourth T20 hundred off 58 balls, the most for any international batsman in this shortest format.

“The 120-run partnership was very crucial for us,” Sharma said. “Today was the perfect platform. Rahul helped us finish off things very well. It felt like a good stadium for the first game and hopefully we will play many more games here.”

Chasing 196 to level the series, West Indies never really got going. Left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed (2-30) surprisingly opened the attack and struck almost immediately, bowling Shai Hope (6) in the second over. Shimron Hetmyer (15) and Darren Bravo put on 26 runs for the second wicket, and only for a while it seemed West Indies might be able to challenge.

But Ahmed struck for a second time as Hetmyer holed out to long on in the sixth over and the collapse began. India’s bowlers hunted in a pack thereafter, with Kuldeep Yadav (2-32) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2-12) sharing four wickets to break the West Indies’ middle order.

Bravo top-scored with 23 runs, highest among the visiting batsmen, and it only showcased the massive gulf between the two sides. Jasprit Bumrah (2-20) returned late into the innings to strike twice, removing Kieron Pollard (6) and Khary Pierre (1) in similar fashion, caught and bowled.

“We didn’t field well today after the last game. It is always an uphill task to chase such a tall total,” West Indies captain Carlos Brathwaite said. “They batted well without losing wickets in the initial overs but we wanted to restrict them to 170-180, and it didn’t happen.”

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