Rohit Sharma, throughout his entire career, has been someone who likes to settle down at the crease before going berserk. While the initial phase is more like a smoothly sailing ship, the latter part of his innings resemble a car running at high speeds while the gears switch rapidly.
Rohit unleashed a different approach at Indore in the second T20I against Sri Lanka as he made the joint fastest T20I hundred.
Rohit neither took any time to settle down nor did he need to change gears. Instead, he kept batting in one gear during his whole innings to unleash carnage all around. He equalled the record for the fastest T20I hundred in 35 deliveries previously held by South Africa’s David Miller. And he showed no mercy to the Sri Lankan bowlers during his innings.
It took him just a couple of deliveries to get his eye in before he started doing what he does best from the third delivery. Rohit began his blitzkrieg with a fierce cut through the gully region on the third ball he faced and he followed it up two balls later with a lofted shot over mid-wicket for another boundary. The combination of a good batting deck and sublime timing from Rohit at the very beginning of his innings suggested there was something special on the cards. And the evening wore on, no one could take their eyes off Rohit’s innings.
He brought up his fifty in just 23 deliveries with a big six over the deep mid-wicket boundary that travelled 104 metres as India’s score read 94/0 in the ninth over. KL Rahul also lent good support at the other end, as he was batting on 41 runs off 28 deliveries back then.
However, the unthinkable happened only after he got his fifty. He raced from a score of 53 to 101 in just 12 deliveries — off this 24 runs came off Thisara Perera’s bowling as Rohit smacked him from four consecutive sixes to move from 73 to 97. He brought up his hundred with a lofted cover drive off Angelo Mathews’ bowling in the 12th over as India’s score read 148/0. Incredulously, in the time Rohit strode from 50 to 100, Rahul was reduced to being a mere spectator, scoring just five runs.
Rohit continued the rampage even after reaching his ton, looking good enough to get a double ton as well. However, his innings was cut short by a slower delivery from Dushmantha Chameera that landed straight into the hands of short third man fielder. His score read 118 off 43 deliveries — an innings that included a total of 12 fours and 10 sixes.
This innings shot up his T20I average in 2017 from 19.71 to a 32.00. He had just 138 runs in seven innings prior to this that included just one score of fifty — an innings of 80 against New Zealand at Delhi last month — which meant he amassed just 58 runs in rest of the six innings at an average of less than 10. Moreover, it also improved his strike rate, which was at 135.2 prior to this innings as compared to now when it reads 176.55. He now has 1,620 T20I runs to his name in 70 innings at an average of 31.76 and an overall strike rate of 135.11.
Rohit’s overall T20I strike rate has never gone above 150 in a particular year. The highest strike rate prior to this was a 144.26 way back in 2007 followed by 142.22 in 2015.
This was his second T20I hundred overall after the one he had scored against South Africa in Dharamsala back in 2015. That innings was a lot different than this one as he had scored 106 runs in 66 deliveries. That innings was characterised by the same change in gears as we are accustomed to see from Rohit.
However, this innings at Indore was something different. A different version of the ‘hitman’ we had seen previously! This is definitely ‘hitman 2.0’ and Rohit is looking way more dangerous than ever.