England vs India 2018, 3rd T20I: Rohit Sharma is the SK Player of the Day
The Indian Cricket Team secured a comfortable seven-wicket victory against England in the last match of the three-match T20I series at Bristol on Sunday (July 8), thereby clinching it 2-1 and kick-starting their tour on a positive note.
Virat Kohli won the toss and decided to bowl first on a flat and hard wicket, making two changes to his side that lost the second game in Cardiff earlier this week.
The hosts went off to a flyer, thumping the bowlers to all parts of the ground in the first ten overs: a strategy they resort to very often in limited-overs cricket.
Jason Roy was the pick of the English batsmen, minting 67 runs off just 31 balls at the top of the order. The Men in Blue mitigated the circumstances in the latter stages of the innings, though, dismissing seven batsmen in the last eight overs.
The hosts were thus reduced to a scant total of 198-9 after 20 overs, which was a tad underwhelming considering they were cruising at 103-1 after the first nine.
Any chance of the target exuding pressure on the star-studded Indian batting line-up was eliminated by Rohit Sharma, who played an imperative and flawless knock on the day.
The right-handed batsman opened the batting for the visitors per usual, batted through the Indian innings, and smashed his third international T20 century in just 56 balls.
The Mumbai Indians skipper showed why he is such a venerated batsman in limited-overs cricket, as he persecuted the English pace attack, depositing as many as five sixes over the relatively shorter boundaries at Bristol.
The partnership he stitched with Kohli was as practical as it was aesthetic: the two elegant batsmen went on to add 79 runs for the third wicket, snatching the game away from England's and writing India's name all over it.
All in all, it was an impressive and extensive effort from the Indian opening batsman, who batted with a sensational strike-rate of 178.5 in his unbeaten innings on the day.
Sharma is now tied with Colin Munro for the highest number of hundreds scored in T20I cricket, becoming the only the second cricketer to scale that mountain.
With KL Rahul and Kohli coming in to bat after the strong opening duo, the Indian batting line-up looks technically stronger and positively ominous.
It will be interesting to see how the Indian skipper rejigs his playing XI in the upcoming ODI series against Eoin Morgan and Co. Jasprit Bumrah has been ruled out of the same with an injury, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar was also left out of the last T20 because of a back strain.
Consequently, Siddharth Kaul, Deepak Chahar, and Umesh Yadav took up India's pace mantle in the game but seemed out-of-sorts on the flat deck. Suresh Raina, who barely got a chance to bat through the series, will also be rearing to go in the longer format of white-ball cricket.
For now, India definitely has more boxes ticked than the questions handing around their limited-overs squad, as they keep adding more series victories under their belt.
What did you think about Rohit Sharma's innings today? Sound off your opinions in the comments section below!