Lucknow's first international match in 24 years was one to remember
Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh, finally got a chance to host its first international match after 24 long years. The Ekana International Cricket Stadium which was rechristened as the "Bharat Ratan Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Cricket Stadium" by the Uttar Pradesh Government, hosted the 2nd T20I of the ongoing series between India and the West Indies.
With this match, the stadium became India's 52nd international cricket venue. The stadium has been named after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who was also a Member of The Parliament from Lucknow for five terms between 1991 and 2009.
The air surrounding the stadium was filled with never-ending chants of 'India, India' and 'Rohit'. The atmosphere of the stadium seemed to be more like a big happy family. There was a sense of excitement and joy on everyone's face. Most of them were probably witnessing their first ever cricket game in a stadium which further added to their excitement. The teams were welcomed by an army of over 50,000 spectators trying to catch a glimpse of their favorite players.
This being the first international match in Lucknow in 24 years, the people of the city left no stone unturned to get to the stadium and witness the electrifying match between India and the West Indies. Throughout the game, there was not a single moment where the entire stadium was in silence. It was so noisy out there that it seemed that even the players were facing difficulty in communicating between themselves.
The big boundaries of the stadium made sure that it would be difficult for the batsmen to clear the boundaries easily. But that was not to be. Rohit Sharma himself hit 7 sixes and made it clear that no boundary is going to be enough when he is on a song.
The Indian Team and especially Rohit Sharma did not disappoint the fans who faced tough times in reaching the stadium because of the police restrictions at different places to prevent any mishap. Rohit Sharma greeted the crowd with a blistering 111 off 61 balls becoming the first ever to score 4 centuries in T20I. He also scored the first four and also the first six of the newly built stadium.
During the course of his century, Rohit raced to the second spot in the all-time T20Is runs leaderboard which is something he'll cherish for the rest of his life. He's now India's leading run-scorer in the format surpassing Virat Kohli. With performances like the one at Lucknow, Rohit is steadily inching towards white-ball greatness.
Because of his monumental effort and useful contributions from his partners, India were able to put a decent total of 195 from the allotted quota of 20 overs. In reply to this, West Indies barely managed to play out the full 20 overs, ending with a below-par total of 124 for the loss of 9 wickets. For India, every bowler were among the wickets except for Krunal Pandya. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Jasprit Bumrah, and Kuldeep Yadav picked up 2 wickets each.
Earlier Carlos Braithwaite won the toss and opted to bowl on a pitch which was unknown to both the teams. India had only one change in the team with Bhuvneshwar Kumar coming in for Umesh Yadav.
With this win, India took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match T20I series.