Rohit Sharma relived his love affair with Eden Gardens with an unbeaten 98 to offer fillip to his erratic form and impetus to Indian hopes at the onset of the ICC World T20. Playing the first warm-up match against the visiting West Indies, India won by 45 runs and set the tone for the group league match against Pakistan slated at the same venue on March 19.
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Rohit has been the key performer in the ground where he scored a 98 and a 50 in the two IPL appearances last year, where he as the Mumbai Indians captain helped the team lift the title for the second time. Sharma had made his Test debut in November 2013 scoring 177 against West Indies at the same venue before scoring the ODI world record of 264 against Sri Lanka in November 2014.
Despite being an unofficial match, the 98 that Rohit constructed against West Indies on Thursday breathed life into the Indian batting. Rohit had scored a match-winning 83 in the first match in Asia Cup T20 round-robin league, which India downed host Bangladesh. Looking to take ahead the good form following its recent triumph in the Asia Cup, the Indian camp could not hope for a better start in to the World Cup campaign. Sharma, who had been mediocre in the last four matches, pounded nine fours and seven sixes in 57 balls to overtake the intensity with which he had made the similar score in the IPL last year.
Rohit overshadowed all other efforts in the Indian batting as he inspired two cameo innings by Shikhar Dhawan (21) and Yuvraj Singh (31). Sharma’s best came in the 89-run partnership with Yuvraj Singh for the third wicket where he fired most of the big shots.
India maintained its strength in its bowling with the return of Mohammad Shami after staying away for almost a year. Shami picked up two wickets giving away 30 runs in four overs. Despite the strong comeback the pacer looked a bit off-colour compared to the intensity of the current sensation Jasprit Bumrah, who shattered the stumps of Caribbean tornado Chirs Gayle (20) while allowing just six runs in his two overs. Pawan Negi, Hardik Pandya, and Ravindra Jadeja accounted for two wickets each.