With second IPL trophy, Rohit Sharma makes his mark in T20 extravaganza
Five balls into his innings, Mumbai Indians (MI) skipper Rohit Sharma could have dragged Chennai Super Kings (CSK) seamer Mohit Sharma's delivery on to his stumps. But maybe at Eden Gardens, he is blessed with luck. And it was only because Rohit was courageous with his shots. Only the previous delivery, he had delicately guided the ball between first slip and third man. And the one prior to that was upper cut over third man with great control.
Of late, there isn't a match at Eden Gardens where Rohit hasn't left a mark. Such is the thrill of watching him bat here that even MS Dhoni is swayed into praising him in public. Dhoni had famously predicted on Twitter that Rohit would get 250 if he didn't get out, during that epic ODI innings against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens last November. Dhoni, rested for that series ahead of the Australia tour, was spot on. Rohit ended up with his world record 264.
A year earlier, when everyone had expected Sachin Tendulkar to score a farewell century at the Eden in his 199th Test, it was Rohit who made his debut century.
His IPL run is also phenomenal at Eden. He produced 109, his first IPL century, off 60 balls against a KKR attack that had Brett Lee and Sunil Narine. He came close to hitting his second ton against KKR at Eden Gardens this season. But if there's one match where Rohit would have loved to score big, it would have been the 2013 final. He made two, although MI won by 23 runs.
Sunday provided Rohit a chance to make amends. Despite the edgy situation in which he arrived, after Parthiv Patel's first-over run out, the Mumbai Indians skipper did it in style by smashing 50 in 26 balls. Once Mohit Sharma was taken care of, Rohit concentrated on making Ashish Nehra, who had looked sharp throughout the tournament, look old again.
He pulled Nehra over Pawan Negi at midwicket before piercing the field with a lovely cover drive. Rohit's job was only made easier by the presence of consistent opener Lendl Simmons (45-ball 68) at the other end.
The pair raised 119 runs for the second wicket, the pace of their scoring and the shots they played making it very pleasing to watch. Rohit's every stroke was timed beautifully while power was on show as well.
Like the six he hit off R Ashwin in the eighth over - it was a flighted, loopy delivery and Rohit was out in a flash, neatly hoisting over midwicket for six. Dwayne Bravo finally got Rohit, his shot not carrying over the fielder, but only after the Trinidadian had been taken for runs. He took just 25 deliveries to get to 50 and was looking set for more when he got out. But Mumbai were set by then and eventually went on to beat Chennai Super Kings by 41 runs.