Rohit Sharma became the batsman with most T20I hundreds on Tuesday when he blasted an unbeaten 111 off just 61 balls. Here's a look at how this particular innings stood out
A steady acceleration
Rohit began watchfully after India were asked to bat on a brand-new batting surface. With Oshane Thomas steaming in, Rohit left the first two deliveries and blocked out the rest in the first over. His first boundary came in the fourth over - much to the 50,000 strong crowd's delight. Rohit finished the Powerplay with a strike-rate of 119.05.
As the ball got older and the pitch stayed true, Rohit justified the decision to begin cautiously. He smacked three sixes and four fours through the middle ten, gaining momentum to reach 78 off 49 by the time the 16th over ended. In the middle overs, Rohit went at a strike-rate of 189.29 as India's run rate was above eight.
At the death, Rohit had the license to blast, with India still having eight wickets in hand, and he mesmerised the Lucknow crowd. He began the 17th with two exquisite boundaries that lit up the stadium - first, a cover drive right over the infield followed by a cut over point. With eight needed off the innings' final five balls to reach his century, Rohit hammered two consecutive boundaries and then followed it up with a six over long on to cap off India's innings in style. His strike-rate for the final four overs was a whopping 275.
A leg-stump guard that opened both sides
West Indies' plan was clear at the outset: bowl so wide that Rohit is forced to reach at it, thereby preventing him from generating maximum power. But Rohit's experience of nearly 300 T20s showed, as he picked the opposition's plan very early. He planted himself in a way that two stumps remained exposed.
The plan gave Rohit the chance to free his arms whenever the ball was pitched on off, or slightly beyond. The game's first boundary off Kharry Pierre was testament to that, when Rohit muscled an inside-out drive right over mid-off after staying on the leg side of the delivery. When Thomas came to bowl this third over, Rohit backed away towards the leg side even before the bowler had delivered the ball, and shellacked the youngster's 149kph delivery right over his head and into the sightscreen.
The template continued as the evening progressed. Anything that was outside his off stump was clobbered with his toes pointing towards cover while a delivery bowled near his toes was deposited towards the leg side as he cleared his front leg towards the midwicket region. It wasn't the first time Rohit used this strategy. On an excellent batting surface in Indore during an ODI win against Australia in 2017, Rohit found success doing much of the same.
Using the dimensions of the ground to one's advantage
With one square measuring 82 metres and the other at 79 metres rotation of strike was key. Shikhar Dhawan never got going despite a 41-ball 43, and it was down to Rohit to dictate proceedings in the middle. Rohit played out only 16 dot balls in his knock, of which six came in the very first over itself.
Off his 61 deliveries in all, Rohit collected 29 singles and two doubles, playing the balls into the gap and rotating the strike even if he couldn't get the boundary. It was in stark contrast to the Rohit we know, who plants himself to clear the infield - and the ground - once set. Under cool Lucknow conditions where there wasn't much humidity, Rohit pinched singles at will, caressing the ball into the gaps between fielders patrolling the boundaries and ensured India's scoring rate continued to tick along.
Using the V - both in front and behind
Coaches keep telling youngsters that the safest shots are those that are played between mid-on and mid-off. It allows the batsman to offer the bat's full face, and therefore gain the most out of a bat swing. On Tuesday, Rohit followed that mantra to the T, scoring over half his runs in the V in front of him and behind.
Forty-four percent of his deliveries (27 of the 61 balls) were hit between mid-on and mid-off while fetching 52 runs. And behind the keeper, he paddled and dabbed his way to add another 12 off six deliveries between third-man and fine leg. In all, Rohit scored 64 runs in 33 deliveries in those two scoring regions. The only other area where Rohit caused more destruction was the area just over midwicket, where he struck 17 runs in just four deliveries, smacking two sixes and a boundary in the process.