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Abhishek's maiden ton, Ruturaj's 77 takes India to 234/2

The total was India's highest against Zimbabwe in T20 Internationals, surpassing previous best of 186, a fitting comeback after an inexplicable batting collapse in the opening game.

Abhisheks maiden ton, Ruturajs 77 takes India to 234/2
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 Abishek Sharma in action during the T20 cricket between Zimbabwe and India (PTI)

HARARE: Young Abhishek Sharma blended power with grace for a scintillating 46-ball 100 that propelled India to a massive 234 for two against hosts Zimbabwe in a much-improved batting performance in the second T20 International here Sunday.

The total was India's highest against Zimbabwe in T20 Internationals, surpassing previous best of 186, a fitting comeback after an inexplicable batting collapse in the opening game.

Having endured the disappointment of a four-ball duck on debut, Abhishek, IPL's most prolific six-hitting Indian batter, displayed his talent by clobbering eight sixes and seven fours in his knock.

He added 137 runs for the second wicket with Ruturaj Gaikwad (77 not out off 47 balls), who was completely overshadowed by the Punjab southpaw.

Abhishek got a reprieve on 27 when Wellington Masakadza dropped a regulation skier off Luke Jongwe. He never looked back after that.

Abhishek started his international run account with a pulled six off-spinner Brian Bennett, who had got the better of him on Saturday.

His fifty came off another pulled six behind square off medium pacer Dion Myers, whose 28-run over actually opened the floodgates during the back-10 for the visitors.

The shot that was most pleasing to the eye was his inside out six off rival skipper Sikandar Raza, lofting his off-break with the turn over extra cover boundary.

If that was elegance personified, the manner in which he muscled left-arm spinner Masakadza into the orbit with back-to-back sixes was a testimony to his brute power.

He raised his milestone hundred when he guided a wayward full-toss on leg-stump behind the square for a maximum before being dismissed off the very next delivery.

On return to the dug-out, he was congratulated by his skipper and best friend Shubman Gill, who once again had an indifferent outing.

The best part about his innings was how he switched gears as India were 74 for 1 after first 10 overs. In the next five, they smashed 78, courtesy Yuvraj Singh's student, who threw the kitchen sink at the Zimbabwean bowlers.

The poor fielding effort also hurt Zimbabwe as they also dropped Gaikwad's catch, who took off from where Abhishek had left, creaming off 87 runs off 36 balls for the third wicket with Rinku Singh (48 not out off 22 balls), who also made merry with five huge sixes.

PTI
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