Sharma is passionate about wildlife and is actively involved in conservation projects. He is a member of PETA and in 2016 joined an anti-poaching campaign in Kenya. The opening batsman donated to the project, along with Hollywood stars Matt Le Blanc and Salma Hayek, that took care of Sudan until the rhinoceros passed away at the age of 45 at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya following age-related health problems.
And after his match-winning century against England in Bristol that helped India clinch the series 2-1, Sharma dedicated his knock to the rhino he had tried to help.
“Yesterday’s innings is dedicated to my fallen friend Sudan. May we find a way to make this world a better place for all of us,” Sharma wrote on Twitter.
Following the death of Sudan, just two northern white rhinos remain – Najin and Fatu, Sudan’s daughter and granddaughter.
The win ensured India’s sixth consecutive series win in the T20 format after their recent triumphs over Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand and in the Nidahas tri-series.
When it comes to three-match bilateral series, India have now won eight of the last nine they have participated in with one against Australia ending in a 1-1 draw.
In fact, India’s last loss in a three-match bilateral T20 series came against South Africa back in 2016. That 2-1 loss is India’s sole in a series comprising of three T20 matches.
India have now won 11 out of the 15 T20I series they played since Jan 2016, drawing one (vs Aus, 2017) - their only losses came against WI (two bilateral series one each in 2016 and 2017 & semis of WT20 2016)#IREvIND— Cricbuzz (@cricbuzz) June 29, 2018
Since that defeat to South Africa, only the West Indies have managed to get the better of India in any bilateral T20 series. The men from the Caribbean have beaten India on two separate series during this period although one of them came in a one-off T20 clash at Kingston last year.
Since that loss to West Indies at Kingston, India have not been on the losing end of any bilateral T20 series. Post that loss, India have gone on a run of 17 wins out of 23 T20 clashes with one game against Australia being washed out.
It is no surprise then that Virat Kohli’s men find themselves at the second position in the ICC T20 rankings where they stand behind only Pakistan who have been even more impressive in the format with 24 wins in their last 28 matches.
The two sides came into the decider with one win apiece under the belts and served up another enthralling contest between bat and ball to delight a packed house at Bristol. The hosts posted an imposing total of 198-9 after being made to bat first but India ultimately managed to overhaul it with eight balls to spare.
In a match littered with explosive batting, we take a look at the talking points.
JASON ROY GIVES ENGLAND THE PERFECT START
While there was some early swing on offer at Bristol for the Indian bowlers, it wasn’t enough to deter England’s openers Jason Roy and Jos Buttler. With the shorter boundaries at the ground, Roy and Buttler feasted on India’s pace bowling as the hosts brought up the fifty stand in just 27 balls.
Roy started slowly but quickly found his groove with the help of some big sixes. The right-hander was on course to registering England’s fastest T20I half-century before getting to the mark in 23 balls with the help of four sixes. He slammed three more after reaching the landmark as England piled on 73 runs in the powerplay, their second highest ever in the format.
Roy became debutant pacer Deepak Chahar’s maiden international dismissal but not before his 31-ball 67 had pulverized India’s bowling attack and put England in control.
HARDIK PANDYA HELPS INDIA PULL THINGS BACK
After the roaring start provided by Roy and Buttler, a 200-run plus total seemed a formality for England. However, India’s bowlers fought back in the final overs with Hardik Pandya leading the way.
The all-rounder was hit for 22 runs in his first over by Roy but he showed good composure to bounce back in his next three. After conceding just two runs in his second over, Pandya struck twice in his third as he sent back Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales with clever variations.
Pandya struck twice again in his final over as he removed the dangerous Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow to give India something to smile about. His final three overs went for just 16 runs as he finished with figures of 4-38 from his four overs.
Pandya then showed his all-round abilities as he sealed India’s victory with a big six in an entertaining cameo off 33 runs which came off just 14 deliveries.
ROHIT SHARMA SLAMS THIRD T20I TON
A chase of 199 was always going to be a daunting one for India and Shikhar Dhawan’s third cheap dismissal of the series did not help their case. Luckily for the visitors, Rohit Sharma was on song as he showed why is considered to be one of the most devastating opening batsman in white-ball cricket.
In the course of his sublime innings, Rohit went past the 2,000-run mark in T20Is, becoming only the second Indian after Virat Kohli to do so. He found able support in the form of the skipper after KL Rahul’s dismissal to a spectacular catch by Chris Jordan.
Rohit played the same role for India which Roy played for England as he tonked the bowlers to all parts of the ground. He brought up his half-century off just 28 balls but unlike Roy, Rohit went on to play the big innings and brought up his third T20I ton off just 56 balls to take India over the finish line with eight balls to spare in the end.
Rohit’s unbeaten knock of 100 included 11 boundaries and five sixes and he is now only the second batsman after Colin Munro to have registered three T201 tons.