Kolkata: Rohit Sharma struck a scintillating 98 not out at his happy hunting ground to power India to a challenging 185 for six against the West Indies in their World T20 warm-up match at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday.
Continuing with his love-affair at a venue where he had scored an ODI world record 264, Sharma plundered the Windies attack with seven sixes and nine fours in his unbeaten 57-ball knock.
The India opener missed the century by just two runs as he was left at the non-striking end with Jerome Taylor picking wickets of Pawan Negi and Hardik Pandya of consecutive balls in the final over.
Sharma finally got the strike in the fourth over and raced to 98 with a boundary over fine leg with a top-edge and with a 30,000-plus crowd on their feet, he failed to score in the next two deliveries to miss the mark by two runs.
Yuvraj Singh played a fine cameo of 31 from 20 balls (1×6, 3×4) as the third wicket partnership of 89 with Sharma from 46 balls lifted India from being 62/2 at the midway stage.
Batting first after a mutual decision, India had a watchful start and left-arm spinner Suleiman Benn (2/30) gave the breakthrough when he bowled Shikhar Dhawan for 21.
Dhawan looked in fine form but missed the line while playing across and his wicket slowed down the Indian run rate with number three Ajinkya Rahane (7) stumped when he tried to step out to Benn.
But India finally broke free in the 11th over when Sharma smashed two fours and one six against rookie off-spinner Ashley Nurse, who had replaced their ace spinner Sunil Narine in the squad.
Yuvraj too joined the party as the duo accounted for 18 runs in the 16th over bowled by Darren Sammy before the stylish left-hander top-edged one to be caught by Taylor.
Sharma had one blip in his unstoppable innings when on 90 he misjudged a run from the non-striking end in the 19th over. Midway into his run, the India opener had almost given up as bowler Russell from his run-up had the full view of the stumps.
Russell, however, threw it towards mid-on and Sharma escaped.
Brief Scores (FULL SCORECARD)
India: 185 for 6 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 98 not out; Sulieman Benn 2/30).