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Regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Wasn’t a typical Rohit Sharma innings, says centurion Rohit

It was important to start on the right note, says Virat Kohli

TT Bureau Calcutta Published 05.06.19, 10:15 PM
 Rohit  Sharma on way to his 122 not out against South Africa in Southampton on Wednesday

Rohit Sharma on way to his 122 not out against South Africa in Southampton on Wednesday (AP)

Following the basics, leaving as many balls as possible at the start, cutting down on risky shots and playing close to the body helped Rohit Sharma score an unbeaten 122 as India scripted a six-wicket victory in their World Cup opener against South Africa in Southampton on Wednesday.

Rohit rode two reprieves and a close leg-before wicket call to register his 23rd ODI century as India reached home with 15 balls to spare.

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Speaking at the post-match presentation, Rohit said: “It was a different experience from playing in India. There was something in it for the bowlers throughout the game, so you had to play out the overs initially and see what the ball was doing.

“I couldn’t play my natural game. I had to take my time. There are certain shots that I like playing, but I had to cut out those and play close to the body, and try and leave as many balls as possible in the initial stage.

“I followed the basics properly on this pitch. In fact, one has to follow the basics properly on these surfaces — try and leave as many balls as possible on a wicket that is doing a bit. It wasn’t a typical Rohit Sharma innings. I had to play out the overs and make sure the job was done.”

Rohit’s knock wasn’t just about the 13 fours and two sixes he hit. It was also about rotating the strike really well with KL Rahul first, for the 85-run third-wicket stand, and then 74-run stand for the fourth wicket with Mahendra Singh that clinched the game in India’s favour.

“Building partnerships were key in this chase. It was a small total, but since there was something in the pitch for the bowlers, the going was a bit tough and we needed partnerships,” Rohit said.

Barring Rohit’s opening partner Shikhar Dhawan and captain Virat Kohli, who was caught brilliantly by Quinton de Kock diving full length, the others coming in to bat also made a meaningful contribution. Rahul batted sensibly after Kohli’s dismissal at a tricky period, while Dhoni’s calmness in the middle ensured Rohit’s tempo wasn’t affected.

Thereafter, Hardik Pandya did the icing on the cake with three cracking boundaries.

“It’s the batsmen’s responsibility to get the job done, whoever is out in the middle. We can’t rely on one or two individuals all the time. That has been the hallmark of this team over the last few years.

“Someone always puts his hand up and takes the responsibility to take the team across the line. We have done that really well. We all know it’s a big tournament and I hope at some stage someone (else) will put his hand up and take that challenge,” Rohit emphasised.

When told that he looked quite fresh despite having batted for so long, Rohit replied: “That’s the beauty of playing in England. We are playing a little early. We generally play in July/August, but this is early June.

“The weather has been good through the day and overcast, so you don’t sweat too much like it is in India. I had fun out here.”

The South Africans, on the other hand, feel they bowled quite well to Rohit, who was adjudged Man of the Match. “When was the last time you have seen Rohit Sharma get a hundred off 120 balls? He is usually quite a flowing player.

“For a guy of his quality to take that long to get a hundred, it shows you how well we bowled,” said Chris Morris .

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