Rohit Sharma explains how his match winning century against South Africa at Southampton was different from other innings
Team India start off their ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 campaign on a winning note, as they defeat South Africa by 6 wickets at The Rose Bowl in Southampton. Chasing a below par 227/9 posted by the Proteas, India after a few hiccups here and there finally managed to hand South Africa their third successive loss in the World Cup.
India’s star with the bat was the ‘Hitman’- Rohit Sharma, who scored a magnificent 122* off 144 deliveries, with the help of 13 fours and 2 sixes. This was his 23rd ODI hundred and 11th overall in ODI chases. He was eventually awarded the’ Man of the Match’ for his match winning knock.
During the post-match presentation, Rohit was quite vocal as he spoke about the apparent challenging conditions in the middle, which forced him to cut out some of his shots, and play his unnatural game.
“Was something in it for the bowlers through the game, couldn’t play my natural game. Had to take my time to play shots, had to cut down certain shots I love to play, exclaimed Rohit.
Wonderful result for India. Many boxes ticked. Bumrah was magnificent as was Chahal and India will like the solidity from Rahul and Dhoni. And Rohit Sharma was unhurried, his slowest odi century but one that was invaluable
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) June 5, 2019
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) June 5, 2019
The 32-year-old further opined upon the approach with which he went out to bat initially- the need to build partnerships and keeping it simple despite a relatively smaller target in sight. He was spoke at length about the ‘hallmark’ of the current Indian team, which is to play together as a unit without relying on only one or two individuals.
“Wanted to leave a lot of balls initially, was trying to stick to the basics and build partnerships even though it was a small total. All the batsmen in the team have a job, it’s their role to bat through and get the job done. We can’t rely on one or two individuals. That’s been the hallmark of this team. We’ve done that well, this is a big tournament and at some stage someone else will put their hand up and do the job for us”, added Rohit.
“Wasn’t a typical Rohit Sharma innings”- Rohit
Rohit also brought out the funnier side of himself as he admitted that it wasn’t a typical ‘Rohit Sharma’ sort of an innings- one which the fans expects him to play with those exquisite display of strokeplay and natural flair right through his innings. He also exclaimed on the good whether conditions both the teams experienced in Southampton.
“We’re playing a little early in the summer in England, weather was good through the day, you don’t sweat. I had fun, wasn’t typical Rohit Sharma innings, had to play out the overs to ensure I get the job done”, remarked the centurion.
Earlier, the Indian bowling lived up to its expectations by restricting the Proteas to a relatively small total of 227/9 in the 50 overs. Both the spinners were exceptional with the ball. Yuzvendra Chahal was the stand-out performer as he took 4 massive wickets, at the cost of only 51 runs in 10 overs. Jasprit Bumrah was also exceptional with his figures of 10-1-35-2.
Rohit Sharma was well assisted by MS Dhoni (34 off 46), as the duo made sure that the team crossed the line with 15 balls to spare. Rohit Sharma was also quite lucky as the Proteas fielders just couldn’t manage to capitalise on as many as 3 chances given by him throughout his innings.
The Proteas bowlers, on the other hand, gave their heart out, especially Kagiso Rabada (10-1-39-2) who despite the good bowling figures under his name, was unlucky as he could have got Rohit out in as many a 3 occasions had the fielders not dropped his catch, or the balls had not landed in the ‘No-Man’s land’ on other occasions.