It was a ‘RO-(AR)-HIT' show all the way at the Aegeas Bowl in Southampton on Wednesday as Rohit Sharma performed like a lion in India’s first match against South Africa in the Cricket World Cup 2019. The opening batsman said his knock was not a ‘Rohit Sharma innings’ since there was something in it for the bowlers, but he had fun in ensuring that the job was done.
After taking his team past the finishing line, the target of 228 runs, Rohit, said, “It was a different experience. There was something in it for the bowlers, so had to respect them. We couldn't play our natural game and had to take time to play our shots. The basics had to be done. The key was building partnerships.
“The weather was good. I had fun. Over the years, somebody has done the job. It’s a long tour. So can’t rely on one or two individuals all the time.
He added, “It was not a typical Rohit Sharma innings. I had to play out the innings, but I had to get the job done.”
Team India captain Virat Kohli, while praising the ‘Hitman’ stated, “The first win is always important. We were confident on the field, but had to be cautious while batting because of the strength of SA's attack. That's why Rohit's knock was very special. It's one thing to be favourites on paper, but one has to be professional on the field. That's what we've done.”
Rohit’s knock of 122 not out off 144 deliveries consisted of 13 fours and 2 sixes and was scored at a strike rate of 84.72.
The opener took his time before settling and exploded first by smashing Kagiso Rabada for 15 runs in an over. Despite losing the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli at the other end, Rohit maintained his composure and didn’t play any rash shots or take unnecessary risks as he stitched crucial partnerships with KL Rahul (26) and MS Dhoni (34).
Earlier in the day, Yuzvendra Chahal was the pick of the bowlers as his 4/51 dented South Africa’s plans to post a big total. Jasprit Bumrah (2/35) had laid the platform with two wickets in the first spell, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/44 ) supported him and picked wickets at the death. Kuldeep Yadav was economical, picking up 1/46 in his 10 overs, while Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav did a good job in the fifth bowler’s role.