Indian Captain Rohit Sharma’s explosive knock of 131 propelled the ‘Men in Blue’ to a comfortable 8-wicket victory over Afghanistan at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in the ongoing World Cup on Wednesday.
Afghanistan’s formidable spin bowling attack couldn’t stifle the Indian batters as Rohit consistently found boundaries around the ground.
In pursuit of a target of 273, India got off to a blazing start with the opening partnership of Rohit and Ishan Kishan aggressively taking on the Afghanistan bowlers. After initially adopting a cautious approach, India transitioned to a T20I-like style of play, and once Rohit began hitting boundaries, there was no looking back.
Rohit reached his fifty in just 30 balls by the end of the powerplay, with India maintaining a run rate well above nine. Rohit’s dominance allowed him to reach 76* by the end of the powerplay, while Kishan watched from the other end with a score of 11*.
Rohit Sharma, showcasing his batting prowess and tapping into his prime form, not only amassed a century but also etched his name in history as the player with the most centuries in the annals of the World Cup, amassing a total of 7 tons. This remarkable achievement surpassed the iconic cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who had notched up six World Cup centuries during his illustrious career.
He also became the Indian to score the fastest century in the World Cup surpassing former captain Kapil Dev’s 72-ball ton against Zimbabwe in 1983 breaking a record that stood for almost 40 years.
Rohit’s century came while chasing a target in the World Cup is also the most hundreds (3) in successful World Cup chases. His 131 was the highest score by an Indian during a World Cup chase.
His glorious knock consisted of five sixes which took his tally of international sixes to 556 which is the most by any player. Former West Indies player, Chris Gayle held the record with 553 sixes, but Rohit overtook him to seal his position at the summit of the rare record.
He also tied the record of Australian opener David Warner to become the joint-fastest 1,000-run scorer in the World Cup, achieving the feat in just 19 innings.
India faced a minor hiccup when Rashid Khan dismissed Kishan for 47. Virat Kohli then joined Rohit in steering India towards an easy victory. Rohit’s brilliant innings concluded when Rashid claimed his second wicket of the night. Shreyas Iyer partnered with Kohli, who sealed the win with a stylish boundary.
Kohli and Iyer remained unbeaten, with scores of 55* and 25* respectively, wrapping up the game with 15 overs to spare.
Earlier, Afghanistan’s skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi won the toss and chose to bat. Afghanistan faced early struggles, losing three wickets in the first 15 overs. However, Shahidi and Azmatullah Omarzai’s partnership of 121 runs revived Afghanistan’s innings.
After Omarzai’s dismissal, Shahidi continued to anchor the innings as Afghanistan crossed the 200-run mark in 40 overs. However, when Bumrah entered the attack, Afghanistan lost wickets in quick succession, ultimately finishing with a total of 272/8.
The victory against Afghanistan was India’s 7th successful chase of 250 or more in the World Cup, no other team has managed to do more than 5.
Brief Score: Afghanistan 272/8 (Shahidi 80, Azmatullah 62; Bumrah 4-39) vs India 273-2 (Rohit Sharma 131, Virat Kohli 55*; Rashid Khan 2-57).
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