After a long-lasting wait, India finally started its World Cup mission and the Men in Blue kicked off their campaign in style. The Virat Kohli-led team recorded a sensational 6-wicket victory against South Africa at The Rose Bowl in Southampton on Wednesday (June 5). The Indian bowlers delivered a sensational performance to restrict the Proteas under a pretty modest first innings total. Yuzvendra Chahal picked up fabulous four-wicket haul, while Jasprit Bumrah claimed two crucial scalps. In the second innings, Rohit Sharma showed great composure and temperament to notch up a match-winning hundred (122*) and helped India chase the total pretty comfortably. After the match, Virat stated that this was Rohit’s best ODI innings of his career.
While chasing a target of 228 runs, India lost both Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli quite early and that was the time when Rohit took the responsibility of leading his team in the chase. He was dropped a few times and South African speedster Kagiso Rabada was also running in with his quick pace and stunning accuracy, but Rohit countered it all with great composure and temperament. He continued to follow the same approach all through his magnificent knock and steered India home with 15 balls to spare.
"I think in my opinion this is by far his best ODI innings because of the kind of pressure the first game brings from a World Cup point of view. And then I know, as a batsman, when you go in and a few balls bounce like that, it's not easy to gather yourself again and play in a calm manner," quoted Virat Kohli during the post-match press conference.
“A lot of times batsmen tend to hit their way out of the situation. But he was very composed, he was very -- he's played so many games, we expect a lot of maturity and a lot of responsibility from someone like him. But, in my opinion, of all the brilliant innings I have seen him play, I think this, for me, was the top of the pile because of the way he compiled his innings and at no stage did we feel like, or he felt like he is going to throw it away," he added.
He played the perfect innings
Rohit compiled a couple of important partnerships with KL Rahul and MS Dhoni to carry on India's progress in the run-chase. Virat noted that the opener played the perfect innings in that pressure situation as it came against a quality bowling attack and on a tricky wicket as well. "I think controlling the game so beautifully from one end and allowing the others to display themselves and string in small little partnerships, looking at the fact that they were only chasing 228, he played the perfect innings for that kind of a situation on that kind of a wicket against a bowling attack that was threatening to pick up wickets at any stage. So, yeah, in my opinion, by far his best knock," Kohli concluded.