New Delhi: The case with Rohit Sharma is often about unfulfilled desires and untimely expressions. But on Thursday, the hugely talented Indian batsman gifted himself an innings of supreme class and a confidence booster going into the decisive phase of 2015 Cricket World Cup.
The much talked about quarter-final match against neighbours Bangladesh in Melbourne was meant to be an easy outing for the defending champions, but the Indians soon found the going tough once the opening stand was broken. Rohit lost his partner Shikhar Dhawan after posting 75 runs in 16.3 overs. Then, a disciplined Bangladesh bowling unit seemed to have put the Indian middle order into an unlikely submission.
But the 27-year-old from Nagpur had other ideas. He absorbed the Bangladeshi pressure like a seasoned campaigner and helped steady the ship, first with Ajinkya Rahane, then with Suresh Raina. At once stage, India having lost three wickets, were struggling to keep the scoreboard ticking. But the arrival of southpaw Raina and a brief rain-stoppage helped swing the momentum. And Rohit played the perfect anchor, helping each phase of India's innings with command.
Rohit applied himself, taking odd singles and waiting for the opportune moment to open his blade. The opener paced his innings to perfection, allowing batsmen around him to do their work. After a pedestrian looking 60 runs off 80 balls, he raced to 137 off 126.
In his 126-ball innings, the opener never played a wrong shot. He indeed found a gift from the umpire, after he was caught off Rubel Hossain at deep midwicket, on individual score of 90 and team total on 196 in the 40th over. The umpire at square leg ruled the delivery above waist-height for a no-ball, but the replays seemed to have suggest opposite. Apart from that blot, Rohit's innings was of supreme confidence and at the same time of prudence.
Finally, when he departed off a beautiful yorker from Taskin Ahmed, he had already placed India in a winnable position.
In the process, he also became only the third visiting batsmen to score two ODI hundreds at the the imposing Melbourne Cricket Ground. Legends David Gower and Viv Richards were others to acheive this feat.
The match became an one-sided contest as India won it by 109 runs, with Indian bowlers once again producing the goods. For his exploits, Rohit was adjudged Man of the Match.