Opener Rohit Sharma was on Wednesday declared Man of the Match after he smashed an unbeaten century to help India outplay South Africa by six wickets in their opening match of the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup at Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
Chasing an easy target of 228 runs, Rohit pulled back a blistering knock of 144-ball 122, laced with 13 boundaries and two sixes, besides also sharing crucial partnerships of 85 and 74 runs with KL Rahul (26) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (34), respectively to help India cross the mark with 15 balls to spare.
It was Rohit's second century in the World Cup and 23rd overall in his career's 207th ODI. By reaching the three-figure mark off 128 balls, the Indian opener has also surpassed Sourav Ganguly’s record of 22 hundreds in one-day internationals.(Full Scorecard: India vs South Africa, World Cup 2019)
While picking up his Player of the Match award, the 23-year-old said that he just focused on sticking to his basics and build partnerships throughout the innings despite a small target.
"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. 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," ESPNcricinfo quoted Sharma as saying.
"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. 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," he added.
Earlier, Yuzvendra Chahal bagged a four-wicket haul, while Jasprit Bumrah (two for 35), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (two for 44) and Kuldeep Yadav (one for 46) all shone with the ball to help India restrict South Africa to 227/9 in their stipulated 50 overs.
Overall, Rohit has now notched up 8,010 runs at an average of 47.4 and a strike rate of 87.95 in 206 ODIs he played so for the Men in Blue. The Indian opener also has three double centuries to his name.