Indian opener Rohit Sharma was on Saturday declared Man of the Match after he smashed a record fifth century of the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup to help the Men in Blue beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in their last group stage clash of the marquee event at the Headingley Carnegie in Leeds.
Chasing a target of 265 runs, Rohit (103) not only pulled back his 27th One-Day International (ODI) ton but also stitched a mammoth partnership of 189 runs for the opening wicket with KL Rahul (111), who also brought up his maiden century of the World Cup, to help India cross the mark in 43.3 overs.
En route to his blistering knock laced with 14 boundaries and eight sixes, Rohit became the first player to score five centuries in the single edition of the World Cup. The Indian opener surpassed Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara's record for the most number of centuries in one edition of the mega event. Sangakkara had smashed four consecutive centuries in the 2015 World Cup.
Overall, it was Rohit's sixth hundred in World Cup career, thus drawing level with legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar for most hundreds in the history of the cricket's showpiece event.
Not only this, Rohit also became only the fourth cricketer and second Indian after Tendulkar to notch up 600 runs in a single edition of the World Cup.
While picking up his Player of the Match award, the Indian opener said that he was not thinking about the milestones and was just focusing on taking the Men in Blue towards the finishing line.
"I wasn't thinking about milestones, my job is to keep my head straight and get the team towards the finishing line. When you are in, shot selection becomes very important, I try to calculate how I want to go forward, and it has paid dividends, You have to be disciplined in batting, and I've learned from my mistakes in the past," ESPNcricinfo quoted Rohit as saying.
"Every day is a new day, I start fresh, I try to think I've not played any ODIs, not got any hundreds in the tournament. The challenge as a sportsman is to keep your head straight," he added.
Overall, Rohit has notched up a total of 8,657 runs in 214 ODIs he has played for India at a batting average of 49.2.
Earlier, Angelo Mathews (113) and Lahiru Thirimanne (53) staged a fightback after Sri Lanka were reduced to 55/4 to help their side post a respectable total of 264 for seven against India in their stipulated 50 overs after opting to bat first.