From outside, Virat Kohli’s record equalling 101 off 121 balls against South Africa on Sunday might look a bit laborious, but Indian captain Rohit Sharma termed the innings as one that suited the conditions and the match situation. Kohli’s 49th ODI hundred paved the way for India’s 326 for five on a slightly diffident Eden Gardens pitch, which proved way over the par in the end. “If you look at how we have played in the last three games, we have adapted better. Today, we needed Kohli to go out there and play to the situation. We then knew we had to keep it in the right areas (with the ball) and let the pitch do the rest,” said Rohit during the post-match presentation.
Rohit was quite chuffed with the way middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer and pacer Mohammed Shami repaid the management’s faith in this World Cup.
Iyer made an outstanding 77 off 87 balls while Shami picked a wicket that swelled his tally in the tournament to 15.
Rohit said he would have kept his faith in them even if they did not come out with such performances.
“Even if the faith hadn’t been repaid (by Shreyas and Shami), I would have still stuck to them. We need to keep the trust. It can’t be done every day. For Shami to comeback the way he has, shows the mindset. The last two games have shown what Iyer is capable of,” he noted.
Upfront, Rohit has made a riveting alliance with his partner Shubman Gill but the skipper said their aggressive approach was not premeditated.
“Gill and myself have been batting together for a majority of time now. We let the instincts take over. We don’t pre-plan anything. We just assess and play accordingly,” he said.
Ravindra Jadeja too made a statement of his skills while making a quick 29 off 15 balls that gave India some late steam and then he returned to pick up a five-wicket haul (5/33).
Rohit lauded Jadeja for his all-round effort.
“Today was a classical case as to what Jadeja is for us. He came out at the death and scored vital runs. Then picked up wickets. He knows his role and knows the expectations from him.” India have now won an unprecedented eight matches in a row in the World Cup, but Rohit did not give in for hyperboles.
“Not to get too ahead of ourselves has been the talk in the dressing room. We have a couple of big games coming up. We don’t want to change anything.” South Africa captain Temba Bavuma said his side failed to adapt on this day.
“We know the challenge, know the narrative around us while chasing. Didn’t do it any justice today. When we talk about it as a batting group, gotta be honest,” he said.
“The first ten overs with the ball made it a challenge. We did do quite well after that. Biggest challenge was taking wickets and India built big stands. The conditions are the biggest learning.
“Wicket played as we suspected it to play – expected it to deteriorate but we didn’t adapt well. It will be up to us to adapt our skills accordingly,” he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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