Rohit Shines In Crushing Win Over Afghanistan

The skipper soon entered the 90s and brought up his century in the 18th over while India crossed the 150-run mark with Kishan also closing on his maiden World Cup half-century…reports Asian Lite News

Indian captain Rohit Sharma slammed a record-seventh century in an ODI World Cup as India defeated Afghanistan by eight wickets and 90 balls to spare in match no. 9 of the ICC World Cup 2023 at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, here on Wednesday. Rohit scored 131 after Jasprit Bumrah’s spell of 4/39 limited Afghans to 271/8 despite a fighting 80 by skipper Hasmatullah Shahidi.

The firework-filled innings saw records galore by Rohit Sharma, who became the joint-fastest to 1000 runs in a World Cup (tied with David Warner at 19 innings each), surpassing Chris Gayle’s record of most sixes (553), most centuries in a 50-over World Cup (7) and the fastest century by an Indian at the World Cup (63 balls) — in that order — during the course of his 31st ODI century.

Chasing the target, Rohit Sharma unleashed himself on the Afghan bowling line-up from the third over, when he clipped Fazalhaq Farooqi for a boundary through the square leg region. Faroozi faced the wrath of Rohit in his next two overs as the Indian opener shot him for two sixes and four boundaries while India crossed the 50-run mark by the beginning of the seventh over.

Ishan Kishan was a mere spectator at the other end as Sharma reached his half-century with a single in the next over. There was never any respite on the offer for the Afghan bowlers in the powerplay as India reached 94/0 by the end of the 10th over. The Indian captain was not out on 77 in just 43 deliveries.

Rohit appeared to drop his intensity a bit after the first powerplay but soon wreaked havoc at spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who was taken to the cleaners in the 14th over with three boundaries. The skipper soon entered the 90s and brought up his century in the 18th over while India crossed the 150-run mark with Kishan also closing on his maiden World Cup half-century.

Kishan, however, couldn’t realise the mark on the day as he fell at 47 in a soft dismissal to Rashid Khan, who ended the 156-run stand in the 19th over. The wicket was also a reminder that Afghanistan skipper Hasmatullah Shahidi missed an important trick in his book by not introducing his best bowler to the game early in the powerplay.

Rohit continued his onslaught with Virat Kohli as the duo added a further 49 runs for the second wicket to take India past 200 runs. The skipper’s innings came to a fold at 131 runs off 84 balls (15 fours and five sixes) with Rashid Khan castling the batter in the 26th over.

The damage, however, was already done as by the time Rohit went back to the pavilion, India needed mere 67 runs with 24 overs yet to be bowled. Former captain Virat Kohli and middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer no further harm came India’s way as the duo added unbeaten 68 runs for the fourth wicket while India chased down 273 with eight wickets and 90 balls to spare.

Virat Kohli made his stay at the crease worth his while too with his 68th half-century as he scored 55* off 56 balls while Shreyas Iyer held the other end at 25 not out.

Earlier, Afghanistan managed to put 272/8 on the board after opting to bat first. Hasmatullah Shahidi (80) and Azmatullah Omarzai (62) added 121-run for the fourth wicket to lay the foundation for a big total before Jasprit Bumrah bowled 4/39 to take the momentum away from the Afghans.

This was also the best bowling spell by the pacer in a 50-over World Cup.

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