Gifting himself a record-setting century on Sunday, Virat Kohli added another feather to his already illustrious crown as Rohit Sharma‘s Team India crushed second-placed South Africa at the ICC World Cup 2023. Entertaining a packed Eden Gardens on his 35th birthday, run machine Kohli played a gritty knock of 101 off 121 balls to seal India’s eighth consecutive win of the One Day International (ODI) World Cup.
While Kohli made headlines with his record-equalling century, premier batter Shreyas Iyer regained top form with his brilliant half-century against the Proteas. In a match where Kohli managed to equal Sachin Tendulkar’s record tally of ODI centuries, middle-order batter Iyer played a stroke-filled knock of 77 off 87 balls. After lauding former India skipper Kohli for his match-winning knock, India captain Rohit also praised Iyer as the star batter returned to scoring ways prior to the knockout phase of the ICC World Cup.
‘Even if the faith hadn’t been repaid…’
“We needed Kohli to go out there and play the situation. We then knew we had to keep it in the right areas and let the pitch do the rest. (on Shreyas Iyer) Even if the faith hadn’t been repaid, I would have still stuck to them. We need to keep the trust. It can’t be done everyday,” Rohit said after India crushed South Africa by 243 runs at the Eden Gardens.
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja secured his maiden five-wicket haul at the World Cup and pace ace Mohammed Shami bagged a brace of wickets to make sure South Africa suffered its biggest defeat in ODI cricket. Speed merchant Shami has made himself undroppable after making a return to the Indian XI at the World Cup. Shami is India’s all-time leading wicket-taker at the ODI World Cup. Pacer Shami has picked up 16 wickets in just four games for India in the round-robin phase of the ICC event.
‘For Shami to come back the way he has…’
“For Shami to come back the way he has, shows the mindset. The last two games have shown what Iyer is capable of,” Rohit added. With 16 points from eight games, India are set to top the ICC World Cup 2023 points table. The World Cup hosts are followed by South Africa (12 points) and Australia (10) in the ODI World Cup standings.
“If you look at how we have played in the last three games, we have adapted better. We were put under pressure against England. But we got a decent score and then the seamers did the job. We lost a wicket in the first over. Then got runs and then the seamers did well,” Rohit noted. Rohit and Co. will meet the Netherlands in their final league game at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.