Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul proved their critics wrong, with a brilliant partnership in India’s final 2023 World cup league stage match vs Netherlands, in Bengaluru on Sunday. After openers Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and no. 3 batter Virat Kohli got half-centuries, the pair took it to another level against the Dutch bowlers, hammering centuries in the process. (IND vs NED LIVE SCORE and LATEST UPDATES)
India won the toss and opted to bat, getting off to a bright start. Rohit (61), Gill (51) and Kohli (51) gave India’s no. 4 and no. 5 batters a strong platform, and the duo took advantage of it with much aplomb. Iyer smashed 128* runs off 94 balls, packed with 11 fours and four sixes. Meanwhile, Rahul slammed 102 off 94 balls, including 10 fours and five sixes. Rahul was dismissed in the fifth ball of the final over and Iyer remained unbeaten as India posted 410/4 in 50 overs.
Iyer and Rahul’s partnership (208) also saw them create history. It became the highest fourth-wicket partnership for India in World Cup history, beating MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina’s 196* at the 2015 World Cup vs Zimbabwe in Auckland. Meanwhile, Kohli and Rahul’s 165-partnership in this World Cup against Australia is third in the list, followed by Vinod Kambli and Navjot Singh Sidhu, who got 142 in 1996, against Zimbabwe in Kanpur.
The first innings also saw Kohli equal Sachin Tendulkar’s World Cup record of 50-plus scores in a single campaign. Sachin has seven 50-plus scores from the 2003 World Cup, and Kohli also got his seventh 50-plus score in this campaign. But Kohli is not the first player to level Sachin’s iconic record. Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan already achieved the feat at the 2019 World Cup.
Speaking after the first innings, Rahul said, “Not gotten a lot of time (in the middle) in the last two games, so it was nice to get some time today. Batting at 5, it’s important to get that confidence, it was a good knock. Getting that confidence to hit sixes towards the end was important. It’s not rocket science, got to go hard in the last 10 overs. Tried to get as many runs as possible, that was the plan, the ball gets softer, so hitting sixes at the back end becomes difficult.”
“It’s just not this game, everyone has a clear game plan, we have been executing it (our plans) pretty well. Need to win this game and look forward to the semis. It (keeping) gets difficult sometimes, but I enjoy being involved in the game, the bowlers have challenged me during DRS calls, but they don’t give me enough credit (on DRS calls),” he further added.