Not too many recent years have gone by without Rohit Sharma producing one of the top ODI knocks. His masterful 140 against Pakistan at the World Cup makes the cut at No.3 in Wisden‘s men’s ODI innings of 2019.
Rohit Sharma 140
India v Pakistan
ICC Men’s World Cup, Match 22
When you arrange Rohit Sharma‘s ODI knocks by highest score, the innings against Pakistan almost seems pedestrian. It doesn’t even feature in his top 10 most prolific knocks, coming in at 11th position, behind his record three double centuries and other daddy hundreds.
A splendid 140 from Rohit Sharma, which came off just 113 balls, guided India to their seventh straight victory over Pakistan in World Cup cricket ?
— ICC (@ICC) June 17, 2019
That is not to take away from the brilliance he produced in Manchester in mid-June. Apart from the extra pressure of an India-Pakistan contest, the openers also had to contend with the movement Pakistan’s fast bowlers were extracting under overcast conditions. When Rohit, and India, got off the mark with an inside edge off a ball from Hasan Ali that seamed in and went past the diving wicketkeeper for four, it seemed like the bowlers would be dictating terms.
It didn’t take Rohit too long to alter that impression, when in Hasan’s next over, he played a classic straight drive for his second four of the day. If that didn’t inspire confidence, then the pull over deep midwicket for six two overs later certainly did. That early assault from Rohit transferred the pressure squarely back on Pakistan, and their bowlers didn’t respond too well. The quicks simply didn’t put the ball in the right areas for long enough.
Rohit can sometimes be vulnerable against leg-spin, but this wasn’t one of those days. In Shadab Khan’s first over, he first dispatched him over deep mid-wicket with an elegant flick from outside off, and then slashed one through point to bring up a 34-ball fifty.
Pakistan managed to rein in India’s proceedings for a while, but Rohit was happy to then focus on rotating the strike. His next batch of fifty runs came off 51 balls, and he brought up his hundred with a controlled cut to deep point for a single.
He switched back to a more attacking approach after reaching three figures, taking his tally of boundaries to 17, including three sixes, before he scooped one straight to short fine leg off his 113th ball. His masterclass set the tone for India’s 89-run win (DLS method).
Rohit was in fantastic touch by this point and he wasn’t going to spare anything short or anything wide. Hassan Ali erred on both counts. Rohit took a languid step across and unleashed a cut shot – fuelled in equal parts by power and timing – sending the ball soaring over deep backward point.
Sachin in 2003 or Rohit in 2019 – who did it better? pic.twitter.com/M9k8z5lLQd
— ICC (@ICC) June 16, 2019
The shot was a carbon copy of the one Sachin Tendulkar played off Shoaib Akhtar in the 2003 World Cup match between the two sides in Centurion.