Going into the quarter finals, India’s formula for success was simple. They were up against a team that could have derailed the hopes of a billion. All India had to do was: Win the toss, pile up a challenging score, field well and take those 10 wickets. Back to basics, am I right? For the most part of their bowling, Bangladesh kept it tight and neat. They got rid of Shikhar Dhawan early on, followed by an unsettled Virat Kohli and reduced India to 79/2 in the 18th over. The pressure was on the defending champions. After all, this was the side that threw England out of the competition. A resurrection was fast needed.
Rohit Sharma was due for a big knock, and there was no better time to do it. He walked in like a man on mission, absorbing all the pressure initially and went berserk towards the end. Thankfully, this wasn’t one of those innumerable starts where he would fail to convert. Rohit’s fabulous stroke-making was a little too much for the Bangladeshi bowlers. Make no mistake, this wasn’t his style of play. Yet, Rohit waited patiently, and when the Batting Powerplay was on, he erupted like a volcano. He went from 60 off 80 balls to 137 off 126!
The fact that he escaped unscathed on 90 when India were 196 in the 40th over was sheer luck going India’s way. Just when the Bangladeshis thought they had their man, it wasn’t to be. The spectators cheered for that no-ball. Instead, Rohit punished the bowlers further with exquisite strokes that put him in cruise control mode. Together with Raina who is a master of pressure situations, Rohit powered India to the 2nd highest score in a World Cup knockout match. India finished with 302/6, a target too steep for their opponents.
It was Rohit’s second ODI hundred at the G, and the first in his maiden World Cup. He now averages a staggering 83.75, the highest among cricketers who have scored at least 250 runs at the ground. Rohit also finds himself in elite company, becoming only the third visiting batsman to score 2 ODI centuries at MCG, alongside David Gower and Sir Vivian Richards.