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ICC World Cup: Rohit Sharma's record-breaking ton pilots India to massive victory
ICC World Cup
Photo courtesy: Image tweeted by BCCI

ICC World Cup: Rohit Sharma's record-breaking ton pilots India to massive victory

| @indiablooms | 12 Oct 2023, 12:25 am

New Delhi/IBNS/UNI: Rohit Sharma's record-breaking century saw India clinch a massive 8-wicket win over Afghanistan after chasing down 273 runs target in just 35 overs in the 9th ICC Men's World Cup at Arun Jaitley Stadium here on Wednesday.

With this win, India are second on the Cricket World Cup 2023 table after New Zealand.

Opening the batting, India's captain smacked 131 off 84 balls, smoking 21 boundaries as his counterpart Hashmatullah Shahidi lost the plot by bringing in star leg spinner Rashid Khan late in the innings.

The India captain took 19 innings to achieve this landmark, equalling Australia's David Warner, and he reached his hundred in 63 balls, overpowering the 40 years old World Cup record of Kapil Dev who got the century in 72 balls against Zimbabwe in his epic 175 runs knock in 1983 World Cup.

This century also was Rohit's 7th in the ICC World Cups and also holds the record of scoring a maximum number of centuries in a single edition of the tournament. He has got five of them in the 2019 World Cup.

Rohit also scored the lion's share of runs in the 156 runs partnership for the first wicket with Ishan Kishan who scored 47 before he fell to Rashid Khan.

Ultimately, Rohit fell to Rashid who took both the wickets, but not before giving a fiery start in India's chase, with him also becoming the joint-fastest batsman to 1,000 runs in World Cup history.

India made a fiery start in their chase, with the skipper reaching his hundred in the 18th over, as India looked to close the game early. The Afghans were largely bereft of answers outside of Rashid Khan, who was deployed late in Afghanistan's efforts by his lofty standards.

Virat Kohli (55*) and Shreyas Iyer (25*) ensured a strong net run rate-boosting win.

After seeing off the first couple of overs, Rohit unleashed his belligerence. He took a boundary off Fazalhaq Farooqi and then didn't look back.

In the eighth over of the innings, he brought up his half-century in the eighth over, off merely 30 balls. He also hit his third six off the fifth ball of that over. This helped him reach 554 sixes in international cricket. He became the batman with the most sixes across formats.

Earlier, Shahidi and Azmatullah Omarzai's fifties and their 121-run stand for the fourth wicket helped Afghanistan to post 272/8.

At one point in time, Afghanistan looked to get past the 300 runs mark, but a strong late-over effort from India's bowlers led by Jasprit Bumrah undone Shahidi and Azmatullah's strong foundation-laying effort.

Azmatullah was promoted up the order and Afghanistan were 83/3 after 20 overs as Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja put the brakes early on in their spells.

Afghanistan's 100 came up in the 24th over, and soon Azmatullah broke the shackles by smacking Kuldeep for a couple of sixes and Jadeja for a six.

Mohammed Siraj (0/76) was brought back but was greeted with a boundary by Azmatullah, taking the Afghanistan total to 147/3 in 30 overs. Both batsmen reached fifties, with Shahidi cracking a six off Hardik Pandya.

Hardik took his revenge by cleaning up Azmatullah for 62 off 69 balls with 2 boundaries and 4 sixes. Shahidi and Mohammad Nabi were happy to knock around Kuldeep as Afghanistan reached 200 in the 37th over.

Rashid showcased urgency with his trademark death-over shots with a flurry of boundaries, but lost his wicket after scoring 16 off 12 balls with a six and a four.

Bumrah finished with 4/39 from his 10 overs, with Shardul Thakur, Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav also on the wickets.

Afghanistan could only muster up 61 in the last 10 overs, around a similar rate as their middle-over period, in no small part to Shahidi and Azmatulla's partnership.

Opting to bat first, Ibrahim Zadran opened his account with a four, and followed it up with a couple of boundaries by flicking Siraj. He was also lucky to have survived a loud appeal for LBW, courtesy of a review.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz also was severe against Mohammed Siraj, driving a couple of boundaries to push Afghanistan further, but Bumrah struck and forced Ibrahim to nick behind the stumps to KL Rahul for 22.

Rahmat Shah got off the mark with a boundary and Gurbaz smacked Shardul for the first maximum, taking Afghanistan's score to 48/1. They reached 50 runs mark the next over.

Shardul was wayward with the ball, but did well to take a well-judged catch to dismiss Gurbaz off Hardik's bouncer for 21 off 28 balls with 3 boundaries and a six. Having gained confidence with this effort, Shardul trapped Rahmat LBW on the umpire's call on review for 16 off 22 balls with 3 boundaries.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 272/8 in 50 overs (Hashmatullah Shahidi 80, Azmatullah Omarzai 62; Jasprit Bumrah 4-39, Hardik Pandya 2-43) lost to India 273/2 in 35 overs (Rohit Sharma 131, Virat Kohli 55*; Rashid Khan 2-57) by 8 wickets.

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