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Pleased with opening partnerships with Shikhar Dhawan in the World Cup: Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma talks about his partnership with Shikhar Dhawan and India's winning run in the tournament so far.

Rohit Sharma

India’s 2013 Champions Trophy win will be remembered for several reasons. One among those would undoubtedly be the opening combination of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, who provided excellent starts in almost all the games and laid the foundation for the rest of the batsmen to carry forward their good work.

The tournament was particularly fruitful for Rohit who had come into the tournament after having a disastrous time in 2012, having scored 168 runs in 14 matches at an average of 12.92. But a promotion to the top of the order proved to be a huge turning point in his career and he hasn't looked back since then.

“It has been a great journey for me and Shikhar since the time we have started opening together,” Rohit said in an interview to bcci.tv.

“We, as openers, have a responsibility of laying the perfect platform for the middle order to come and bat the way they want to. I am glad we have been able to give the starts that the team wants from us thus far and it is important that we continue this phase in the coming games.

“We both have good memories of the ICC Champions Trophy as well. We did have a rough patch in between but we knew we could always strike back,” he added.

The 27-year-old put on 174 runs with Dhawan for the opening wicket against Ireland in Hamilton on Tuesday, which is the highest opening wicket stand for India in World Cup cricket. Talking about the approach adopted by them while chasing the target of 260, the Mumbaikar said that they were looking to play according to the merit of the ball and admitted that once you get set, it becomes easier to score runs on the smaller New Zealand grounds.

“The wicket was such that you had to spend some time in the middle and then go for your shots. In New Zealand if you get in and play yourself for some time you can make the most of it.

“The initial five to six overs were really crucial and with the two new balls it does a little bit, especially in these conditions.

“It was important for us to see off that new ball and be positive as well. Today we were positive right from ball one. The deliveries which were there to be hit were given the treatment and we got the best out of it. New Zealand is a high scoring place and you have to bide your time in the middle and runs will come,” he said.

When he was asked about India’s unbeaten run in the tournament so far, the opener said that a collective effort from all the members has helped them register five wins on the trot in the tournament.

“This tournament is such that momentum plays a huge part. When you come into such tournaments with such a winning momentum, it brings out the best from each individual in the side. The highlight of our wins has been the fact that it has not been just one individual who has taken us through those victories. Almost everyone has contributed towards the team’s success which shows in our results. We are well placed at the moment and it is a good position to be in,” Rohit said.

Disappointed to have not got a big score: Rohit 

Talking about his own knock of 64 off 66 balls, Rohit felt he was middling the ball really well and was even more gutted, as a result, to have not gone on to get a big score.

“I have played here and I have good memories of Seddon Park.The shots were coming off well and I felt really good. I was sticking to my game plan. I had decided that there would be certain shots that I would play and a few that I would cut down on. I did that initially and once I reached a position where I felt I could go for my shots I began playing them,” he said.

“Unfortunately, I got out at the wrong time and I should have converted my start into a big one. But these things happen and it won’t affect me in the future,” he added.

The right-hander also praised the way the Ireland batted at the start of their innings and credited the spinning duo of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja for bringing the defending champions back into the game.

“Ireland got off to a good start and played the initial hour very well. It wasn’t easy to play those shots that they played early in the innings. Credit to the Ireland batsmen for the way they started.

“But R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja pulled it back and there were a few crucial overs bowled by Suresh Raina as well that helped us keep the run-scoring under check. To come and control the innings at the stage was really important and if we hadn’t done that, who knows we would have been chasing 300. Bowling well in those middle overs was important and it was backed up by good fielding,” Rohit said.

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