The hundred against Bangladesh was one of my better knocks: Rohit Sharma
India marched their way to the semi-final of the 2015 World Cup with a 109-run win over Bangladesh in the quarter-final on Thursday. One of the key performers for India was Rohit Sharma, who scored a match-winning 137 off 126 balls that helped the Men In Blue post a score of 302 for 6 in 50 overs, after which the bowlers came to the party and dismissed the opposition for 193.
Talking about the knock, the 27-year-old rated it as one of the best that he has played so far and expressed his pleasure over helping the team win the game, by making a substantial contribution.
“It should be right up there. A maiden World Cup hundred is always special. It came at the right time and in a crucial game for the team. But I do not place my innings and knocks in any order. I feel all hundreds you get are really special. Centuries don’t happen every day and whenever you get one, you cherish it. What is more satisfying is the situation in which I got that hundred and most importantly that we won the game in the end, which is what matters. I cannot describe how special this World Cup campaign is for me. It is a very important tournament and this is a precious stage for me,” Rohit said in an interview to BCCI.tv.
The century was his second one at the Melbourne Cricket Ground(MCG), making him only the third player after David Gower and Sir Vivian Richards to record two hundreds at the venue. The right-hander admitted that he enjoyed batting over there and added that performing in front of a massive crowd gave him even more happiness.
“I enjoy batting here. It is a good wicket to bat on. Today after the rain break the wicket became a lot better to bat on and the ball came nicely on to the bat. Also, I love the fact that there are a lot of people watching the game. The last two games we played here had a humungous crowd and today we had over fifty thousand people watching it. To perform in front of such a big crowd always gives you immense pleasure,” he said.
When the Mumbaikar was asked about whether he looks to set small targets during the course of his innings, he said, " Not really. Today the plan was simple and it was to bat as long as possible. I didn’t segregate my innings or plan as to how much I should get at the end of 10 or 20 overs. I knew that no matter how much you end up getting after 30 or 40 overs, you can always bank on the last ten overs.
“We lost important wickets at crucial times and it was important for one batsman to control the innings and stay till the end, which is what I did. How many deliveries I would take to get to the hundred was not important. It was important for a set batsman to stay till the end and I did just that ”.
Rohit also revealed he prefers to take his time early on in his innings before opening out and scoring with more freedom and added that he didn't want to get out after reaching the three-figure mark and wanted to carry on and get a big score.
“That is the pattern of my batting. I like to take time initially and assess the conditions. I try to gauge the wicket behaviour, the shots I can play on that wicket and the ones I can cut down. I plan and pace my innings accordingly. The hundreds I have got of late have been similar hundreds where I take time initially and then switch gears,” the opener said.
“There is no mental approach to switching gears. It is about timing certain shots according to the condition of the game. My job was not over after getting to a hundred. I still had a lot of overs left and once I got my century I was focused on helping the team get a good score,” he added.
Raina changed the momentum of the innings: Rohit
He also credited Suresh Raina, with whom he put on 122 runs for the fourth wicket, for increasing the run-rate and putting the pressure back on the Bangladesh bowlers.
“I think more than my half century at that stage, it was Suresh Raina’s fifty that changed the momentum of the game. He scored at run-a-ball and changed the course of the game playing those shots. It completely put Bangladesh in a different position. They had an upper-hand initially but then Raina just came in and turned it in our favour. His fifty was important in terms of laying a good platform for posting a decent score.
“Our partnership was crucial after losing three wickets. We, as a batting unit, have always spoken about getting one big 100-run partnership and that partnership put us in a strong position,” he said.
When enquired about what approach India would adopt in the semi-final, Rohit said that the Indians can't afford to make any mistakes in that game, regardless of the opposition they face.
“First we need to see who we are playing and then plan accordingly. It will be a huge game and now there is no looking back. We can’t afford any mistakes. All our three departments have done well in the last seven games. We have posted good scores, chased well and the bowlers have picked up 70 wickets in seven games. The fielders too have shown a lot of energy and we are doing well in unison. This shows that our team has a lot of caliber,” he concluded.