Centuries from Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul powered India to a 160-run win over the Netherlands in Bengaluru on Sunday as they completed the group stage with a perfect nine wins in nine games.
India vs Netherlands WC: India crush Netherlands by 160 runs
Discussing and analysing India’s victory, the noted panellists of Pakistan’s sports channel ASports, Wasim Akram, Shoaib Malik and Misbah-ul-Haq showered praise on the Indian team that will play New Zealand in the semifinals in Mumbai on Wednesday.
But all the three former Pakistan skippers singled out India captain Rohit Sharma for special praise.
When asked to comment by the show host on India’s “incredible” batting, Akram said, “Yeah, 410/4 in 50 overs, 61 by Rohit Sharma, Gill (Shubman) 51 off 32, they scored 91 in first 10 overs, the game was over then. I mean the way they played again. Rohit Sharma 61 off 54, 8 fours, 2 sixes, mera nahi khayal aisa player duniya cricket mein hai (I don’t think there’s a player like him (Rohit Sharma) in world cricket). We talk about Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Kane Williamson, Babar Azam, but this guy is different. Because he makes batting look so easy, in any situation, against any bowling attack, bade araam se shots maarta hai (he hits shots effortlessly).”
Shoaib Malik intervened, “Ye (Rohit Sharma) aisa batter hai ke paanch bowlers hote hain na opposition mein, ye paanchon ko peetta hai (he scores runs against all the five bowlers in the opposition). Jo baaki Wasim bhai ne naam liye hain na woh paachon ko nahi maarte, woh teen ko maarte hain, chhate-saatvein ko maarte hain, ye paachon ko maarta hai (the batters Wasim Akram has named they don’t hit all the 5 bowlers, they hit three or at the most the sixth or the seventh (part-time) bowlers. He (Rohit Sharma) smashes all five bowlers).”
Wasim Akram pitched in, “Woh kya kehte hain Punjab mein? Tempo hi change kar deta hai aate hi. Woh bowlers ko, opposition ko apne pad jaate hain (he changes the tempo of the game as soon as he arrives at the crease and throws the opposition bowlers completely off gear)”.
Both Wasim Akram and Shoaib Malik also recalled their school days how they used to sit straight and behave in front of their teachers, comparing Rohit Sharma with them.
The anchor then pointed out that Shubman Gill has come back to the team after a bout of dengue and even he has started plundering runs.
Misbah-ul-Haq then offered his opinion, “Right from the first ball they (Rohit and Gill) were on a mission. Shayad woh ye soch ke aaye thhey ki highest runs karne hain humein, kyunki aisa lag hi nahi raha tha, woh ek baar nahi ruk rahe thhey, fast bowlers ko nikal nikal ke, har ball pe try kar rahe thhey shot aur sochti hai na teams ki hum thoda time le lein, opposition aisi hai, runs kar lein, but they batted, look at that 5.5 overs, 50 already on the board, koi ball chahe peeche hai, good length pe ball hai, aage kiya toh saamne unhone bada zabardast shot khela hai, I mean all shots like aise nahi lag raha tha jaise aap slogging kar rahe hain, proper cricketing shots, saamne front foot pe ya back foot pe, this is the beauty (Right from the first ball since they arrived at the crease, it seemed like they had thought they will pile up the highest score, they were stepping out against the fast bowlers and were relentless and unstoppable, 50 runs in 5.5 overs, they played incredible shots stepping out against the fast bowlers and all were proper cricketing shots)”.
Wasim Akram pitched in, “This talent has got to be natural, the hand-eye coordination. Woh kehte hain na hum cricket mein iske paas time bada iska ye matlab nahi ki iski ghadiyon ki dukaan hai! (What we say in cricket that he (Rohit Sharma) has a lot of time, that doesn’t mean he owns a watch shop, it means we feel that ball is coming slow towards him)”, invoking laughter from the rest of the panel.
Comparing Rohit Sharma with former Pakistan batting great Inzamam-ul-Haq, Wasim Akram continued, “Inzamam ke paas time bahut tha, bowlers ko lagta nahi tha ki usko koi problem ho rahi hai, length aagey hai toh aagey, back hai toh back hai (Inzamam had loads of time to play his shots, it never looked to the bowlers that Inzamam was having any problem playing his shots, good length, short of length, no problem at all), same goes for Rohit Sharma.”
Rohit fell after scoring a 54-ball 61 hitting 2 sixes and 8 fours after breaking the record for most ODI sixes in a calendar year.
Rohit became the first player to score more than 500 runs in two consecutive World Cup editions. Rohit scored 648 runs in the 2019 edition and in the match against the Netherlands on Saturday, he crossed the 500-run mark in this edition.
With 503 runs, Rohit is at the fourth spot in the highest run-getters list in this World Cup edition.
Rohit also achieved the distinction of becoming the first Indian captain to score more than 500 runs in a single World Cup edition.
Apart from this, Rohit has now also hit most sixes and most fours in a World Cup edition as a captain.