In this ODI World Cup, Rohit Sharma is playing a role similar to what Brendon McCullum did for New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup in Australia. He’s setting the pace of the innings early on and handling the new ball bowlers aggressively.
While Rohit may not be as intimidating as McCullum was back then, he has his own style. He’s not trying to hit the ball extremely hard but is focused on making the most of the powerplay using his excellent timing skills.
In this World Cup, he has been the standout batsman during the early phase, with an impressive average of 88.33 and a strike rate of 130.54. Although this approach can lead to early dismissals, it lays the foundation for players like Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, and KL Rahul.
Throughout his three World Cup appearances, Rohit Sharma has scored nearly 1500 runs with a remarkable average of 61.7 and seven centuries. Despite his exceptional performances, some of his World Cup innings go underappreciated.
#1 Scored 64 runs against Ireland in the 2015 World Cup in Hamilton
Facing a determined Ireland team that had posted a challenging total of 259 runs, courtesy of notable contributions from Paul Stirling and Niall O’Brien, the chase was never going to be easy for India. This challenge was amplified by a strong breeze aiding the pacers in swing movement.
However, Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan adopted a cautious approach, refraining from early aggressive shots and working to play alongside the ball to counter the swinging conditions.
But in cricket, you can’t be too cautious, can you? Sharma decided to break free, showcasing his shot-making prowess, which not only controlled the required run rate but also earned him a well-deserved half-century.
While Dhawan achieved a memorable century to secure the victory for his team, it was Rohit Sharma’s explosive innings that laid the groundwork for their triumph.
#2 Scored 57 runs against Australia in the 2019 World Cup at Kennington Oval
In a crucial match between India and Australia, India’s main challenge was to navigate the threat posed by the new ball bowlers Mitchell Starc, who excels in ODI World Cups, and Pat Cummins, especially on the slightly moist Kennington Oval pitch.
Rohit Sharma, despite some initial difficulties against Starc’s surprise outswingers, adapted to the pitch conditions, launched a counter-attack, and reached his fifty, ultimately scoring 57 runs before being dismissed by Nathan Coulter-Nile.
#3 Scored 40 runs against South Africa in the 2023 World Cup at Eden Gardens
On a pitch that was perhaps the second most challenging of the tournament (only behind the surface in the India vs. England match), Rohit Sharma, with his innovative approach, demonstrated why he is the premier white-ball opener in contemporary cricket.
Sharma chose to take on the South African fast bowlers right from the start, and by the time he was dismissed, the team had already notched up 62 runs within just six overs, with him contributing 40 runs from 24 deliveries.
As the ball aged, stroke-making and scoring became increasingly difficult, with spinners gaining significant assistance from the pitch. This highlights the crucial role Rohit’s aggressive start played in setting the tone for the rest of the innings.