India captain Virat Kohli hailed opener Rohit Sharma as the best batsman in ODI cricket after his fourth century of the tournament set up a 28-run win over Bangladesh and qualification to the World Cup 2019 semi-finals.
Rohit’s 104 laid the foundation of India’s total of 314-9, after adding 180 for the first wicket with KL Rahul.
India’s bowlers then dismissed Bangladesh for 286 with two overs to spare after star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan top-scored with 66. Pace ace Jasprit Bumrah took four wickets while all-rounder Hardik Pandya took three top order wickets, including the scalp of Shakib.
After the match, Kohli lauded Rohit as the ‘best ODI batsman’, saying: “I have been watching him for years now. He’s the best one-day player around and we are so delighted to see him. When he plays like that, everybody is happy to see him strike it so well,” Kohli said.
Four wickets to @Jaspritbumrah93 (including two in the final two balls of the match) swung things in India's favour, sending them through to the semi-finals.— ICC (@ICC) July 2, 2019
See all the wickets here ⤵#TeamIndia | #CWC19 pic.twitter.com/t63TzqyvuL
Bumrah is the other ace in Kohli’s pack and the India skipper knows how valuable his death over bowling is. As Bangladesh came close to India total thanks to seamer Mohammad Saifuddin’s fifty, Bumrah returned to pick up two wickets in his last over to finish the match.
“His overs were always going to be crucial, that’s why we stopped him after four initially. He’s a world-class bowler and he just knows what he’s up against,” Kohli said.
Bumrah’s brilliance, and that of Pandya, made up for the lack of a sixth bowling option as India decided to omit Kedar Jadhav. Kohli was glad Pandya more than made up for it.
“We have experienced that Hardik when put under pressure comes back really well. He has a gut feel of what the batsman is trying to do. I know five bowlers was a gamble, but it was keeping in mind the ground dimensions. We wanted to play the perfect combination for the small boundary,” the skipper added.
Man-of-the match Rohit said he wanted to make a big score and not just cross three figures. It was the second match, after the England loss, that Rohit got out right after reaching his ton.
“I thought I just got a hundred today. My mantra is whatever has happened in the past is in the past. Those in form have to bat long and get the team to a big score,” he said.
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