Captain Rohit Sharma on Wednesday surpassed compatriot Sachin Tendulkar with a record seventh World Cup century to lead India to a crushing eight-wicket win over Afghanistan. Chasing 273 for victory in New Delhi, the hosts rode on Rohit’s 131 to achieve their target in 35 overs for a second straight win in the 50-over showpiece event. He brought the nearly packed house to its feet with his century off 63 balls to go past Tendulkar’s record of six tons in World Cups.
“Special to get a World Cup 100. Very happy about that. Don’t want to think about records too much because I know there’s a long way to go,” Rohit said after being named man of the match.
“I know it’s my responsibility to give the team a good start and put the team in a good position as much as possible. It’s something I’ve done for a while and love.”
Rohit’s century was also the fastest by an Indian in a World Cup, quicker than Kapil Dev‘s hundred in 72 balls against Zimbabwe in 1983.
Rohit hit the ball to all parts of the ground as he reached 1,000 World Cup runs and then went past Chris Gayle‘s record of 553 sixes across all international formats.
The dashing opener hit 16 fours and five sixes in his 84-ball knock before being bowled by leg-spinner Rashid Khan.
His opening partnership of 156 with the left-handed Ishan Kishan, who made 47, extended the team’s dominance after a good bowling show on a batting-friendly pitch.
Happy homecoming for Kohli
Superstar cricketer and Delhi-born Virat Kohli soon took over to hit an unbeaten 55 and finished the match with a boundary.
Kohli had Shreyas Iyer, who made 25 not out and hit the biggest six of 101 metres in the tournament so far, for company at the other end.
Rohit said the team has players “who can play fearless cricket”.
Afghanistan posted 272-8 after electing to bat at the ground which witnessed a World Cup record 754 runs scored in the previous match when South Africa posted 428 and defeated Sri Lanka.
Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah stood out for the home side with his best World Cup bowling figures of 4-39.
Bumrah got Ibrahim Zadran caught behind for 22 and celebrated by pointing to his temple.
Shahidi, a left-hand batsman, and Omarzai then rebuilt the innings in a century stand, prompting Rohit to rotate his bowlers.
Omarzai reached his second ODI fifty and soon Shahidi smashed Pandya for four to bring up his half-century and followed it up with a six.
Omarzai, who hit two fours and four sixes in his 69-ball knock, also attacked but was bowled by Pandya.
Shahidi kept up the attack with regular boundaries but fell lbw to Kuldeep Yadav in his attempt to reverse sweep the left-arm wrist spinner.
Bumrah struck twice including Rashid to keep Afghanistan down on a run-filled wicket.
“We have seven more games, looking forward to those games,” said Shahidi. “Hopefully we learn from our mistakes and we will work on it.”
The Afghans lost their opening match to Bangladesh while tournament favourites India began with a victory over five-time winners Australia.