Fifties and hundreds don’t matter, I want to bat with tempo: Rohit Sharma

PTI, Jun 25, 2024, 11:01 AM IST

Gros Islet (St Lucia): He fell short of a potentially record-shattering hundred, but milestones “don’t matter” to India skipper Rohit Sharma, whose sole aim while batting is to “put bowlers under pressure” by hitting them all over the field.

Rohit’s 92-run knock that came off 41 deliveries steered India to a 24-run win over former champions Australia in their final Super 8 outing of the ongoing T20 World Cup on Monday. The record for the fastest T20 World Cup hundred belongs to West Indian swashbuckler Chris Gayle, who pulled it off in 47 deliveries in the 2016 edition.

Expectedly adjudged player of the match for the memorable effort, which was punctuated by eight sixes and seven fours, the 37-year-old said his focus was only on maintaining the “tempo” of the match. India will take on England in the second semifinal on June 27.

“It was a good wicket, and you want to try and back yourself to play those kinds of shots. I’ve been trying to do that for a few years now, and I’m glad it came off today. The fifties and hundreds don’t matter, I wanted to bat with the same tempo and carry on.

“You want to make big scores, yes, but at the same time you want to make the bowlers think where the next shot is coming, and I think I managed to do that today,” he added.

“You need to put the bowlers under pressure, and you need big scores for that. I tried to access all sides of the field, not just one side.”

Winning was not a ‘breeze’ for India and Rohit said he had to tweak his batting style to take the wind out of the 2021 champions’ sails.

Rohit played some delectable strokes on the off side after his opening partner Virat Kohli departed for a duck. With wind a perpetual hindrance, Rohit said he had to play more strokes on the off side to negate the impact.

“I thought right from over number one, there was a strong breeze blowing across. They (Australia) changed their plan, bowling against the breeze, so I realised I had to open up the off side as well,” he said.

“You’ve got to factor in the breeze and understand that the bowlers are smart as well and open up all sides of the field. When you keep an open mind and not just think of one shot, you can access all areas of the field,” said the India skipper after the match.

“…when you’re playing on grounds like this where wind is a factor, anything is possible, but I thought we used the conditions very well. It was very pleasing to see how we were getting through those overs and getting the wickets at the same time.”

Rohit also said he knew wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav would be at his potent best in the West Indies after encountering seamer-friendly conditions in the US. Kuldeep repaid his faith with excellent figures of 2/24 in his four overs on Monday.

“Kuldeep, we understand the strengths he has, but you have to use it when you need it. The pitches in New York were seamer-friendly, but we knew he would play a big role later.”

The skipper added that he would like India to continue playing the same way in the knockouts as well.

“We don’t want to do anything different (in the knockouts). We want to play the same way, understand what the individuals need to do in a given

“So far we’ve been doing that consistently, and semifinals, we have to try and do the same thing. It’ll be nice (to play England in the semifinal). Nothing changes for us, we want to focus on what we can do as a team, and take the game on.”

Marsh rues missed chances

Australian skipper Mitchell Marsh, who was guilty of grassing a sitter and also failed to build on his good start with the bat, conceded that India were better on the day.

“It’s disappointing…today India got the better of us. I think over the course of 40 overs there’s a lot of small margins, but honestly, India were the better team,” he admitted

“We’ve seen for 15 years what Rohit Sharma can do in that kind of mood, and he got off to an absolute flier. In a run chase like that, you’re in it if you can keep it at tens (10 runs per over) for as long as possible, but India were too good for us.”

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