In a notable departure from their usual World Cup performances, India found themselves setting a total in their match against England in Lucknow. However, their innings got off to a challenging start as they were at 40 for 3 in the 12th over. For India’s captain and Player of the Match, Rohit Sharma, this presented an opportunity to leverage his experience and adapt to the demanding pitch by batting strategically.
Rohit emphasized, ‘It’s not just about playing my shots; when you have that level of experience, you need to utilize it for the team’s benefit. At that moment, it was crucial to take the game deep, build partnerships, and set a respectable total.’ After a brisk start with 17 runs off 11 balls, Rohit adjusted his approach, progressing to 29 off 40 deliveries before finding his next boundary. His patient innings of 87 off 101 deliveries played a pivotal role in India’s 100-run victory.
While the victory was convincing, Rohit believed that India left some runs on the field. He, along with KL Rahul, initiated the recovery with a 91-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Subsequently, Rohit partnered with Suryakumar Yadav to add 33 more runs, falling short of a century by 13 runs. Despite these efforts, India reached a total of 229 for 9.
Rohit reflected, ‘I still feel we were 20-30 runs short at the end. The new ball posed challenges, and as the game progressed, rotating the strike became difficult. We knew we had to keep persevering, and eventually, we formed a crucial partnership. However, as I mentioned, we fell short by 20-30 runs in the end.’
Acknowledging the challenges, Rohit attributed India’s struggles to loose shot selection by the batters. Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, and Shreyas Iyer were notable examples of poor shot selection, which resulted in wickets. Although Rahul and Rohit made significant contributions, their dismissals occurred while attempting big shots.
Rohit stated, ‘Our batting performance was not up to the mark today. Losing three wickets in the first powerplay is far from ideal. However, in such situations, our focus is on building long partnerships, which we achieved. But a couple of us lost wickets towards the end, including me. I aimed to stay positive and put away balls in my areas, applying pressure on the bowlers and the opposition. Yet, in the bigger picture, we fell 30 runs short.’
Despite the missed runs, India’s bowlers, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, swiftly dismantled England’s lineup. Rohit commended their performance, saying, ‘With our seamers’ experience, we can always rely on them to deliver crucial breakthroughs. They utilized the conditions effectively, keeping the batsmen uncertain.’
When asked if India possesses the most well-rounded bowling attack in the tournament, Rohit responded, ‘We have a good balance. With a couple of quality spinners and experienced seamers, we have a strong bowling lineup, offering various options. When you have a bowling lineup like ours, it’s essential for the batsmen to post a competitive total and rely on the bowlers to work their magic.’
And work their magic they did, dismissing England with 15 overs to spare. This victory maintained India’s unbeaten position at the top of the table and left the defending champions with their fifth loss in six games.