New Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS) Indian cricket team’s dominance in home conditions at the ongoing ICC World Cup 2023 was once again at show as they steamrolled Afghanistan by eight wickets with 90 balls to spare while chasing an average total of 273 runs at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, here on Wednesday.
The victory saw many highlight moments, including an ODI innings masterclass by Indian captain Rohit Sharma, as India added back-to-back wins in their first two games of the World Cup. The Men in Blue have now set themselves up well for the mega clash against Pakistan on October 14.
545 runs is now the highest match aggregate total including India and Afghanistan in ODIs.
IANS take a look at five talking points from the match
Rohit Sharma’s record-breaking show
There’s no stopping Rohit Sharma when the man is in the mood and Afghanistanis learned that the hard way as the Indian captain bludgeoned an 84-ball 131, laced with 16 fours and five sixes, to take away any hope their rivals had of winning the match despite putting up a target that looked decent but was never enough.
The 35-year-old batter rolled back years with his array of shots on a day when he breached multiple milestones, including the joint-fastest to 1000 runs in ODI World Cup history while scoring the fastest century (63 balls) by an Indian at the showpiece event, which first began in 1975.
Rohit Sharma also placed himself as the record holder of the most centuries in WC, surpassing Sachin Tendulkar’s mark of six tons. He also surpassed Chris Gayle as the man to hit the most sixes in the ODI format as he left behind the Trinidadian’s record of 553 maximums.
The innings came as a relief for the fans of the Indian team as the captain got out for a duck in the first game while Shubman Gill remains uncertain for the match against Pakistan on October 14 in Ahmedabad.
Jasprit Bumrah spell
Jasprit Bumrah has placed himself in the run for the most wickets at the ICC World Cup 2023 as the bowler has now picked six wickets in two games. After taking two wickets in the opening match against Australia, the pacer picked a 4-39 as his best bowling show in the 50-over World Cup.
Bumrah, who went through a long and multiple injury lay-off before making a comeback right before the World Cup at the Asia Cup. The pacer didn’t take much time to settle in and has grown from strength to strength with 14 wickets in seven games. Since his return, he is also the joint-highest wicket-taker for India, sharing the spot with Kuldeep Yadav.
Bumrah moved the ball well with the new ball and also took the wicket of Ibrahim Zadran in the powerplay while bowling at an amazing economy of 2 runs per over. However, his best expectedly came in the slog overs with three wickets in two overs to take the momentum away from the Afghans. The spell importantly took the wickets of pinch hitters Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, and Rashid Khan.
Virat Kohli wins hearts with a kind gesture
Virat Kohli continued his fine form at the World Cup with back-to-back half-centuries. The senior batter scored 55 not out on Wednesday after scoring a match-saving 85 in the last game against Australia to reestablish his name as the chase master. However, on the day, it was his kind gesture to hug out a rivalry with Naveen-ul-Haq, especially when the latter was being jeered by the home fans, which won a lot of hearts.
The duo has been at the loggerheads since Virat Kohli and Naveen were involved in a verbal duel during the IPL 2023 earlier this year. The incident saw the Afghan all-rounder take the battle to social media as he accused the former Indian captain of making unwanted gestures.
However, on Wednesday, Virat Kohli gave a happy ending to the rivalry by approaching the Arun Jaitley crowd to not to jeer Naveen and also went on to give him a hug as the duo exchanged words with a smile on his face.
Rashid Khan’s late introduction to bowling
The friendly banter on the field couldn’t hide the captaincy shortcomings or inexperienced of Afghan leader Hashmatullah Shahidi, who kept his No. 1 bowler and match-winner waiting too long to bowl while Rohit Sharma wreaked havoc to the run away with the match by the 15th over.
Rashid Khan was introduced to bowling after the first 15 overs and the leg spinner responded with the wicket of Rohit and Ishan Kishan to further prove the point that he should have been given the ball much earlier.