“India will hope that Rohit and Kohli continue to flourish like this even in next year’s World Cup. Hopefully, they have lots of runs and centuries saved up for the mega event too”
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma paved the way for yet another successful chase for India, this time against West Indies. The target was once again a stiff one and needed the top three to fire. With Shikhar Dhawan back in the hut early, the responsibility lied on the captain and the vice-captain of the side. They did not disappoint as they took India to yet another memorable victory. With Kohli going for his shots right from the beginning and Rohit happy to play the supporting role, it was a perfectly stitched 246-run stand – which is their highest partnership in ODIs. This was also the first time Kohli and Rohit put on 200-plus while chasing and ensured that it will be the one that is remembered for a long time.
They did it in Kolkata against Sri Lanka in 2014, then went Down Under and gave the Aussies a run for their money in 2016. They managed to repeat the feat twice in 2017 – once against Sri Lanka at Colombo and then against New Zealand at Gwalior. It is a treat to watch these two in action as they compliment each other’s game. Rohit often plays second fiddle to Kohli, as he did on Sunday, but more often then not, ends up outscoring him. They have had a 200-plus partnership on 5 different occasions – A world record. When there is a lot to chase, one has always seen Kohli lead from the front – Be it as captain or just as a batsman. The 183 vs Pakistan at Mirpur or the famous Hobart hundred against Sri Lanka, Kohli loves being among the thick of things when the target is a big one.
Elegance and class are perhaps the qualities that define Rohit’s batting, but he needs some time to settle in. He very rarely goes after the bowling right from the first delivery and at the same time, he will also not keep blocking to do so. When things get tough, he will rotate the strike and hope that he gets his timing right sooner rather than later. At Guwahati, it was a beautiful wicket to bat on. Shimron Hetmyer made the best use of it. The bat was coming on to the bat and stroke making too looked easy. With such conditions, it was ideally set up for India’s top 3 to get some big scores on the board. West Indies did make the ball talk when they got rid for Dhawan for just 4. That’s as good as things got for West Indies as Kohli and Rohit never let go of their strong grip on the match.
It was a great moment individually for both the batsmen as well. Kohli reached his 36th ODI century – his 60th in international cricket, while Rohit got to his 20th ODI ton. To put things into perspective, Kohli is not just second in the list of most ODI centuries, but the man who leads the list with 51 tons, Sachin Tendulkar got his 36th ODI century in his 311th innings, while Kohli has achieved that in just his 204th innings. Also, Tendulkar’s 60th century was scored in his 427th innings in international cricket. Kohli, on the other hand, has achieved this feat in just 386 innings. Safe to say, Tendulkar’s records are in serious jeopardy.
Added to this, Kohli now has 14 tons as ODI captain, only behind Ricky Ponting who has 22. Ponting took 220 innings, while Kohli has done it in just 50. Staggering!
Rohit equalled Saeed Anwar’s tally of centuries and is now just two away from levelling with Sourav Ganguly. He too will rise up the ladder very soon, given that he is in the form of his life. Rohit, like Kohli, believes in getting big hundreds. They are never happy with 100 or 110, they always make it count and try to score in excess of 140 or 150 every time they get to a hundred. Rohit already has three double centuries in ODI cricket. Kohli has just three scores of over 150, but he often sets the tone with his blistering shots in the beginning and eventually runs out of steam in the end.
In 64 innings that they have come together, Rohit and Kohli have added 3,931 runs at 65.61, which includes 15-century stands and 9 fifty partnerships. They are surely on their way to have their names etched amongst the legends of the game.
For India, the top three are going to be crucial. They have to do the bulk of the scoring, be it batting first or chasing. While India to have a formidable middle-order, they have shown that they lack consistency. Mind you, this is a middle-order with MS Dhoni, who has come under constant criticism for his batsmanship in the shorter formats. Depending on Kohli, Rohit and Dhawan delivering in every match are fine, but over-dependence on them will lead to India’s downfall in crunch games. However, India will hope that Rohit and Kohli continue to flourish like this even in next year’s World Cup. Hopefully, they have lots of runs and centuries saved up for the mega event too.