Ultimately, India scored more runs in their opening ten overs (91) than South Africa did during their whole innings thanks to the relentless efforts of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill against their new-ball bowlers.
Having ignited the fire needed to score 326 for 5, a total considerably above par on an Eden Gardens ground that assisted spin, Rohit was the catalyst as India shot beyond fifty in the fifth over and concluded with 40 off 24 balls. However, he claimed that his strategy was not planned after the game.
When inquired about if there was a deliberate attempt to be aggressive against South Africa, Rohit responded, “Not really, that is something we didn’t discuss, to be honest,” at the post-match presentation. “The majority of our innings together have been batted in this manner since Gill and I have been batting together for a very long period. We don’t plan everything; instead, we allow our instincts speak for us and take control in the middle. We want to go out and play the kind of cricket we are playing if the wicket is excellent and everything goes according to plan.”
And for India, everything did come together. Virat Kohli scored his record-tying 49th ODI century after he and Gill were removed, and his 134-run partnership with Shreyas Iyer made sure that India was always above par even when the wicket became more difficult to bat on.
“If we look at how we played in the last three games, we played better [against South Africa] in terms of adapting to the situation,” Rohit added. “We were under a little strain against England, losing three wickets early on, but the seamers pulled through and we managed to produce a respectable total. We lost an early wicket in the opening over of the last game as well, but we went on to form a strong partnership and reach a respectable total until seamers once more crashed the party.
“It was not an easy pitch today either; someone like Kohli was needed to go out there and bat the situation.” Not to mention [Shreyas] Iyer, who forged that alliance for us and helped us score runs. Once we realized we had scored, we knew it was time to continue playing the ball in the appropriate spots and let the pitch take care of the rest.”
Rohit had nice things to say about Iyer and Mohammed Shami. Shami is India’s top wicket-taker at the World Cup, having taken 16 wickets in just 26 overs at an incredible strike rate of 9.7, average of 7.00, and economy of 4.30, despite missing the first four league games. Iyer, on the other hand, scored just one run in his first six World Cup innings before hitting back-to-back half-centuries against Sri Lanka and South Africa.
“Honestly, even if they wouldn’t have repaid, I would have still kept that faith,” Rohit stated. “Letting guys have some freedom in the middle is important.” It is imperative that they comprehend the expectations placed upon them. Furthermore, I am aware that it won’t occur every game. You need to continue to have faith in the men who have performed well for the squad. Even while it can’t be done every day, when it is, everything seems to be in order.
“With Shami, that is what transpired. He wasn’t in the starting lineup for the first few games, but his return in the last four games speaks much about the player’s character and mindset. Iyer wasn’t receiving the runs he was hoping for by his own standards, but he demonstrated his class in the last two games.
As India’s lone all-rounder, Ravindra Jadeja has stepped up to perform in Hardik Pandya’s absence. He did not play in the first four games, but when he did, he finished strongly while batting first against Sri Lanka (35 off 24) and South Africa (29* off 15), helping to seal the chase against New Zealand (39* off 44). Along with that, he has claimed 14 wickets at an economy of 3.76, including five against South Africa.
“Jadeja has been excellent,” Rohit remarked. “Having played for us in all three formats for a long time, he is a significant match-winner for us. Today was a good example of what Jadeja is for us—he scores runs at the back part of the game and then comes out to take wickets. He keeps working hard and is sometimes overlooked. very significant participant. He is fully aware of the expectations placed on him by the squad.”
India leads the league with eight wins from eight games, and they still have a match left, on November 12 in Bengaluru against the Netherlands. The team that places fourth in the league will face them in their semi-final after that, but Rohit isn’t planning too far ahead just yet.
We have been discussing this topic nonstop in our changing room. not to conceive of the future. The competition has a long way to go,” Rohit remarked. “It’s critical that we maintain the present. That’s all we talk about all the time; it’s not like we want anything to change or are discussing anything else. We want to play to the best of our abilities when we show up for the game.”