Rohit Sharma : Rohit Sharma smashed a record seventh World Cup century as India beat Afghanistan by eight wickets in a group match in Delhi on Wednesday.
The Indian captain smashed an 84-ball 131, including 16 fours and five sixes, as the tournament hosts chased down their 273-run target with 15 balls to spare. The 36-year-old also registered the fastest century by an Indian player at the World Cup, reaching three figures in 63 balls.
Sharma’s seventh effort saw him overtake Sachin Tendulkar as the leading World Cup century holder, as India maintained their strong start to the competition after Sunday’s opening win over Australia with the win.
“It was a good pitch to bat on and I was just hoping to play my natural game,” Sharma said. “I knew when I opened my eyes that the visit just got easier. It’s something I’ve been working on for a long time. I’m excited to make a big one today and get that hundred. It’s a very special feeling. A World Cup. A hundred is always special. Sharma insisted that records were not important to him as he aimed for tournament glory. “I don’t want to think about those things,” he said. “There is a long way to go and I don’t want to lose focus. It is important not to lose the mind to put pressure on the opposition.”
Virat Kohli finished unbeaten on 55 off 56 deliveries, while Ishan Kishan added to 156 with a curvy 47 to give India victory with an inspired Sharma.
Jasprit Bumrah was the star for India earlier, taking four for 39 as Afghanistan made 272 for eight. Bumrah claimed three in the middle order as Afghanistan failed to build on the strong platform laid by captain Hashmatullah Shahid (80) and Azmatullah Omarzai (62). The pair put on 121 for the fourth innings and 63 for three, but the momentum was lost when Hardik Pandya bowled Omarzai (two for 43).
Shahid’s 88-ball knock ended when Kuldeep Yadav was caught lbw in the 43rd over, leaving Bumrah for just 47 runs.
Any hopes of Afghanistan’s overall competitiveness were quickly dashed when Sharma, then bowled by Rashid Khan (two for 57), led India to a massive victory.
“We have seven more games,” Shahidi said. “We try to learn from our mistakes and come back with a positive attitude.”