ICC World Cup 2019: Rohit Sharma - Tale of three dropped catches, flying edges and an unbeaten ton
The man who benefitted the most from South Africa’s poor fielding was Indian vice-captain and opener Rohit Sharma. Unlike the flat tracks back home, on which he devours opposition bowlers, the conditions in Southampton were difficult. Rohit’s innings on Wednesday, under an overcast sky, was more akin to a Formula 1 driver getting stuck on a jam-packed Bengaluru road.Updated: May 21, 2020 00:26 IST
It isn’t a pleasant feeling for a batsman when he can hear the ball buzz past his ears. Life is difficult when a fast bowler is on a rampage and is constantly hurling a hard cork, albeit covered in leather, towards the upper half of your body. It is difficult to survive such an assault for long. But if he does, thanks to some generously insipid fielding, it is the foremost responsibility of that batsman to pile misery on the opposition and make them pay for their errors.
(Also Check: Full coverage of ICC World Cup 2019)
There was a time when the name South Africa was synonymous with excellence in fielding. To call the team’s fielding efforts pedestrian in their third ICC World Cup 2019 outing would be a misnomer. For the men in green would put amateurs to shame with their efforts in the field against India at the Hampshire Bowl in Southampton.
The man who benefitted the most from this callousness was Indian vice-captain and opener Rohit Sharma. Unlike the flat tracks back home, on which he devours opposition bowlers, the conditions in Southampton were difficult. Rohit’s innings on Wednesday, under an overcast sky, was more akin to a Formula 1 driver getting stuck on a jam-packed Bengaluru road.
But he wasn’t ready to give in. He persevered through the flying edges and dropped chances and made his way to his 23rd ODI century, perhaps one of his most satisfying ones as he stayed unbeaten till the end and saw the team through in a tricky chase.
But Rohit had tried very hard to pass the baton to someone else both early in the innings as well as later on. It was the fourth delivery of the second over of the innings bowled by the tearaway Rabada and the ball was a well directed bouncer towards Rohit’s left shoulder.Full highlights of India vs South Africa World Cup 2019 match
We have seen Rohit lean over to his right and use his wrists to guide such deliveries over the fine leg fence several times but Rabada was way too quick for the Mumbai lad to get under the ball and hit the shot. The result was that Rohit was hit on the gloves and the ball ballooned up for long enough to allow South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis to rush in from the slip cordon and dive forward to complete the catch. Faf did all of that, but much to Rabada’s dismay, failed to hold on to the ball. Rohit was batting on 1.
He duly completed his fifty and kept the nervous Indian fans from biting their nails off, after captain Kohli departed, with some crisp boundaries. He had done his bit and was ready to let someone else do the job when he got a thick outside edge to a back of length delivery from Chris Morris. But a slightly soft bottom hand and a slightly deep first slip meant the ball dropped agonizingly short of a diving Hashim Amla. Rohit’s reluctance to lead India on was not accepted by the heavens yet again.
By the time the next chance came, India were well on their way and Rohit definitely wanted to see the winning runs being hit from the balcony as he top edged a short delivery from Rabada in the 44th over which went straight up. Rabada waited patiently for the ball to come down and so did David Miller, who had his cupped palms ready to pouch it. But no, it wasn’t to be. The ball popped out of the cup and Rabada didn’t know where to find an edge to jump off from.
Rohit Sharma would go on to stay unbeaten on 122 and reluctantly but happily guide India to victory in their first World Cup outing.