Rohit Sharma’s form good news for India, spells trouble for New Zealand

Rohit Sharma scored 147 for India against New Zealand in the third ODI. It augurs well for the opener who has recovered from injury and off-form successfully

india vs new zealand 2017 Updated: Oct 29, 2017 20:09 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Hindustan Times, Kanpur
India vs New Zealand,Rohit Sharma,Indian cricket team
Rohit Sharma celebrates after scoring a century during India vs New Zealand third ODI on Sunday.(AP)

It was an almost panic situation for India after they lost the series opener to New Zealand in Mumbai last week, and murmurs started for some overhauling in view of the 2019 World Cup. (India vs New Zealand, 3rd ODI - HIGHLIGHTS)

Even though Virat Kohli scored a century in that game, India lost by six wickets with New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Latham and Ross Taylor hammering the Indian bowlers all around the Wankhede Stadium to ensure the team’s fascinating start to the short but important series.(India vs New Zealand, 3rd ODI - SCORECARD)

Certainly, the failure of the top order denied India a big total, as openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan could score 20 and 9 runs, respectively. Rohit failed in the second match too, scoring 7 although India chased down 230 in Pune. Rohit’s failure in the two games became a big worry for the side.

On Sunday, Rohit not only regained his form, he also gave skipper Kohli and Co a sense of confidence, which is must for any side.

READ | Rohit Sharma slams 15th ton, puts India on top in deciding ODI vs New Zealand

Rohit, one of the most stylish batsmen in an Indian side that has the likes of Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, didn’t disappoint his legion of fans on a placid Green Park track on Sunday. He struck his 15th one-day hundred, and, in the process, announced that his ability to strike at will even after nearly 10 years at the international level had not diminished.

Rohit’s form in the first six years of international cricket was patchy, but in 2013, a change in his batting order, turned his fortune around. After being promoted to open the innings in ODIs, Rohit started scoring big, piling runs in the Champions Trophy and then scoring two centuries against Australia, including a 209 --- only a third double-century in ODI cricket.

READ | Virat Kohli slams 32nd ton, reaches 9000 ODI runs in record time

Before coming to Kanpur for the third and deciding match of the series on Sunday, Rohit knew what was expected of him --- give the Indian innings a good start. And he did it in style, hammering a 138-ball 147 with the help of 18 boundaries and two sixes. His knock mesmerised the fans, who kept rooting for him even when captain Kohli was going great guns at the other end.

Showing no sign of urgency, the man with strong wrists found the gaps and kept New Zealand pacers Trent Boult and Tim Southee guessing. While Boult kept the ball at good length, Southee probed Rohit outside the off stump, but they couldn’t stop the opener from striking the ball at will.

Rohit, who scored two centuries in his first two Test innings in his career, slammed two sixes off medium pacer Adam Milne --- one each at the start and end of his innings.

With the three-match Twenty20 home series against New Zealand beginning later this week, Rohit is expected to be the centre of attraction for fans as well as for Kane Williamson and Co, as stopping him from scoring runs could well be an impossible task

First Published: Oct 29, 2017 20:08 IST