Last Update on: April 30th, 2020 at 06:12 pm
Rohit Sharma, an artist masquerading as a batsman; someone who has painted every ground in the world with his sumptuous and effortless strokeplay is celebrating his 33rd birthday.
Over the years, Rohit ‘Hitman’ Sharma has enthralled us fans courtesy his penchant for hundreds and daddy hundreds. So, on this prestigious occasion, I thought why not go down memory lane and revisit some of his finest innings [which does not necessarily mean hundreds and double hundreds] during the openers’ 13-year-old career.
Here’s a look at some of the memorable innings played by Rohit Sharma:
Also Read: Great Innings By Indian Batsmen That Ended In A Heartbreak
209 vs Australia, Bangalore 2013
I’m sure whenever Rohit Sharma to pen down his autobiography, he’ll spend a plethora of words while reminiscing the year 2013. It was a watershed year in the career of Rohit Sharma; a turning point that transformed him into a unfulfilled talent to a run-making juggernaut.
And, undoubtedly the 209 that he scored against Australia in Bangalore will find a special mention. It was the series-decider of the 7-match series and with Rohit being involved in an unfortunate run-out of Virat Kohli, India needed a big effort from the Mumbaikar in order to post a substantial total.
Sharma reached his hundred in the 37th over before proceeding to unleash his ‘HITMAN’ moniker at the expense of the Aussies. The next 13 overs saw a complete carnage as Rohit went on to become only the third cricketer in the history of ODI cricket to score a double-hundred. Rohit also went on to break the then-record of most sixes (16) in an innings held by Shane Watson.
India posted 6-383 and needless to say, they won the match and the series despite a brilliant hundred from James Faulkner.
137 vs Bangladesh, 2015 World Cup Q/F, Melbourne
This game will always be remembered for the controversy that ensued after Rohit Sharma was reprieved on 90 after he had holed out at the deep mid-wicket boundary off a Ruble Hossain full-toss, only to see Ian Gould adjudge it as no-ball.
Rohit went on to add a further 47 runs to his overall tally of 137 in what was a very mature inning from the ‘HITMAN’.
Rohit’s innings came at a time when India was desperate for someone to kick on and convert his start into a three-figure score after the defending champions had lost their top-3 at the score of 115. Rohit combined with Suresh Raina (65) to stitch a valuable 132-run-stand.
India eventually posted 6-302 and went on to win the game by a comfortable margin of 109 runs.
122 vs South Africa, 2019 World Cup, Southampton
Rohit was at the height of his powers during the 2019 World Cup. The Indian opener created a world record by scoring five hundred in a single edition of a World Cup.
Each hundred that Rohit made in that World Cup had a different charm of its own but if I have to choose one inning of his that stood out was his 122* against South Africa in India’s opening match on an overcast day in Southampton.
South Africa had only made 227 but with India losing Dhawan (8) and Virat Kohli (18) and the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris making optimum use of the conditions, the Men in Blue needed someone to infuse some calm amidst the chaos.
And, which is exactly what Rohit did. He rode his luck initially, but as soon as he got set, we began to see him painting Southampton with his sumptuous strokeplay. Rohit stayed unbeaten at 122 to guide India to what eventually turned out to be a comfortable six-wicket win.
150 vs South Africa, 1st ODI 2015, Kanpur
Rohit was once again at his imperious best when South Africa visited India in 2015. The first ODI was played at Kanpur where Sharma possibly played one of the greatest innings by an Indian in ODI cricket which eventually ended in heartbreak.
Chasing 5-303, Rohit Sharma’s whirlwind 150 off a mere 133 balls set the platform for an Indian win. Sharma’s innings glittered with 13 fours and 6 sixes as he flayed the South African attack to all corners of Green Park
By the time Rohit was dismissed, an Indian win looked a mere formality but Kagiso Rabada had different plans. The rookie fast bowler successfully defended 11 runs in the last over against MS Dhoni to spoil Rohit and India’s party.
264 vs Sri Lanka, Eden Gardens Kolkata, 2014
An innings that will forever be etched in the uppermost echelons of history books. 264. Freaking 264. In 2014, Rohit Sharma did the unthinkable as he became the first batsman in the history of the game to register a 250+ score in an ODI game.
And, the team that was on the receiving end as Sri Lanka. Sharma followed the same template as he had done during his 209 against Australia back in 2013. He practiced caution before unleashing the ‘HITMAN’ moniker at full throttle.
Sharma smashed the Lankan bowling attack to the tune of 264 and one must also not forget the selflessness that Robin Uthappa (16 off 16 balls) displayed by giving the maximums strike to Rohit.
Needless to say that India won the game by 153 runs but the headline that will always stay with fans from that match was ‘Rohit Sharma beat Sri Lanka by 13 runs’ after the island nation was bowled out for 251- 13 runs short of Rohit’s individual tally of 264.
118 vs Sri Lanka, 2nd T20I 2017, Indore
Three years later, Rohit was against at it against Sri Lanka, and this time it was in a T20I game in Indore as he became the joint-fastest century-maker in the shortest format of the game.
Rohit’s innings- 118 off 43 balls- included 12 fours and as many as 10 sixes- as he along with KL Rahul (89 off 49 balls) accumulated 165 runs for the opening stand in a mere 12.4 overs. India went on to post 5-260 in 20 overs; a total that they defended with ease as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 172 in 17.2 overs.
66 v Australia, CB series final 2008, Sydney
India vs Australia. CB Series 2008. 1st Final. Sydney. A young Rohit Sharma walks out to the crease to join Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar with India reeling at 3-87, during their run-chase of 240.
What followed next was the perfect example of India’s present and future as the master and his prodigy stitcher a match-winning stand of 155. Sachin scored an unbeaten 117 while Rohit, who showed great maturity posted a brilliant 66, giving the fans a sneak peek into what the future holds for them.
50* vs South Africa, 2007 World T20, Durban
He may have scored hundreds and double-hundreds but for me, Rohit Sharma’s best innings will always be the half-century that he scored against the likes of Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini on a seaming track in Durban in what was a must-win game for India in the 2007 T20 World Cup.
With India reeling at 3-33 and Yuvraj Singh not playing, Rohit Sharma stepped up big time and along with MS Dhoni to help the Men in Blue post 5-153 in 20 overs. India went on to defend the total, qualify for the semis, and eventually win the title. But, as I look back and think- Would it all have been possible had Rohit not scored that crucial half-century against South Africa? Probably not.
Honourable Mentions: 171 vs Australia, Perth (2016) , 133 vs Australia, Sydney (2019), 140 vs Pakistan, 2019 World Cup
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