Rohit Sharma was an elated captain as India outclassed Pakistan by nine wickets in their second Super Four clash at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday (September 23).
Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav had reduced Pakistan to 58/3 before Sarfraz Ahmed (44) and Shoaib Malik (78) bailed their team out of trouble with a 107-run partnership. Speedster Jasprit Bumrah (2/29) bowled magnificently in the death-overs as Pakistan managed to put on 237/7 in their stipulated 50 overs.
India’s reply was stellar. Rohit (111*) and Shikhar Dhawan (114) hit centuries and the Men in Blue cantered to victory in just 39.3 overs.
“All of the guys showed great amount of character and it was important. We spoke about it that whatever performances we have had in the past, we have to leave it behind, it is a fresh day and we need to give it all and that is exactly what the guys did,” Rohit quoted as saying by ICC after the match.
“It was challenging conditions, we knew it was going to be tough to come out and repeat the performance [of the earlier fixture], but again I don't want to take any credit from all the 11 players who were out on the park today,” he added.
During the record-breaking 210-run opening stand, Rohit and Dhawan created a number of milestones. While Sharma completed 7000 ODI runs during this herculean partnership, Shikhar became the third fastest batsman (108 innings) to notch up his 15th ODI ton.
“With Shikhar, I don't need to speak much. It is important to just let him be himself, and we have batted enough now to understand each other's games. We all know how important the first 10 overs are and not losing wickets upfront puts us in the driving seat,” Rohit asserted.
Superb as the Indian openers were, India’s win wouldn’t have been possible without the herculean effort of their bowlers.
Praising his bowlers, Sharma said: “He (Bumrah) has matured as a bowler. He understands his bowling, and it is very important for any individual to understand his game, and he understands it very well. He understands the fields he needs to set and on a wicket like this, you need to keep it clever, you need to keep it tight and that is exactly what happened.”
"Even Bhuvneshwar Kumar to start with, he kept the pressure on the Pakistani batsmen and it was important to keep the pressure on at all times. We never wanted to let them off the hook, it was important to keep it a bit tight and again, our spinners have been magnificent throughout the tournament, they kept taking wickets in the middle and when you keep doing that, that's the amount of runs you are going to chase,” he concluded.