Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul blasted tons as India hammered Sri Lanka by seven wickets in Leeds in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 clash. (Image credit: Getty Images)
Another day, another century and another historic record. Rohit Sharma is making the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 into a record-breaking fest. Rohit created history by breaking Kumar Sangakkara’s tally of four centuries in one edition by blasting his fifth in the 2019 tournament alone. The Mumbai batsman also equalled Sachin Tendulkar’s tally of six World Cup tons. While Tendulkar took 19 years, Rohit took just 16 innings to achieve the feat. Rohit’s century, combined with KL Rahul’s second century and their partnership of 189 gave India a thumping seven-wicket win against Sri Lanka in Leeds on Saturday.
Rohit and Rahul’s clinical effort meant Angelo Mathews’ third ODI century, which was achieved after Sri Lanka were reduced to 55/4 went in vain. For the third time, Mathews’ ton against India went in vain, having earlier lost when he smashed tons in Ranchi and Mohali in 2014 and 2017 respectively. The target of 265 was made probable only because of Mathews and his partnership with Lahiru Thirimanne after Sri Lanka chose to bat and their top order was blown away by some wonderful bowling from Jasprit Bumrah.
Bumrah accounted for Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera while Avishka Fernando, who had starred in the games against England and West Indies, was dismissed by Hardik Pandya for 20 while Kusal Mendis was stumped by MS Dhoni off Ravindra Jadeja, who was playing his first game today. Mathews and Thirimanne steadied the ship and both laid the base for a revival. Both batsmen notched up their fifties and the partnership went past 100.
Mathews was dropped on 61 by Bhuvneshwar Kumar off Ravindra Jadeja but the partnership ended when Kuldeep Yadav sent back Thirimanne for 53. Mathews raised his game and targeted Jadeja by hammering him for two boundaries and a six. Mathews notched up his century by upper-cutting Hardik Pandya for a boundary. India bowled well in the death overs but Sri Lanka had staged a good recovery to 264/7.
In response, Rohit and Rahul started off in a blaze of glory and the partnership went past fifty in just the seventh over. Both batsmen never looked uncomfortable and they stroked boundaries at will. Rohit blasted two sixes off Dhananjaya de Silva and things looked ominous for Sri Lanka. Rahul went past his fifty by hammering two fours and a six off de Silva and when Rohit thumped Kasun Rajitha for a boundary, he created history.
Rohit smashed his 27th century but it was his fifth in this single edition of the World Cup. His fifth ton was a new world record and it broke the previous record held by Kumar Sangakkara in which he blasted four consecutive centuries. Rohit’s century took him past Shakib Al Hasan for most runs in the 2019 edition of the tournament and it also put him closer to Sachin Tendulkar’s overall tally of runs, which is 673 in the 2003 edition in South Africa. However, for the third straight match, Rohit fell immediately after a ton.
Rahul joined in the fun and stroked his second century while Virat Kohli showed his class with some wonderful boundaries. The margin of victory suggests India are hot favorites to win the title and it will be possible due to the exploits of Rohit at the top.