While he had already etched his name among the greats of Indian cricket well before the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup held in England and Wales, Rohit Sharma elevated his status even higher with his unbelievable performances and consistency during cricket’s showpiece event.
The ‘Hitman’, as he is fondly known, finished the tournament as the leading run-scorer, with 648 runs, and broke numerous long-standing records at the event. And on this day, the 33-year-old smashed the fifth of his five centuries at the event, the most by any batsman at a single edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup, and equalled Sachin Tendulkar’s record of six for most all-time at the event.
Below, we go through each of Sharma’s five centuries at the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup:
122* vs South Africa
A splendid performance from the bowling unit saw them restrict South Africa to just 227/9 in their 2019 ICC World Cup opener against South Africa at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, England.
India got off to a poor start in their pursuit of the total, with Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli departing cheaply for just eight off 12 deliveries and 18 off 34 respectively. The onus fell on Sharma to guide India to victory and he did, with an unbeaten knock of 122 off 144 balls. The ‘Hitman’ forewent his aggressive approach and played a measured innings, which included 13 fours and two sixes, helping India reach the target with 15 balls to spare.
140 vs Pakistan
With a century and a 50 in India’s first two matches, Sharma was in stellar form ahead of the grudge match against Pakistan at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Sharma, batting with a new opening partner, KL Rahul, after Dhawan’s injury ruled him out of the World Cup, was a man on a mission, smashing the Pakistan attack all over the park. The Mumbai native was striking at more than a-run-a-ball right from the get-go and brought up his 24th ODI century in just 85 balls. He added another 40 runs to his score and looked in prime form to score his fourth double-hundred, but a misjudged scoop went straight to short fine leg, ending a special knock.
India posted a massive 336 on the back of Sharma’s brilliant knock and won the rain-affected contest by 89 runs.
102 vs England
In what was perceived to be a preview of the final, India locked horns against hosts England at Edgbaston in a highly-anticipated encounter between the two sides. Opener Jonny Bairstow’s century and quickfire half-centuries from Jason Roy and Ben Stokes helped England set a massive target of 338.
In reply, India got off to a disastrous start, as opener KL Rahul was dismissed for a duck with just eight on the scoreboard. Sharma, however, did not panic and continued his excellent form and forged a 140-run partnership with skipper Virat Kohli.
Post the captain’s departure, Sharma kicked into overdrive and brought up his third ton at the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in the 35th over. However, just a couple of overs later, the opener mistimed his shot on a well-disguised slower ball and nicked it straight into the hands of wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, departing for 102 off 108 balls. Rohit’s dismissal ended India’s hopes of a victory and England registered a fairly comfortable 31-run win over India.
104 vs Bangladesh
Following the defeat against England, India were aiming for a strong response against Bangladesh at the same venue as their match against the hosts. After winning the toss and electing to bat, Sharma and Rahul did just that.
The openers forged an impressive 180-run partnership for the opening wicket, of which Sharma scored 104 off 92 balls. The Hitman smashed seven fours and five sixes before departing, setting the platform for India to put a massive total on the scoreboard. Some brilliant bowling though helped Bangladesh restrict India to 314, however, India’s bowling line-up did just enough to ensure victory by 28 runs.
103 vs Sri Lanka
In a repeat of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup final, India faced Sri Lanka in their final league stage match. The Lankans, already eliminated from contention for a spot in the semi-finals, were playing for pride, and after a rocky start to their innings, they managed to post 264 on the board owing to a century from all-rounder Angelo Matthews.
The Indian batting line-up though, made short work of the target, as Sharma and Rahul both smashed centuries to guide India to another easy victory. The duo forged a 189-run partnership -- biggest by an Indian pair for the opening wicket at the ICC Cricket World Cup -- beating their own record from the previous match. Sharma bludgeoned the hapless Lankan bowling attack for 14 fours and two sixes before being dismissed for 103 off 94 balls.
Sharma’s century made him the first man to score five centuries at a single ICC Cricket World Cup, breaking Kumar Sangakkara’s record of four from the previous edition. Sharma also won his fourth Man of the Match award, joint-most in a single edition alongside Yuvraj Singh, who won four at the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar