Rohit Sharma has always been a talented player since his early days in international cricket. But his career really took off when he started opening for India since the 2013 edition of the ICC Champions Trophy. He has been a beast in the ODI format since then and in 2019 he took his performance a notch higher. He finished as the highest run-getter in the ICC World Cup in England and finished the year as the top run-getter (1490 runs at 57.30) as well. That said, let's take a look at three of the best batting performances in ODIs by Rohit Sharma.
264 vs Sri Lanka (Kolkata | Nov 2014)
This was the second one of Rohit Sharma's three ODI double tons. Moreover, this is also the highest individual score in ODIs till date and the venue couldn't have been better than the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The team at the receiving end was Sri Lanka and they were completely mauled by Rohit's magnificent knock.
He just kept going on and on. He accelerated even more after completing each of his 50-run blocks during his marathon knock of 264. Each 50-run block was quicker than the previous one. So more the time he spent at the crease, more dangerous he became. Rohit's knock consisted of a record 33 fours and nine sixes. It looked like he would remain unbeaten but he was out caught on the final delivery of India's innings. Rohit's fascinating effort powered India to a massive total of 404/5. Sri Lanka in response were bowled out for a total of 251 runs.
141* vs Australia (Jaipur | Oct 2013)
This was probably the first innings when we saw Rohit Sharma truly coming of age as a batsman. It was the second ODI of the series between India and Australia and the visitors had posted a massive total of 359/6 while batting first. It looked like a very difficult chase, India needed contributions from all of their batters. But nobody had imagined what transpired after that.
India chased the target down with nine wickets and 39 deliveries to spare. Virat Kohli was sensational as he walked out at number three and smashed a hundred off just 52 deliveries, Shikhar Dhawan had played his part with a stroke-filled knock of 95 as well. But it was Rohit Sharma who provided the stability from the other end to both of these batsmen. He kept playing the second fiddle to both of them and held one end together. Just when the target seemed to be in close proximity, he launched the attack on the opposition as well. Rohit accelerates a lot after he reached his century and finally remained unbeaten on a score of 141 off just 123 deliveries.
122* vs South Africa (Southampton | June 2019)
This may not have been an explosive knock like Rohit's most other performances but it was surely a special one considering how he shunned his natural instincts to guide India to victory. This was their opening encounter of the 2019 edition of the ICC World Cup and hence, the pressure was a little higher than the regular matches. Although India were chasing a target of only 228 runs against South Africa, a good opening spell by the South African pacers had sent both Kohli and Dhawan back to the pavilion by the 15th over. India had put on only 54 runs on the board as well. All eyes were on Rohit after that and he didn't disappoint.
The 32-year-old batsman weathered the initial storm and kept building the chase for India. Vital contributions from KL Rahul (26) and MS Dhoni (34) helped Rohit to form 85 and 74-run stands with them for the third and fourth wickets respectively. Rohit was the major contributor in both of those partnerships as he kept picking the gaps consistently with risk-free shots. By the time Dhoni departed, India were only 15 runs shy off the target. Rohit didn't face any further hiccups as he guided India home comfortably. He remained unbeaten on 122 off 144 deliveries and was rightly adjudged the Player of the Match as well.
Feature image courtesy: AFP/ MANJUNATH KIRAN