Manchester: Openers, led by vice-captain, Rohit Sharma, gave India a dream start and threw down the gauntlet to Pakistan in their heavyweight World Cup clash here on Sunday.
Rohit led the charge as he brought up his 50 in just 34 deliveries with the help of six fours and two sixes.
Opening the batting for the first time with K.L. Rahul in the absence of injured Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit allowed his partner to settle down and played the aggressor’s role from the get-go.
The 32-year old was lucky to survive a run out chance in the 11th over when a hesitation between him and Rahul saw Rohit way out of his crease, but Shadab Khan did superbly well to pick up the ball one-hand but got the direction of the throw wrong.
In the next over, Rohit rubbed salt into his wound by tonking the spinner for a four and a six off consecutive deliveries to bring up his half century.
Rahul, who got his fifty with a six off Shoaib Malik, looked in good touch once he saw off the initial phase. It was always going to be a daunting task for the 27-year old Karnataka batsman to fill the void of Dhawan who is a pillar for Virat Kohli’s side at the top.
Rahul’s innings was laced with three fours and two sixes before the right-hander spooned a Wahab Riaz fullish delivery to Babar Azam at covers. The pair added 136 runs for the opening wicket.
At the other end, there was no stopping Rohit as he continued his rich vein of form in the competition.
He joined an elite list of cricketers, becoming only the fourth player to aggregate 2,000 runs in One-Day Internationals against Australia in India’s last game after their tie against New Zealand was washed off.
Rohit, along with Sachin Tendulkar, Sir Viv Richards and Desmond Haynes complete the list.
The Mumbai batsman notched up the mark in his 37th innings against Australia — the fastest to do so, and did so in style with a square drive to Glenn Maxwell for a four.
Tendulkar took 51 innings to reach the milestone while Haynes and Richards took 59 and 45 innings respectively.