Centuries from skipper Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill powered India to a 3-0 series sweep of New Zealand and put the team on top of the One-Day International rankings on Tuesday.
The hosts hammered the Kiwis by 90 runs in the third match in Indore after Rohit (101) and Gill (112) put on 212 for the opening wicket to guide the hosts to 385/9 in Indore.
In reply, Devon Conway’s 138 was in vain as India bowled out New Zealand for 295 in 41.2 overs for their second successive whitewash.
The victory took India to the top of the ODI rankings ahead of World Cup holders England and New Zealand who slip from second to fourth behind Australia.
Qualification for the World Cup in India later in the year is unaffected, however, as the Kiwis have already qualified.
But Rohit, who recorded his first ODI century since January 2020, and Gill stood out in the highest opening partnership by any team against the Kiwis in the 50-over format, surpassing the 201-run stand of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir in 2009.
“In the last six games we’ve done most things right in ODIs,” said Rohit, whose side beat Sri Lanka in three matches before this. “We’re consistent in our approach with the bat and ball.”
Talking about Gill, who registered scores of 208, 40* and 112 in the series, Rohit said he was impressed by the youngster’s maturity.
“The way he was batting in the series I don’t think much needs to be told. He understands his game, he paces his innings well and that is what we want, to go big and deep into the game,” said Rohit.
“No matter how flat the pitch is, a double hundred isn’t easy and that shows. In that game (first ODI) the next best score was 34, which shows that he is calculative. He’s got great maturity.”
The skipper seemed a bit miffed when asked how he felt scoring a one-day century after nearly three years.
“Regarding the first hundred in three years, I’ve played only 12 (17) ODIs in three years. Three years sounds a lot,” Rohit told reporters after the match.
“You guys should know what’s happening. I know that it was shown on broadcast but kabhi kabhi woh cheez bhi dhyan dena chahiye, broadcaster ko bhi sahi cheez dikhana chahiye (the broadcasters should give the correct picture),” he added.
“As I said, there were no matches in 2020. Everyone was sitting at home because of COVID-19. We hardly played ODIs, I was injured so I played two Tests during that time, so you have to put all of that in perspective. We were playing T20 cricket last year. And in T20 cricket, there’s no better batsman than Suryakumar Yadav at the moment. He has hit two hundreds and I don’t think anyone else has.”
Fast bowler Shardul Thakur was named player of the match for his three wickets and crucial 25 runs batting down the order.
“Shardul has been doing it for a while,” said Rohit. “People call him magician in the squad and he came and delivered.
“He has got the knack of taking wickets at the crucial time for us. We have seen it not just in ODI cricket but also in Tests. He’s very critical to us, and where we stand as a team. So, I just hope he keeps putting up performances like this and it will only do good to the team and give him confidence that he can come and take wickets.
“This guy is very smart, he has played a lot of domestic cricket and understands what needs to be done. In this format, you need to use your skills and he (Shardul) definitely has them. He bowled a good knuckle ball to Tom Latham today, nicely planned in the middle by Virat, Hardik, and Shardul.”
Rohit also went on to share an update on Jasprit Bumrah’s injury. India’s premier fast bowler has been absent from international cricket for a while and the skipper is hopeful he makes a comeback soon.
“Not too sure about Bumrah, I am hoping he plays next (last) two Tests (against Australia), we don’t want to take any risks with him as back injuries are always critical. We have a lot of cricket coming back after that also,” said Rohit.
“We are in constant touch with physios and doctors in NCA. The medical team will give him as much time as he wants.”
Inputs from AFP. Quotes courtesy PTI. Watch Rohit Sharma’s PC here.