Rohit Sharma was hailed on Saturday as a “fantastic” captain for leading India to a perfect eight wins from eight matches and a place in the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup semi-finals.

India play their last league match against the Netherlands in Bengaluru on Sunday before they move on to the semi-finals.

The hosts have remained unbeaten with impressive wins over arch-rivals Pakistan, defending champions England and most recently South Africa.

The 36-year-old Rohit, who may be in his last World Cup alongside 35-year-old Virat Kohli, has scored 442 runs including one century at a strike-rate of 122.77.

“Rohit has certainly been a leader without a doubt,” coach Rahul Dravid said on Saturday.

“He’s led by example both on and off the field. There have been some games where it could have been tricky for us, but the fact that he’s been able to get us to those kinds of starts has literally cracked open the game.”

Dravid added: “He’s been fantastic in his batting, the leadership that he’s shown and taking on the game, in leading from the front.”

Rohit’s 131 against Afghanistan led the way and he followed it up with an 86 in the crushing win over Pakistan. The captain’s 87 remained key in a low-scoring game against England.

Rohit took over the captaincy from Kohli, who was removed from the job in 2021 without a world title under his leadership belt.

India have travelled an exhausting 12,000km on their World Cup journey and Dravid said the team has played good cricket across all venues.

‘Represented India fantastically’

“We’ve travelled the length and breadth of this country and played in eight venues. This is our ninth,” said Dravid.

“I think what this team has done really well is it has represented India fantastically. It’s played a really good brand of cricket.

“We know we have nine boxes to tick, and we’ve ticked eight.”

The cricket-mad nation of 1.4 billion people has been rooting for the hosts to end their world title drought stretching back to the 2013 Champions Trophy. India last won the World Cup at home in 2011.

The Netherlands have made an impact in the 10-team tournament after they stunned a high-flying South Africa. They also beat Bangladesh.

“I think the performances of teams like the Netherlands certainly go a long way in boosting the morale of a lot of the other associate nations. They can certainly compete, they’ve got some very good players,” said Dravid.

“And it’s quite inspiring to see that in spite of the challenges they face they’re able to compete at this level to play at this level.”

Asked to weigh on the Angelo Mathews “timed out” dismissal – a first ever in the 146-year history of international cricket – Dravid said there were no winners.

“You might not do it yourself. We might not do it, but you can’t blame somebody for following it because you put that in place and you have to give scope for that level of understanding of somebody,” said Dravid.

“Whether you choose to do it or not is completely your decision.”

Mathews branded Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan as “disgraceful” after he was adjudged to be out when he failed to take strike within the two-minute time limit when he came out to bat in New Delhi.

Shakib refused to withdraw the appeal.