Well, how about that for a grand-stand finish to the round-robin stages at the World Cup? India finished on top of the points table after their thumping win over Sri Lanka was followed by South Africa’s win in a thriller against Australia.
Rohit Sharma scored a record-breaking fifth century at the World Cup in Leeds against Sri Lanka to lead India to a comfortable seven-wicket win at Headingley.
Sharma reached his ton with a boundary off Kasun Rajitha to pass the mark set by Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara, who scored four hundreds at the 2015 tournament.
The Indian opener’s century took him to 647 runs in eight matches at ongoing tournament and he will head to Manchester for the first semi-final where India face off against New Zealand as the leading run-scorer.
Here are our ratings for India’s performances against Sri Lanka:
Batting: 111 (118 balls)
This was a crucial innings for Rahul in many ways. First off, he looked much less edgy and more fluent than his previous innings despite scoring a decent amount of runs. Secondly, the confidence he will gain from finishing with a three-figure score will be immense, as he has mentioned more than once that he needs to do better with converting his starts. After two half centuries, the relief on his face was palpable when he converted his third 50-plus score at the top of the order in this World Cup into a century. His strike rate issue crept in briefly as he went into a shell after the first powerplay but accelerated impressively later on.
Batting: 103 (94 balls)
Well, what can we say about this man’s form? As if to show he is getting better, Rohit played his most flawless knock of this World Cup (he was dropped or had a close shave in almost all of his previous innings) to create a new record. While Sachin Tendulkar needed 44 innings to score his six centuries at the World Cup, Rohit has got there in 16. SIXTEEN!
Instead of trying to put his form in words, here’s a stat that proves how good he has been in the last year for India.
Batting: 34* off 41 balls
A great day in the office for a captain is when your teammates do all the heavylifting for you. Kohli just had to walk in after Rohit and make sure there were no jitters in what proved to be a stroll in the park. He made sure he remained unbeaten (while playing some gorgeous cover drives) as India became only the second team to chase 250-plus at this World Cup. And at the end of the night, he can go to sleep knowing his team finished top of the table.
Batting: 4 off 4 balls
He just had to finish unbeaten at the end, walking out to bat with less than 15 runs required. But Pant failed to do that, after hitting one of the shots of the day down the ground for four. His ground-fielding weaknesses were also exposed on a couple of occasions; one of them could have nipped the Thirimanne-Mathews partnership in the bud.
Batting: 7* (4 balls)
Not a flamboyant performance by any means but Pandya did what was expected of him with the ball once again, providing the key breakthrough with the wicket of the in-form Avishka Fernando. His fielding was a mixed bag as he and Kuldeep Yadav combined to make a mess of a chance offered by Kusal Perera early on, but produced a superb catch at the death to dismiss Thisara Perera. He finished unbeaten with the bat to cap a solid outing.
Wicket-keeping: 3 catches, 1 stumping
Without having to bat, Dhoni’s rating is purely dependent on his wicket-keeping and he had a memorable outing behind the stumps. After some dodgy displays earlier in the tournament, Dhoni seemed to be at his best for the entirety of the Sri Lankan innings, diving around to the pacers and being supremely confident against the spinners.
Was barely involved in the game apart from a few chases in the outfield to merit a rating. Will he retain his place for the semi-finals or will Kohli be tempted bring back Kedar Jadhav? That’s impossible to call at the moment.
Has Jadeja earned himself a spot in the playing XI in Manchester? After the interesting week he has had off the field, Jadeja started off brilliantly in the field against Sri Lanka, producing some superb saves at point. He then struck in his first over to dismiss Kusal Mendis and from thereon bowled a metronomic spell that makes him a very useful asset on slow pitches. He was unlucky not have the wicket of Angelo Mathews against his name after Bhuvneshwar Kumar dropped a catch at long on. With Kuldeep struggling (more on that shortly), and Jadeja offering much more across departments, it’s fair to say he has earned the right to hold on to his place in the XI.
Conversely, Bhuvneshwar might have made the choice between him and Mohammed Shami a bit straightforward for the semi-final. While any bowler can have a bad day, Bhuvi had one of those days where he must have felt he existed in an alternate reality. Simply put, nothing worked for him: his line and lengths were atypically wayward, he dropped Mathews, and struggled to contain the boundaries in general. If India decide to play only two seamers, it is likely that Shami will win his place back in the XI.
Another game, another docile spell by Kuldeep Yadav. A lack of wickets alone would not have been a concern for Kohli from his pre-tournament ace-up-the-sleeve but it’s a general lack of bite in his bowling that is disheartening to see. When Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne looked for an outlet, they invariably went after Kuldeep and succeeded too. He salvaged his day somewhat by breaking a big partnership but with Jadeja’s performance and Chahal’s confidence (even when he gets hit for runs), Kuldeep might have a tough time holding on to his spot against the Kiwis.
See numbers above. As MS Dhoni once tweeted: Nothing to add.
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