ICC World Cup: Rohit's knock stands out as England restricts India to 229/9
England were finally able to put together an effort worthy of defending champions, excelling both with the ball and in the field
Rohit Sharma produced a special effort on a challenging pitch where the majority of Indian batters struggled, as the hosts were restricted to 229 for nine by England in their World Cup game in Lucknow on Sunday.
With India getting to bat first for the first time in the tournament, the batters got a good opportunity to set the target. It was, however, only Rohit (87 off 101) and Suryakumar Yadav (49 off 47) who found a way to bat on a two-paced wicket while the others perished trying to force the pace.
The 91-run partnership between Rohit and K L Rahul (39 off 58) stabilised the innings after India found themselves at 40 for three in the 12th over.
Rohit also added 33 valuable runs with Suryakumar but the skipper's fall led to a clutch of wickets. In his second game of the competition, Suryakumar then batted around the tail to get some much needed runs in the death overs.
England were finally able to put together an effort worthy of defending champions, excelling both with the ball and in the field.
Chris Woakes (2/33) impressed in his seven-over spell with the new ball while leggie Adil Rashid (2/35) continued to collect wickets in the middle overs. David Willey (3/45) too was effective.
Application was going to be the key on the relaid red soil pitch here and Rohit put up a masterclass.
After consuming six dot balls in the first over of the game bowled by Willey, the India skipper released the pressure by smashing the left-arm pacer for a couple of sixes and a four in his following over.
Rohit used the feet both against the pacers and spinners to manufacture the boundaries but the likes of Virat Kohli (0 off 9 balls) and Shreyas Iyer (4 off 16) departed while searching for that pressure release shot.
It was a rare duck for Kohli, who tried to step out like Rohit only to mistime his shot to Ben Stokes at mid-off.
Shreyas was sent back by Woakes off a perfectly placed short of length ball that got big on the India number four. Clearly, Shreyas needs to fight the demon in his head to improve his short ball play.
Woakes had struggled for accuracy thus far in World Cup but delivered on Sunday.
With three batters dismissed for 40, the onus was on Rohit to take the innings forward and he did with a lot of class.
After stepping out the fast bowlers, Rohit displayed his artistry against the spin trio of Rashid, Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali.
He swept Rashid, reverse-swept Livingstone and came down the track to loft Moeen over mid-off for three of the 10 fours he struck. His pick-up shot off Mark Wood that went all the way was also sublime.
In Hardik Pandya's absence, India fielded five bowlers again but R. Ashwin remained out of the playing eleven.