Rohit Sharma turned out to be the new superstar of Indian Cricket after scoring a double century in the 7th and final ODI at Bangalore today. Rohit Sharma is only the third batsman to achieve this rare feat of scoring a double hundred in ODI history and incidentally, the other two are also from India – Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. Rohit Sharma’s 209 is the second highest individual score in ODI history after Sehwag’s 219.
There was little doubt about India’s winning chances after Rohit’s double century had powered them to an almighty total of 383 for 6 in 50 overs after being put into bat first by George Bailey. The Aussies though made India huff and puff for the victory with three of its players coming up with stunning blinders. Glenn Maxwell started the Aussie fightback with a scintillating half century in 18 balls, the fastest ever by an Aussie and missing out in beating Sanath Jayasuriya’s world record by two balls.
Maxwell’s efforts were cut short to 60 from 22 balls with 3 fours and 7 sixes. After his exit, Shane Watson, who came down the order following a hamstring injury, assaulted the Indian attack with his 49 from 22 balls which included half a dozen sixes. Watson was unlucky to get caught at backward point when his edged square cut ricocheted off MS Dhoni’s gloves and knee. Just when India were starting to breathe easy with the Aussies at 211 for 8 in 30.1 overs, Mohali hero James Faulkner ensured that the fight was still on as far as the visitors were concerned.
Faulkner with able support from the capable Clint McKay went onto score a maiden ODI century in 57 balls. The all-rounder scared the Indians as the winning equation was steadily coming within the reach of the Aussies. But the hosts had to take just two more wickets and eventually, Faulkner ran out of luck. The 23-year-old finished with 116 from 73 balls with 11 fours and half a dozen sixes. Australia were bowled out for 326 in 45.1 overs to go down fighting by 57 runs.
R Ashwin bowled really well for his 2 for 51 in 10 along with Mohammad Shami who took 3 for 52 in 8.1 overs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar got away with 0 for 47 in 8 overs while a half fit Ravindra Jadeja took three wickets but for 73 runs. R Vinay Kumar suffered humiliation recording the most expensive figures by an Indian bowler with his 9-0-102-1!
Earlier, India piled up 383 for 6 with Rohit Sharma scoring an epic 209 from 158 balls with 12 fours and 16 sixes! Rohit’s two partnerships first with Shikhar Dhawan (60 from 57 balls with 9 fours) and MS Dhoni (62 from 38 balls with 7 fours and 2 sixes) scripted the Indian innings. With Dhawan, Rohit had an opening stand of 112 in 19 overs and with Dhoni, finished the innings with a hurricane stand of 167 runs in just 15.4 overs!
Rohit Sharma never looked like getting to a 200 until the final few overs. He started off modestly but went berserk especially after running out the crowd’s darling Virat Kohli for a duck. Rohit was severe on the Aussie spinners which helped India maintain the tempo despite losing the three key wickets of Kohli, Raina and Yuvraj in the middle overs. In the final overs, Rohit changed his gears like anything to clear the boundary ropes with utmost east along with Skipper MS Dhoni.
India thanks to Rohit’s herculean efforts won the 7-match series 3-2. Rohit Sharma bagged not only the Man of the Match award but also the Player of the Series.