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11-Oct-2023 15:47:00 GMT
India vs Afghanistan - 9th Match, Delhi

Rohit record ton races India to win over Afghanistan

India 273 for 2 (Rohit 131, Virat 55*, Rashid 2-57) beat Afghanistan 272 for 8 (Shahidi 80, Omarzai 62, Bumrah 4-39) by eight wickets

New Delhi: Captain Rohit Sharma's scintillating century sprinted India to an emphatic eight-wicket World Cup defeat of Afghanistan in Delhi.

Rohit crunched a sparkling 131 from 84 balls before India reached their target of 273 with 15 overs to spare.

Hashmatullah Shahidi made 80 to put Afghanistan on course for a more challenging target, but Jasprit Bumrah's 4-39 had them end on 272-8.

It is a second defeat in two games for Afghanistan, while India have two wins.

The hosts join New Zealand and Pakistan in having a perfect record after two games and now play their fierce rivals Pakistan in the most anticipated match of the tournament in Ahmedabad on Saturday.

Afghanistan stay in Delhi to meet defending champions England on Sunday.

Rohit was the leading runscorer at the last World Cup in 2019, but missed out on a score in India's opening win over Australia.

This, though, was an awesome and record-breaking knock that bulldozed a stunned Afghanistan attack.

His seventh World Cup ton is a record, beating the six of India legend Sachin Tendulkar.

In reaching three figures from 63 balls he scored the fastest hundred by an Indian at a World Cup, beating a famous 72-ball effort by Kapil Dev at Tunbridge Wells in 1983. Rohit's third six was his 554th in all international cricket, going past the previous best of West Indies' Chris Gayle.

It was an innings effortless in its elegance, savage in its clean-hitting. When Afghanistan dropped short, Rohit snapped into pull shots. When they were too full, he drove through or over the off side. In a century opening stand, Ishan Kishan contributed just 14.

When Kishan offered a leading edge on 47, it ended the partnership of 156, allowing Virat Kohli to add another 49 with Rohit.

Rohit eventually fell to his first ugly stroke, a wild sweep at Rashid Khan, but by then only 68 were needed.

Kohli ended on 55 not out to follow his 85 against Australia, India looking ominous to every other team in the tournament.

Afghanistan were woefully short of their best in a one-sided defeat by Bangladesh but here showed signs they can compete as the tournament progresses.

Skipper Hashmatullah added 121 for the fourth wicket with Azmatullah Omarzai. Left-hander Hashmatuallh played deft glances to third man, Azmatullah belted the ball down the ground.

With Afghanistan 184-3 in the 35th over, India were showing signs of desperation before Azmatullah was bowled by a Hardik Pandya slower ball for 62.

The innings stalled and wickets fell regularly, most crucially when Hashmatullah was leg before sweeping the left-arm wrist spin of Kuldeep Yadav. With Bumrah at his potent best, Afghanistan could add only 83 in the final 15 overs.

The total was never likely to challenge India, especially as the dew under the floodlights made batting easier.

Still, almost no target could have defended given the brilliant display of Rohit. Afghanistan curiously held back star leg-spinner Rashid until the 15th over, by which time most of the damage had been done.

In truth, nothing was going to stop the remarkable Rohit.

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