India are off to a terrific start in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, with four wins on the trot. India, hosting the 50-over World Cup for the first time after winning it in 2011, are relishing playing in home conditions. Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah are currently leading the run-scoring and wicket-taking list, leading India’s charge for a third ODI World Cup title. Virat Kohli and KL Rahul have been impressive with the bat, while Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav are doing a lot of damage with their spin. There have been some other great individual performances from the 2011 champions, but who has been the best player so far in the tournament? Although it is a close call, skipper Rohit Sharma’s impactful contribution deserves the plaudits.
Rohit Sharma, who was out for a duck in the opening match against Australia, has been producing quickfire starts and leading India’s run chases. In four matches, Rohit has scored 265 runs at an average of 66.25 but most importantly, his strike rate of 137.31 has eased the pressure off the middle order significantly.
Team India has batted second in all four matches so far, with their highest chase being 273 against Bangladesh and the lowest being 192 against Pakistan. Chasing these tricky totals, Rohit Sharma’s explosive starts are putting the side in a dominant position and the field-restricted overs are being utilised to the best effect possible.
The 35-year-old batter scored his 31st ODI century against Afghanistan in Delhi. Chasing 273 runs, Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan added a 156-run opening stand in only 18.4 overs. Rohit was dismissed for 131 off 84 balls, as India ended up chasing the target with 15 overs to spare.
He chipped in with a similar contribution against Pakistan with India needing 192 runs to win. Once again, India minted 79 runs in the powerplay and took the opponents out of the equation. Rohit’s 86 off 63 balls included six fours and six sixes. Despite Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul taking their time to finish the match, India won with 19.3 overs to spare.
Although Rohit didn’t get a half-century against Bangladesh, his 40-ball 48 once again produced a solid foundation.
The Indian captain also broke two major ODI records, ones that will take a lot of time to take over. In the match against Afghanistan, Rohit Sharma surpassed Chris Gayle as the batter with the most sixes in international cricket history. The century was also his seventh in World Cup cricket, overtaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record of six centuries.
Jasprit Bumrah is another close contender, who is taking wickets regularly and bowling economical spells. Bumrah has picked up 10 wickets in four matches at a splendid economy of 3.62, the best for any bowler in the tournament (minimum 15 overs).
Bumrah picked up four wickets against Afghanistan, his best performance of the tournament so far. The fast bowler also produced a match-winning spell of 2/19 in seven overs against Pakistan, earning him the Player of the Match award.
India missed his expertise in locking down the batters when he was ruled out for nearly a year due to a back injury. Bumrah couldn’t take part in the Asia Cup last year and the T20 World Cup in Australia, where India failed to go all the way. However, since his return, the bowling attack once again looks lethal as his partnership with Mohammed Siraj is doing a lot of damage in the early overs.
Virat Kohli too is right there among the best performers in the tournament. The 35-year-old has scored one century and two half-centuries, accumulating 259 runs in four matches at an average of 129.50.
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