Rohit Sharma is not a precocious talent for no reason. His unbeaten innings of 51 against Perth Scorchers showed the glimpse of his rare batting endowment. Sarang Bhalerao assesses Rohit’s career in the T20 format.
Rohit Sharma made his mark in the Twenty20 format with a blistering century off 45 balls against Gujarat in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament at the Cricket Club of India in 2007. That century was pivotal in Rohit’s selection in the Indian team for the inaugural World T20 competition in 2007. India won and the rest, as they say, is history.
The rise of Rohit Sharma coincided with the building of the brand called the Indian Premier League (IPL). He was roped in by the Deccan Chargers for whom he was the premier batsman. Sharma was part of the victorious Deccan side that lifted the IPL 2009 title in South Africa.
Let us look at the breakup of Rohit’s runs for Deccan Chargers in the IPL:
For the Deccan Chargers, Rohit has averaged 30 runs per innings at a strike rate of 131.46. His highest score for the Chargers was an unbeaten 76 off 42 deliveries against Kings XI Punjab at Hyderabad.
Sharma was a lynchpin of the batting department and hit eight half-centuries for Chargers.
Rohit for Mumbai Indians
Rohit has been part of Mumbai Indians since IPL 2011. He has played 52 games and has captained the franchise to a victory in IPL 2013. He has scored 1,343 runs for Mumbai in the IPL.
Sharma’s highest score for the franchise is the monumental 109 not out against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens in IPL 2012. The innings was a masterpiece since it was scored on a track that was turning square against the likes of Sunil Narine, Brett Lee and Shakib Al Hasan.
He has been one of their best finishers along with Kieron Pollard. In IPL 2012, Rohit guided Mumbai to a famous win off the last ball against erstwhile franchise Deccan Chargers at Vishakhapatnam. Needing four to win off the final ball, Rohit smashed Dan Christian for a six over long-on to pull off an incredible heist.
Here’s the list of half-centuries by Rohit Sharma:
|2||76*||42||Kings XI Punjab||Hyderabad||2008|
|3||57||42||Royal Challengers Bangalore||Bangalore||2008|
|4||50||27||Royal Challengers Bangalore||Hyderabad||2008|
|5||52||30||Royal Challengers Bangalore||Cape Town||2009|
|7||51||46||Royal Challengers Bangalore||Nagpur||2010|
|8||68*||38||Kings XI Punjab||Dharamsala||2010|
|9||87||48||Chennai Super Kings||Mumbai||2011|
|13||50||30||Kings XI Punjab||Mohali||2012|
|14||60||46||Chennai Super Kings||Mumbai||2012|
|16||62*||32||Pune Warriors India||Mumbai||2013|
|18||79*||39||Kings XI Punjab||Mumbai||2013|
*Till 2010, Rohit was part of Deccan Chargers and since then he has been with Mumbai Indians
Rohit’s lone century
|1||109*||60||Kolkata Knight Riders||Kolkata||2012|
Rohit in the Champions League Twenty 20 (CLT20)
In the 2009 CLT20, Rohit played for Deccan Chargers. In the 2012 and the current edition, he is part of the Mumbai franchise.
Here is the breakup of Rohit’s runs in CLT20:
Rohit scored his first fifty of the Champions League in 2013 against Perth Scorchers in a do-or-die game for Mumbai. His effort ensured that Mumbai Indians reached the semi-final of the competition. They will face Trinidad and Tobago at New Delhi on October 4, 2013.
Rohit Sharma as a T20 batsman for India:
Rohit has had moderate success for India in T20 cricket. He was part of 2007 World Cup winning team and has been in and out of the team because of his inconsistent form. He opened in the 2009 World Cup before moving to his customary middle-order position.
His highest of 79 not out came against Australia in the 2010 World Cup in West Indies. Rohit has scored five half-centuries in T20 for India.
Here’s the break-up of his runs for India:
It is not just the numbers, Rohit has also been an excellent finisher in T20 cricket. He has a unique record of finishing matches on the last ball. Following are some of the last-ball victories Rohit has achieved for his teams:
Deccan Chargers vs Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2009, Johannesburg
In 2009, Deccan Chargers needed 21 to win off the final over against Kolkata Knight Riders in Johannesburg. Mashrafe Mortaza was entrusted the responsibility of bowling the final over. Rohit got a high full-toss first up which was hit towards square-leg for a boundary.
Deccan needed 14 from four balls and Rohit hit Mortaza over mid-wicket for a six. The Bangladesh fast bowler bowled a wide and conceded two off the fourth ball. With five needed from two, Rohit hit the length ball outside off-stump for a boundary.
With one needed off one delivery, Mortaza bowled a bouncer which was hooked over square-leg for a six and Rohit was the man Deccan dugout was chasing after pulling off a tremendous win.
Mumbai Indians vs Pune Warriors India, IPL 2011, Mumbai
Mumbai were chasing 119 to win against Pune Warriors India at the Wankhede Stadium in 2011. Needing five to win of the final over from Murali Kartik, Rohit took a single of the first delivery. Andrew Symonds took a single off the second to bring the equation down to three from four. Rohit took a single and Mumbai needed two from three balls.
Kartik bowled a dot ball to Symonds and conceded a single of the penultimate ball. Mumbai needed one from one to win. Rohit hit a six over extra-cover and Mumbai the dugout collectively felt that they had got out of an unnecessary jail break.
Mumbai Indians vs Deccan Chargers, IPL 2012, Vishakhapatnam
The match between Mumbai Indians and Deccan Chargers was a humdinger. Daniel Christian was entrusted with the responsibility of defending 18 runs of the final over. Chargers were the favourites to win the match. James Franklin started the over on a positive note hitting the first ball straight down the ground for a boundary. The next delivery was hit down the ground for a two. Rohit sneaked a bye off the third ball. The fourth ball was a friendly full toss which Rohit hit for a six over backward-point.
Mumbai needed five off two deliveries. Rohit survived a run out appeal on the penultimate ball. The fortunes oscillated with every passing minute. Three runs were required off the final ball and Rohit deposited a low full toss into the stands which gave Mumbai Indians a famous win.
Christian was unable to defend six runs of the final delivery in the Champions League semi-finals in 2011, when Arun Kartik of Royals Challengers Bangalore smashed him for a huge six over deep mid-wicket. Christian presented Rohit with a succour ball that had “Hit Me” written all over it. Rohit did just that.
So, one hopes that he befriends consistency along with all the great feats that he has performed so far. There is no denying of the fact that Rohit is a special talent and possesses all the shots in the book.
(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)