Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 September 2019

Cricket World Cup 2019: Rohit Sharma pays tribute to daughter on Father's Day after scoring match-winning century

In-form opener, who scored match-winning century against Pakistan, says birth of Samaira has put him 'in a good space'

Given the form he showed in scoring 140 off 113 balls against Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup on Sunday, it is difficult to believe Rohit Sharma has been enduring any sleepless nights at all of late.

With the burden of having as much as a fifth of the world’s population emotionally invested in the fixture, the players of India and Pakistan might have been forgiven for feeling the burden of pressure.

Rohit, though, has a different reason for struggling for a good night’s rest, having become a father for the first time in December.

But his form since the arrival of daughter Samaira has been serene. First he captained Mumbai Indians to the Indian Premier League title.

And his century in the 89-run thrashing of Pakistan was his fifth score in a row in excess of 50 in one-day internationals – and an ideal way to celebrate Father’s Day.

“The space I’m in right now is a very good place in my life,” Rohit said.

“Having a newly-born daughter has put me in a good space. I’m enjoying my cricket, I was coming off a great IPL campaign and have started well at this World Cup.

“We know how important it is to start well at a World Cup, so the focus was on that first of all. As a team we’re heading in the right direction. It’s important to keep ticking all the boxes.

“The crowd come to matches for entertainment and we were really good as a team. We really wanted those two points following the washout last time and we wanted to display our skills because we’ve been in good form.”

Pakistan suffered much criticism for opting to bowl first after winning the toss, although Virat Kohli, the India captain, suggested he might have done the same.

Sarfraz Ahmed’s decision was made to look folly when Rohit and KL Rahul, who was standing in for the injured Shikhar Dhawan as opener, shared 136 within 24 overs.

“The crucial phase of the innings was the first phase and not losing a wicket was vital,” Rohit said.

“As an opener, it’s your job to make sure you don’t lose too many wickets up front.

“In conditions like that, it’s more of a new-ball game and the opposition can put pressure on you if they get going.

“We wanted to build a platform and tried to take the game forward after that.

“It was KL’s first game as opener for India, so I wanted to make sure he was comfortable.

"There’s a challenge you face in terms of understanding – when he wants to run two, when I want to take singles and things like that.

“We had lots of communication out there and hopefully we can build on it now I know he will be opening for the next few games.”

Kohli was proud of the way his side had not been distracted by the emotion of the most-hyped fixture in world cricket.

“I think they outplayed us in the Champions Trophy final [in 2017, when Pakistan beat India in the final],” Kohli said.

“But if you focus on this game too emotionally, things can go wrong. We never approach them from that perspective. We are professional about it and the result is what matters.”

Updated: June 17, 2019 12:26 PM

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