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2023 ODI World Cup digest: Rohit Sharma ransacks Afghanistan; Australia face test of credentials


2023 ODI World Cup digest: Rohit Sharma ransacks Afghanistan; Australia face test of credentials


The Men’s 2023 ODI World Cup is underway in India and runs from October 5 until November 19. Each morning we will round up the latest action and news from the event and bring you the insights from our reporters on the ground.

Top Story: Rohit and Bumrah headline fiery India display

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

India vs Afghanistan was one of the closer encounters of the 2019 World Cup, but a blistering hundred from Rohit Sharma ensured there would be no double jeopardy in 2023. Any jeopardy at all was taken out of the game in the first ten overs or so of the chase, when Rohit, who went past Sachin Tendulkar for most hundreds at the ODI World Cup, took the attack to all Afghanistan bowlers, turning a potentially tricky chase of 273 into a net run rate boosting cakewalk. A half-century from Virat Kohli capped a near-perfect day for India as they eased to an eight-wicket win with 15 overs to spare, after a disciplined performance with the ball had restricted Afghanistan to a below-par total despite half-centuries from Hashmatullah Shahidi and Azmatullah Omarzai.

India’s top order, Rohit included, had missed out badly against Australia after the hosts fell to 2 for 3. Today, Rohit would ensure there was to be no repeat of that. A sedate first couple of overs were followed by Rohit’s first boundary, and the floodgates opened. Fazalhaq Farooqi was belted over long-off for a six followed up by a couple of fours. There was a repeat dose in his following Farooqi over, with Rohit speeding along to a lightning half-century, which he brought up with a boundary, off 27 balls. Another couple of sixes and a boundary followed, and by the end of the powerplay, India had rollicked along to 94, the highest of this tournament.

Match analysis: Kohli’s homecoming party turns into Rohit extravaganza

They came for Virat Kohli, but they got Rohit Sharma. This was an exhibition of white-ball batting in Delhi, as India’s captain turned a chase of 273 – which Afghanistan hoped would prove awkward – into a glorified middle practice, treating their seamers with the disdain usually reserved for net bowlers.

India’s second match of this tournament was billed as Kohli’s homecoming, his second and final World Cup appearance in the city he grew up in. Twelve years ago, he made 12 off 20 balls in a low-key win over the Netherlands; now, he was the man whose name featured on every other blue jersey in the 32,000-strong crowd.

Must Watch: Dale Steyn on the brilliance of Jasprit Bumrah2>

News headlines

  • New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is “looking good” to make a comeback from injury in their game against Bangladesh in Chennai on Friday, head coach Gary Stead said in a press conference, while also confirming the availability of experienced fast bowler Tim Southee.
  • Match preview

    Australia vs South Africa, Lucknow (2pm IST; 8.30am GMT; 7.30pm AEST)

    Is there a more storied World Cup rivalry than South Africa versus Australia? It’s hard to argue against. In ESPNcricinfo’s top 20 Greatest ODIs, two of the top three matches were played between South Africa and Australia. Admittedly, one was not in a World Cup, but the other was the OG of World Cup ties, the 1999 Edgbaston semi-final. Even that game had come after a thrilling encounter at Headingley four days earlier.

    While the history has fans salivating, the 2023 teams are sick of the sight of each other. This will be the sixth ODI played between South Africa and Australia in just over a month, not to mention the three T20Is played just prior to last month’s five-match ODI series in South Africa. Australia did not show all their cards on that tour with Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell all missing. Regardless, it was a series where South Africa found some irresistible form that they have carried to the opening game of the World Cup, while Australia’s wobbles have continued since blowing a 2-0 series lead in the Highveld. They have lost six of their last seven ODIs including the World Cup opener in Chennai.

    Team news

    Australia (probable XI): 1 David Warner, 2 Mitchell Marsh, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Marnus Labuschagne, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Alex Carey (wk), 7 Marcus Stoinis/Cameron Green, 8 Pat Cummins (capt), 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

    South Africa (probable XI): 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Temba Bavuma (capt), 3 Rassie van der Dussen, 4 Aiden Markram, 5 Heinrich Klaasen, 6 David Miller, 7 Marco Jansen, 8 Gerald Coetzee/Tabraiz Shamsi, 9 Keshav Maharaj, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Lungi Ngidi

    Feature: Befuddling, incomprehensible, alien: the last great ODI

    There are countless ways to try and process the 2019 World Cup final. You can read about it in detail in at least two books, as well as revisitations in memoirs by various participants. You can watch the excellent, atmospheric documentary, The Greatest Game, co-written by Simon Hughes. You can read New Zealand’s players talking about it in the Cricket Monthly. It is also possible to watch every ball of it again online, or relive it through ESPNcricinfo’s ball-by-ball commentary. But no matter how hard you try, understanding what took place that day will forever remain tantalisingly out of grasp, like a vivid dream, the existence of which you are aware of once you wake up but the details of which melt away as the day progresses, leaving behind only the contours.

    How did a game end the way that game did, and not just any game but cricket’s showpiece, the World Cup final? It’s no wonder that the understanding of key protagonists slouches towards the otherworldly. In that reading, they are less instigators and more incidental debris in a bigger swirl of forces over which they have no control.


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