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17th ODI century was a long time coming, says Rohit Sharma

After a trail of unsuccessful attempts at batting against South Africa, Rohit Sharma bounced back to form in the 5th ODI as he slammed his 17th ODI century at Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, pushing team India to clinch the 4th ODI and seal their first ever bilateral series-win in South Africa. And recalling on the feat, Rohit Sharma said it had become overdue and had to arrive sooner than later.

India beat the Proteas by a 73-run margin in the 5th ODI to secure the six-match ODI series 4-1, with one match remaining to be played. The last and 6th ODI would be a tricky one, as India would be looking to ride their momentum from the 5th ODI and win the last one as well, while South Africa will have a lot of pride to play for in the last part of their tragic ODI home-series.

Rohit Sharma, who could total just 40 runs in the previous four ODIs prior to the 5th one, displayed that he was never out of form, maybe just a little patient, as he registered his 17th ODI century with the help of 10 boundaries and four sixes, to help India post a daunting 274/7 on the board after being put into bat.

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While Rohit ‘Hitman’ Sharma, as the opener is fondly known as in the Indian cricketing circles, registered his 17th ODI century, he also scored his first-ever hundred in South Africa. And owing to the impact that his century had on India’s win, Rohit Sharma was also adjudged Man of the Match, after India bowled out the Proteas for 201.

Rohit Sharma had been waiting for his 17th ODI century

As reported by India Today, Rohit Sharma spoke about his 17th ODI century at the post-match presentation, and said,

“It was a long time coming (smiles). I had a good time in the middle; as the game went on the wicket got slower and slower and it wasn’t easy. Had fun in the middle and it is always a good feeling when you score a hundred and your team wins the match.”

“We stuck to our plans and I’m glad it came off. You’ve got to keep yourself mentally fit. South Africa is a good place to play cricket and I try to keep myself in the right frame of mind and it paid off.”

Even after failing in first 4 ODIs, Rohit Sharma stuck to his plans

Even though Rohit Sharma wasn’t getting the desired results with the bat, the 30-year-old said that he never felt the need to change anything in his batting style, and the decision to stick to his plans paid off for him eventually. He said,

“I knew I didn’t have to change a lot and the runs would come. I kept doing the same things off the field, I kept hitting the ball well and the confidence was there that I would score. We were in a spot of bother when I got to my century and that’s why the celebrations were low key.”

“What was important for me was to bat long and get the team to a good score and am glad we came out hard and defended it. When you get in you’ve got to make it count and unless you play a bad shot you don’t really get out.”

“The top three get the most number of balls to play and you have to make it count. The rest of guys put in the runs in the last few games and it was my day today.”

India – No. 1 ODI team

India secured the the top ODI rank as a result of defeating South Africa in their home-ground. This is also India’s 9th successive bilateral ODI series win, the second-highest streak by a team after West Indies, who had won 14 series in a row during 1980-88.

The final 6th ODI of the India & South Africa ODI series will be played at the SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday (February 16).


READ: South Africa v India, 6th ODI: 5 Key Players.