“Brutal elegance at its best”: Nasser Hussain hails Rohit’s 92-run knock against Australia in T20 WC

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London: Former England skipper and cricket pundit Nasser Hussain lavished praise on Indian skipper Rohit Sharma for his explosive knock in the ICC T20 World Cup match against Australia, calling the innings “brutal elegance at its best”.

During the Men in Blue’s final Super Eights match against Australia, the Indian skipper was on a mission mode to exorcise the demons of the 50-over World Cup final loss on November 19 last year at home against Australia, as he pummeled Australia’s feared bowling line-up of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, etc into submission with a 41-ball 92, consisting of seven fours and eight sixes. Key highlights of his knock were smashing Starc for 29 runs in the third over, including four sixes, and slog-sweeping Cummins for a huge 100 m six on the first ball of the fifth over.

Speaking on the Sky Sports podcast, Hussain said that a shift in India’s game and mentality in T20Is happened after a helpless ten-wicket loss to England in the 2022 T20 World Cup semis, which was visible in Rohit-led team’s game during the 50-over World Cup next year, where they brutalised bowling attack with unprecedented aggression on their way to a runners-up finish to Australia. But he also noted that India could not replicate this approach on the tough, more unplayable pitches of New York’s Nassau County Stadium.

“I think the change in mentality happened after that World T20 semi-final in Adelaide and that was noticeable in India in the 50-over World Cup and definitely noticeable as we have gone through this tournament, as they have moved away from New York,” said Hussain. “They could not quite do it in New York because of the pitches. The pitches were poor and you could not go out there and express yourself. But as their batters have gotten a bit of confidence then they have gone back to that mentality and it is completely led by Rohit Sharma,” he added.

Hussain said that Rohit “walked the talk” as a captain during the match against Australia, focusing on the team’s score and strike rate rather than a potential maiden T20 WC century. He also expressed admiration for Rohit’s takedown of Australian pacers. “If you are going to walk the talk as a captain and he did before the Australia game. He said ‘I am not worried about the 50s and 100s, I am worried about what is the score, the balls faced, the strike rate and that was the great white-ball innings I have seen, what he did against Australia. Elegant, absolute brutal elegance at its best. Taking down Starc, slog-sweeping Cummins, inside out over extra cover. That was one of the best innings, visually I have seen. It was just outstanding,” he added.

Rohit’s 92 helped India put up 205/5 on the board and restricted Australia to 181/7 in their 20 overs despite Travis Head’s counter-attacking 76 in 43 balls, with nine fours and four sixes. After Bangladesh’s loss to Afghanistan, Australia was eliminated from the tournament, getting just one win and facing two losses in Super Eights, including one to Afghanistan. In six matches of the tournament so far, Rohit has scored 191 runs at an average of 38.20, with a strike rate of 159.16 and two half-centuries. His best score is 92. India will next take on England in the semifinals at Guyana on Thursday.

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