Indian batsman Rohit Sharma capped off a sensation 2019 with his 43rd ODI half-century en route to a patient 63 runs off 63 balls on Sunday at the Barabarti Stadium in Cuttack against West Indies in the third ODI. With the knock, Rohit did not just become the leading run-getter as an opener in international cricket in a calendar year, he also finished 2019 as the highest run-scorer in ODIs, denying Virat Kohli a unique hat-trick.
Against a massive 315 for five from West Indies, Indian openers Rohit and KL Rahul (77) set the tone with their fifth century-plus stand while both scored their respective half-centuries. Kohli (85) carried the momentum following their departure before and cameo efforts from Ravindra Jadeja and Shardul Thakur helped India script a four-wicket win and subsequently wrap up the three-game series 2-1.
With the knock, Rohit amassed 1490 runs came at an average of 57.03 with a strike rate of 89.92, comprising seven centuries and six half-centuries. 648 of his total runs were scored in World Cup 2019 where he had pulled of a record-breaking six consecutive ODI centuries, but eventually fell 25 runs short of Sachin Tendulkar's record of most runs in a single world cup tournament.
"There is no way I'm stopping here and there's an exciting year coming up and I'm looking forward to it. I understand my batting really well and knowing the game plan you want to execute is very, very important. The challenge will come once we start travelling, we want to win games and want to stay on top," said Rohit after winning the Player of the Series trophy. Rohit scored 36 and 159 in the first two ODIs against West Indies.
Earlier in the evening, with two boundaries and a single against Sheldon Cottrell in the pacer's second over. Rohit became the highest-scoring opener in a calendar year in international cricket. He broke Sri Lankan's legend Sanath Jayasuriya's 22-year-old record en route to the feat.
"It was a decider and we wanted to win this game and especially here in Cuttack, it's a good batting track. It was a little sad that I couldn't bat longer, but then Rahul and Kohli batted well and I quite enjoyed that Shardul pull shot, it was much needed at that point. Extremely grateful for the year I had, the World Cup win would have been nice. The team gelled together collectively well and every individual stepped up which is a good sign," he added.