Rohit vows Tendulkar milestone will not be a distraction

By Sports Desk July 06, 2019

India opener Rohit Sharma will not let himself think about breaking Sachin Tendulkar's record for the most runs in a Cricket World Cup.

Rohit moved to 647 runs for the tournament in England after making his fifth century in Saturday's seven-wicket win against Sri Lanka.

He needs just 27 more runs to surpass India great Tendulkar's haul of 673 at the 2003 World Cup.

Matthew Hayden amassed 659 for Australia in 2007, meaning Rohit sits third in the all-time standings with one and possibly two innings still to come.

No batsman had ever made five centuries before in a single World Cup, so Rohit has already entered the record books.

India's semi-final place was assured long before their trip to Leeds, where Rohit and KL Rahul both made centuries at the top of the order to pave the way for an emphatic victory.

"I'm not thinking about milestones," Rohit said after his innings of 103, which included 16 boundaries.

"I know if I play well all these things will happen along the way. My job is to keep my head straight, keep playing and get the team to the finishing line.

"I want to start every day afresh and I try and come out thinking I've not played any ODIs, I've not made any hundreds in the tournament, it's just the first game of the tournament. That is the kind of mindset I want to get in.

"People around me are talking about hundreds, but that's the challenge of a sportsman: try to keep your head straight and focus on the job at hand."

Captain Virat Kohli has seen his side win seven and lose just one match in the group stage.

Kohli said at the post-match presentation: "We wanted to play good cricket but we didn't expect this kind of scoreline heading into the semis. That's what hard work and consistent performances get you.

"It's a real honour for all of us to play together on the field for India."

Asked about his team line-up for the semi-finals, Kohli said: "More or less everything is set, but we don't want to be one-dimensional. The team that is flexible on the day has more chance of executing what they want to.

"We need a good balance and whatever combination provides the balance for us, I think we'll go ahead with that. We're happy with the way we've played but it's about turning up on the day now and putting another performance in."

Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne praised veteran fast bowler Lasith Malinga, who was playing his final World Cup match in the 50-over format.

"Of course Sri Lankan cricket will miss him. In Test cricket and one-day cricket, he was wonderful - he was the man," Karunaratne said. "He's done a really good job. Everyone has to end their chapter. After that we have to find a new guy."

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