Virender Sehwag plays in a style which only he knows. With India under pressure to win to qualify for the finals, he came out and played a blinder of a 110 on a pitch which left batsmen in both teams clueless. He set India to 223, which proved more than competitive in their comprehensive thrashing of New Zealand.
He was unfazed by the early movement and nip off the wicket, which made the seamers look potent. Dinesh Karthik and Virat Kohli were out poking at deliveries outside off stump, while Yuvraj Singh was hurried by the pace and bounce of Andy McKay. When Suresh Raina was out pulling Tim Southee while trying to force the pace, India had lost four wickets by the end of 13 overs. Those wickets took the sheen away from a fluid and entertaining start from Sehwag.
Not known for exaggerated foot movements, Sehwag used the crease to loft the seamers over the off side, through the line of the ball. He barely moved across the stumps but such was his confidence that he managed to stretch, scoop and slash powerfully over backward point. He backed away and slapped the slower bowlers past the infield as well. A more conventional punch through cover brought up his 1000th ODI four and that was part of a sequence of three consecutive fours off Southee.
India were lucky to have Dhoni at the other end for he rotated strike and built a solid partnership. Their stand produced a valuable 107, but India needed them to stay longer as they were the last capable pair, with only Ravindra Jadeja, who is still trying to find his feet in ODIs, and a long tail to follow. Sehwag didn't drop anchor, though. He continued charging the spinners, lifting Kane Williamson inside-out over extra cover for boundaries and also cleverly picking the gaps at fine leg off the seamers. He played the upper cut over the vacant slip cordon shortly after getting to his century, but the fun ended for India when Sehwag found deep midwicket when on 110, his dismissal coming against the run of play. He had set India up, before the seamers took control.