Shami’s 5-Wicket Haul Powers India to Semis

Shami claimed his second five-wicket haul of the ongoing World Cup, his 5-18 helping India bundle out Sri Lanka for a paltry 55 at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday…writes B Shrikant

A five-wicket haul by pacer Mohammed Shami after superb half-centuries by Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer helped India thrash Sri Lanka by 302 runs for their seventh win in seven matches, sealing a place in the semifinals with two matches yet to play.

The hosts continued their brilliant all-round display in the World Cup, claiming the fourth-largest win ever by bundling out Sri Lanka for 55 in 19.2 overs after riding on some brilliant batting by Gill (92), Kohli (88) and Iyer (82) to post 357/8 in 50 overs.

India now have 14 points from seven games and are the first team to confirm their place in the last-four stage in the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup.

Shami claimed his second five-wicket haul of the ongoing World Cup, his 5-18 helping India bundle out Sri Lanka for a paltry 55 at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.

Shami had figures of 5-1-18-5, taking his overall tally to 45 as he became the highest wicket-taker for India in World Cups, getting past Zaheer Khan’s tally of 44 in 23 matches. Shami, who had claimed 5-54 against New Zealand earlier in this World Cup, reached the mark in just 14 matches.

Shami, who came into the playing XI after Hardik Pandya was injured, has taken 14 wickets in just three matches so far.

The last time they met Sri Lanka in the final of the 2023 Asia Cup in Colombo, India bowled them out for 50 in 15.2 overs. On Thursday, India bowled them out for 55 in 19.4 to win by 302 runs.

While Shami claimed 5-18, Mohd Siraj bagged 3-16 as India threatened to get Sri Lanka out for the lowest total ever after reducing the 1996 World Cup winners to 22/7 after 12 over.

While Bumrah claimed one wicket, Siraj and Shami bagged two wickets each in their first overs. Sri Lanka were four down for three runs and then 14/6 at the end of the 10th over.

Coming in as the first change, Shami sent back Charith Asalanka (1) on the third ball of his opening over, as the batter slashed at a short and wide delivery to hand Ravindra Jadeja a catch at backward point.

He made it two in two balls when Dushan Hemantha pushed at a good length ball outside off and behind to Rahul, becoming the third Sri Lankan batter to get a first-ball duck on Thursday.

Shami claimed the third wicket of the day thanks to DRS when the ultra edge showed Dushmantha Chameera (0) had gloved a delivery going down leg-side to keeper KL Rahul, making it seven down for 22 runs.

Down 22/7 after 12 overs, Sri Lanka looked like getting the unwanted record of the lowest all-out total in ODIs, which is 35, by Zimbabwe (vs SL) and USA (vs Nepal).

They were 29/8 when Shami bowled out Angelo Mathews 12 in the 14th over and then completed his fifer by claiming the wicket of Kasun Rajitha, the top-scorer for Sri Lanka on the day, by edging a drive to Gill at second slip.

Sri Lanka managed that thanks to a ninth-wicket partnership between Maheesh Theekshana (12 not out) and Kasun Rajitha (14), only the third batsman to get into double figures. Ravindra Jadeja ended their inning when he sent back Madushanka for five.

Earlier, Sri Lanka got an early breakthrough but could not capitalise on it due to inconsistent bowling, dropped catches and bad fielding.

Gill and Kohli raised a crucial 189-run partnership for the second wicket after skipper Rohit Sharma was out for four off the second ball of the innings, while Iyer shared two half-century partnerships with KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja lower down the order, setting Sri Lanka a big target to chase.

Kohli came into the bat in the first over of the match after Rohit Sharma was out to the second ball he faced.

Kohli and Gill, who was dropped at nine by Madushanka off his bowling in the fifth over, rescued India with a superb partnership, playing cautiously initially but never failing to punish the poor deliveries of which the Sri Lankans bowled quite a few. They struck boundaries at regular intervals as India ended the first Powerplay at 60/1.

Kolhi survived a chance when Chameera dropped a return catch after getting his hand to the uppish driver and juggling it a couple of times.

However, after the initial period of struggle, the former India captain mostly played in the V, judging the length well and always remaining in control of his shorts. He flicked the ball off his pads when the Sri Lankans strayed down the legside, slog-swept on a couple of occasions and even executed a well-controlled pull shot when the medium pacer dug in short, completing his 70th half-century in the process.

Both Gill and Kohli were out within a space of three runs but India went on to put up a big score thanks to Shreyas Iyer.

Iyer kept the scoring rate up as he struck a few sweetly-timed boundaries and hammered Hemantha straight over his head for a big six and followed it up with a 106-metre monster off Rajitha a couple of overs later in the 36th. The third six in his half-century came off Theekshana, blasting him down the ground, completing his half-century off 36 balls with a four off Theekshana.

Back-to-back sixes off Madushanka in the 48th over by Iyer brought up the half-century of his sixth wicket partnership with Ravindra Jadeja. But Madushanka had his revenge a wide ball later when he bowled a wide and slower one and Iyer sliced it straight up to extra cover off the tow-end of his bat. His brilliant innings of 82 off 56 balls, put India within sniffing distance of the 350 mark. However, in the end, Sri Lanka could not come anywhere close to that total and India registered a big victory.

Brief scores:

India 357/8 in 50 overs (Shubman Gill 92, Virat Kohli 88, Shreyas Iyer 82, Ravindra Jadeja 35; Madushanka 5-80) beat Sri Lanka 55 all out in 19.4 overs (Kasun Rajitha 14; Mohd Shami 5-18, Siraj 3-16) by 302 runs.

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