India in WC semifinals as Shami’s inspired bowling nails SL

By BD Naraayannkar

Mumbai, Nov 2 (UNI) The all-round exploits from top-order batsmen led by Virat Kohil and Mohammad Shami’s second fifer of the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 helped India to become the first team to storm into the semifinals after thrashing Sri Lanka by a massive 302 runs at the iconic Wankhede Stadium here on Thursday.

Sri Lanka’s Head Coach Chris Silverwood’s hopes were shattered to pieces as he expected a 50 all-out in Asia Cup finals debacle would motivate the team, but they were bundled out for 55 inside 20 overs in the World Cup as well.

The Sri Lanka top-order batsmen did not have any answer to the most-dangerous Indian bowling lineup in this tournament, a testimony to it is five of them getting out for a duck, and this was the eighth time in a World Cup innings.

This was the second time for Sri Lanka, after they had recorded as many against India in Johannesburg during the 2003 edition. Scotland is the only other team to have recorded this unwanted feat twice in World Cups.

Looking back, Mendis could be chewing his nails for sending India to bat first who piled up a massive 357/8, though Shubman Gill, Virat and Shreyas Iyer missed their centuries, and then were bamboozled by Mohammad Siraj and Shami’s swing, under the lights before the dew could settle in.

Jasprit Bumrah (1/8) struck in the very first ball of the chase, and Siraj who had had a very low-key performance, all of a sudden found his rhythm as he did in Asia Cup finals against the Lankans.

Shami (5/18) was pick of the bowler as he picked up his third fifer overall in World Cups and second in this tournament after Siraj (3/16) and Bumrah gave early jolts to Sri Lanka.

Shami also became just the second bowler in ODI history to bag three consecutive 4-plus wicket hauls more than once. This is his second such streak after having returned 4/40, 4/16 and 5/69 in three consecutive innings at the 2019 World Cup.

Only Waqar Younis has achieved this feat more often – three times (twice in 1990 and once in 1994).

Ravindra Jadeja was the other wicket-taker for India with one by having Madushanka caught by Shreyas.

Earlier Gill, Virat and Shreyas missed their centuries, but helped India pile on 357/8. Captain Rohit Sharma missed out as he was castled in the very second ball of the match after flicking Dilshan Madushanaka for a boundary.

India would have been three down immediately. Gill was dropped by Charith Asalanka and Dushmantha Chameera dropped one off his own bowling, giving Virat a life as well.

Taking advantage of the missed chances, the duo put Maheesh Theekshana under the pump and stitched together a partnership for the second wicket to steady India’s innings.

Virat got to his 12th half-century against Sri Lanka and Gill followed suit by getting to his second fifty of the World Cup, after taking on Madushanka for a few runs.

After scoring 60 runs during the 10-20 over phase, Virat and Gill continued to get runs off Theekshana, and brought up their 150-run partnership.

Gill fell for 92 off a slower short ball from Madushanka, before stitching 189 runs for the second wicket.

Madushanka got Virat with a slower ball for 88 as the entire Wankhede went silent as the fans expected their idol to equal the 49 ODI century scored by Sachin Tendulkar who was present watching the game at the stadium.

Shreyas and KL Rahul (21) fetched timely boundaries, raising a 60 runs stand for 4th wicket. Rahul chipped Chameera straight to cover and Suryakumar Yadav got going with a couple of boundaries, but lucky to have survived caught behind review.

For the second time, however, Surya was not lucky on the review as he was adjudged caught behind by Kusal Mendis off Madushanka for 12.

India added 93 runs in the last 10 overs as Ravindra Jadeja (35 off 24) scored some vital runs down the order.

Madushanaka, who scalped Virat and Gill, ended with figures of 5/80. Chameera was the only other Sri Lankan bowler to bag one wicket for 71 runs.

In reply, Bumrah got one off the first ball as Nissanka was trapped leg before, and Siraj scalped Dimuth Karunaratne in the same manner for a golden duck.

Sadeera Samarawickrama edged one to Iyer in third slip, and Kusal Mendis was clean bowled off Siraj.

Shami struck in his first over and handed a catch to Jadeja at point, and Rahul gobbled off Shami as Dushan Hemantha went for a golden duck off consecutive deliveries.

Sri Lanka were six down for 14 on the board in the 10th over, but Dushmantha Chameera survived Shami’s hat-trick ball. Thereafter, it was all over for Sri Lanka.

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