Star India pacer Mohammed Shami is on a roll during the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup at home. Despite missing the first half of the league stage matches, Shami has played a vital role in his team’s journey towards the final. In the semifinal against New Zealand, Shami took 7/57 in 9.5 overs at an economy rate of 5.79. This is India’s best bowling spell in ICC Cricket World Cup history, overtaking Ashish Nehra’s 6/23 against England in 2003.
Shami’s figures are also the fifth-best in World Cup history, with Australia’s Glenn McGrath’s 7/15 against Namibia in 2003 being the best.
A key aspect of Shami’s domination is how brilliant he has been against left-arm batters.
Though Shami has been a batter’s nightmare, it is the left-arm batters he has thrived against. In his WC run this year, Shami has bowled 52 deliveries to left-arm batters. He has conceded just 32 runs against them.
Shami’s eight out of his 23 wickets in the tournament have been left-handers. The bowler has claimed wickets of Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner and Devon Conway of New Zealand, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali of England, Charith Asalanka of Sri Lanka among the left-handed batters.
In six WC 2023 games, Shami has taken 23 wickets at an average of 9.13 and a strike rate of 10.91. His best figures are 7/57. He is the highest wicket-taker in the tournament so far.
The pace veteran also completed 50 World Cup wickets, becoming only the seventh bowler to do so. Shami is also the fastest to get there, reaching the milestone in just 17 innings, surpassing Mitchell Starc’s (Australia) record of 19 innings.
The highest wicket-taker in WC history is Australia’s Glenn McGrath with 71 wickets in 39 matches in his World Cup career.
Shami now has four five-wicket hauls in Cricket World Cup history, the highest by any bowler. Australian left-arm quick Starc has dropped to second spot with three five-wicket hauls.
Earlier, on Wednesday, India opted to bat first and scored 397/4 in their 50 overs. Skipper Rohit Sharma (47 in 29 balls, with four boundaries and four sixes) and Shubman Gill (80 in 66 balls, with eight fours and three sixes) delivered a fine start with a 71-run opening stand.
Virat Kohli (117 in 113 balls, nine fours and two sixes) posted his 50th ODI ton, while Shreyas Iyer (105 in 70 balls, with four boundaries and eight sixes) scored his second-successive WC century, helping India post a massive score. KL Rahul also delivered a 20-ball cameo of 39 runs, with five fours and two sixes.
Tim Southee (3/100) was the pick of the bowlers for the Kiwis. Trent Boult (1/86) also got a wicket.
In the chase of 398, Kiwis lost two early wickets. But an 181-run partnership between Daryl Mitchell (134 in 119 balls, with nine fours and six sixes) and skipper Kane Williamson (69 in 73 balls, with eight centuries and a six) kept Kiwis alive and Indian bowlers sweating for answers. Glenn Phillips also played a valuable knock of 41. However, a two-wicket over by Shami changed the game and Men in Blue bowled exceptionally in the death overs to restrict NZ to 327 in 48.5 overs.
Besides Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj got a wicket apiece.
Shami was adjudged as the ‘Player of the Match’ for his dream spell.
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