Indian pacer Mohammed Shami has been in scintillating form at the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup, picking up 3 fifers already in the tournament. His sensational spells of fast bowling have dismantled opposition batting lineups and paved the path for India’s success so far.
Let’s look at how Shami claimed his three 5-wicket hauls during the group stage:
Fifer #1 – New Zealand All Out for 273
India’s clash against New Zealand in Dharamsala saw Mohammed Shami at his lethal best. Opting to bat first, New Zealand got off to a steady start with openers Finn Allen and Devon Conway navigating the new ball safely. They added 54 before Shami provided the breakthrough, having Allen caught brilliantly by a diving Suryakumar Yadav at backward point.
Shami kept plugging away with his testing line and length, not giving anything away. He was finally rewarded when he dismissed Conway for 92 just as he was looking to accelerate.
Skipper Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell then stabilized the Kiwi innings with a 68-run partnership before Shami struck again. He enticed Williamson into a drive with a fuller length ball outside off and found the edge, with keeper Karthik completing an easy catch.
With New Zealand looking to launch in the death overs, Shami returned to nip out Mitchell and Tim Southee in the space of three balls. He finished things off by castling Matt Henry to complete his 5-wicket haul.
Shami’s excellent figures of 5/54 in his 10 overs restricted New Zealand to 273 all out. Thanks to his brilliance, India stayed competitive in the chase.
Fifer #2 – Sri Lanka Rolled Over for 55
Defending a mammoth 358 against Sri Lanka in Mumbai, India needed early strikes. Shami provided just that by knocking over openers Kusal Mendis and Avishka Fernando cheaply in a fiery opening spell.
With Sri Lanka reeling at 13/2, Shami turned on the heat in his second spell. He uprooted Dhananjaya de Silva’s off stump with a screaming inswinging yorker before getting Charith Asalanka caught at slip the very next ball.
Shami was breathing fire, and his next two victims were also castled comprehensively. Wanindu Hasaranga had no answer to a quick inswinging delivery that cannoned into middle stump. Theema Fernando suffered the same fate next ball as his stumps went cartwheeling.
Ramesh Mendis became Shami’s fifth scalp, edging behind to Karthik to complete a sensational 5-wicket haul. Shami’s incredible figures of 5/18 in 8 overs blew away Sri Lanka for just 55 runs, handing India a crushing 302 run victory.
Fifer #3 – New Zealand Shot Out for 112 in Second Innings
The India vs New Zealand semi-final in Mumbai saw Shami produce another match-winning performance. In New Zealand’s first innings, Shami snapped up 4 wickets as the Kiwis were restricted to 241.
In reply, India gained a slim 3-run lead thanks to Shami’s vital 21 not out coming in at number 10.
This set up a thrilling finish on day 5. Defending 274, India needed Shami to deliver again. And he did so in style by triggering a New Zealand collapse.
Shami generated prodigious swing to rip through the top order. He sent back openers Conway and Allen cheaply before cleaning up Henry Nicholls and Tom Latham in quick succession. With New Zealand reeling at 15/4, the game was in India’s control.
Shami kept charging in with the old ball, getting it to curve away late from the left-handers. He bamboozled Jimmy Neesham with a delightfully late outswinger that grazed the outside edge into the keeper’s gloves.
Shami then ended New Zealand’s resistance by castling Tim Southee and Matt Henry in the same over. His sensational figures of 6/28 in 15 overs bowled New Zealand out for just 112, giving India a famous win.
Key Takeaways from Shami’s Heroics
Mohammed Shami’s unmatched consistency has been the cornerstone of India’s bowling success at the 2023 World Cup. Here are some of the key takeaways from his scintillating performances:
- Lethal swing and seam movement with the new ball and old ball. He has mastered conventional and reverse swing.
- Superb control of line and length while maintaining speeds around 140-145 kph mark. Doesn’t offer any freebies.
- Intelligent use of the crease – getting the ball to angle in and straighten or shape away off the pitch.
- Variations in pace and lengths to outsmart batsmen. Uses slower bouncers and cutters cleverly.
- Accuracy with pinpoint yorkers and well-directed bouncers. Great execution under pressure.
- Remarkable stamina to bowl unchanged 8-10 over spells and pick crucial wickets.
- Ability to size up batsmen’s weaknesses and set them up with excellently planned dismissals.
Shami has proved decisive with the bat lower down the order as well. If he continues in prime form, India will be tough to beat in the knockout stages. With 19 wickets already, Shami is a frontrunner to finish as the leading wicket-taker of the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup.