‘Bohut kharab laga. It shouldn't have happened’: Shami drops Williamson but comes back to create 5 World Cup records
Mohammed Shami picked seven wickets in the innings during the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand.
Mohammed Shami not only gave tough competition to Virat Kohli for breaking records with a single performance during the World Cup 2023 semi-final against New Zealand but he also won it. On a day, Kohli went past Sachin Tendulkar's 49 ODI centuries to become the first cricketer to smash 50 ODI centuries, Shami walked away with the Player of the Match award. How insane is that? The kind of performance that Shami put in with the ball on a pitch where 724 runs were scored was simply outstanding.
He had already become India's most successful bowler in World Cups well before the knockout stages but when it mattered the most, while defending a target against a rampaging New Zealand batting line-up, Shami brought out his best. He broke a plethora of records to steer India to their first-ever victory over the Black Caps in an ICC knockout match and enter the ODI World Cup final for the fourth time.
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Shami grabbed 7/57 to become the quickest bowler in the history of the World Cup to complete a 50-wicket haul and the first-ever Indian to do so. Shami reached the milestone in just 17 innings, surpassing Mitchell Starc’s (Australia) record of 19 innings. In 17 matches, Shami has 54 wickets at an average of 12.90, an economy rate of over 5 and a strike rate of 15.33.
He also became the first Indian to claim 7 wickets in an ODI. Shami now has four five-wicket hauls in Cricket World Cup history, the most by any bowler. Australian left-arm quick Starc has dropped to the second spot with three five-wicket hauls.
In six matches of WC 2023 so far, Shami has taken 23 wickets - the most by an Indian in a single edition, going past Zaheer Khan's tally of 21 in 2011 World Cup - and is at the top of the wicket charts. His wickets have come at an average of 9.13. He has taken three five-fors and a four-wicket haul in the tournament.
But it was not all rosy for Shami on Wednesday. He did get off to a dream start by picking the wicket of Devon Conway on the first ball of his spell and then removing the in-form Rachin Ravindra cheaply but he was guilty of dropping a simple catch of Kane Williamson in the 29th over of New Zealand's chase. The New Zealand captain was on 52 then.
"Uska catch chhuta, bohut kharab laga. Wo catch nahi chhutna chahie tha (I felt very bad when I dropped his catch. I shouldn't have dropped it)," Shami said.
But he came back strongly to take Williamson's wicket three overs later. “The focus was to try and take pace off, see if they’re hitting it in the air,” he said about the bowling plan. “It was a chance we had to take."
Shami didn’t feature in India’s first four games at the World Cup before he made an impressive entry at Dharamsala with figures of 5-54 against New Zealand in the group stage. He went on to take 11 more wickets in the next three games against England, Sri Lanka and South Africa before returning a rare wicketless game against the Netherlands.
“My return started against New Zealand,” the fast bowler said.
With a tally of 23 wickets so far, Shami is also the leading wicket-taker in the tournament after figuring in just six games.
“We talk a lot of variations, but I still believe in pitching it up and getting wickets with the new ball."
Revenge was sweet for India which lost to Black Caps in the semifinals of the last World Cup in England, and Shami was pleased with the way India has played so far in the tournament,
“It feels amazing,” Shami said. “Last two World Cups, we lost (in the semifinals). Who knows when or if we’ll get a chance, so we wanted to do everything for this, one chance we didn’t want to let go.”
Shami grabbed the wickets of openers Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra with his impressive seam movement as he found the outside edges of both inside the batting powerplay.
And just when it looked like century-maker Daryl Mitchell (134) and Williamson (69) could threaten the tall target of 398, Shami’s twin strike provided India the much-needed breakthroughs.
Williamson flicked the bowler to deep square leg in the 33rd over and then Tom Latham was out without scoring when he was pinned lbw by Shami’s incoming delivery.
He completed his five-wicket haul when Mitchell was also caught in the deep before he claimed two more wickets in his last over to bowl out Black Caps for 327 and complete a perfect night for the hosts.
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