India vs Afghanistan, ICC World Cup 2019: MS Dhoni offers tips to Mohammed Shami, bowler responds with hat-trick
On a slow and sluggish pitch in Southampton, Afghanistan spinners Mujeeb ur Rahman, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi restricted the much-fancied Indian batting lineup to 224 for 8 in their 50 overs. There was this common consensus that the score was below par on the surface.
Afghanistan seemed to have the chase under control but India kept chipping away at the wickets. It all boiled down to Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammad Nabi in the final four overs.
Bumrah was exceptional with the ball, he conceded 13 runs in his final two overs to leave Shami 16 runs to defend in the final over. The fast bowler was put under immediate pressure when Nabi thumped him for a boundary off the first ball of the final over over long on.
This was when MS Dhoni ran up to Shami, paused the game and passed on few tips. He ran back to his mark.
Shami was under pressure and he responded - the third ball of the over was even fuller, it did not allow Nabi to get under it as he tonked it straight to Hardik Pandya at long on. Perhaps, the pause in play hurt Nabi’s momentum, perhaps Dhoni asked Shami to keep getting it as full as possible - whatever was the conversation bore immediate result for India as Nabi departed and with him Afghanistan’s hopes sinked.
“The plan was simple. To bowl a yorker and even Mahi bhai suggested that. He said, ‘Don’t change anything now as you have a great chance of getting a hat-trick. It’s a rare opportunity and you need to do the same thing. So I did what exactly I was told,” Shami told reporters after returning with figures of 4 for 40.
In walked Aftab Alam, and Shami had found his radar - he run in, angled a length ball and disturbed the stumps as Alam swung across the line. India were now one wicket away and Afghanistan had just the one wicket in hand.
Mujeeb wandered in, took guard and faced up. Shami had all the rhythm and the crowd was behind him as he sprinted in and hurled the perfect yorker aimed at the base of the middle and leg stump. Stumps were rattled, India had sealed the game and Shami was the hero with a hat-trick, only the second India after Chetan Sharma to achieve this feat in a World Cup clash.