Friday, Sep 22, 2023

Asia Cup 2023 Final: Mohammed Siraj's Dream Spell Secures India's Dominant Asia Cup Victory

Asia Cup 2023 Final: Mohammed Siraj's Dream Spell Secures India's Dominant Asia Cup Victory

Siraj ended with dream figures of six for 21 in seven overs while Hardik Pandya took three wickets.

Asia Cup Final: IND VS SL
India's Mohammed Siraj celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka's Charith Asalanka during the Asia Cup final cricket match between India and Sri Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo: AP/Eranga Jayawardena

Mohammed Siraj's sensational spell of bowling enabled India to skittle out Sri Lanka for a paltry 50 in the Asia Cup 2023 final on Sunday. (More Cricket News)

Mohammed Siraj fashioned a stunning spell of seam and swing bowling with outstanding figures of 6 for 21 as India defeated Sri Lanka by 10 wickets to reclaim the Asia Cup after a five-year absence. 

This was India's sixth Asia Cup title, as well as their largest ODI victory (263 balls) in terms of balls remaining. 

Defending champions Sri Lanka were bowled out for 50 thanks to Siraj's incredible effort. Shubman Gill (27) and Ishan Kishan (23) finished the job in only 6.1 overs for India in the chase.

This was India's first championship in a multi-nation event since winning the Asia Cup in 2018, and it also exorcised the ghost of India's 54-run victory over Lanka in the Coca-Cola Champions Trophy in Sharjah in 2000. 

The match at Premadasa will be remembered for Siraj's ability to convert the Lankan top order to mere puppets of his spell. 

The Hyderabadi speculated that he was fated to have a day like this.

"Jitna naseeb mein hota hai wahi milta hai, aaj mera naseeb tha (You get what's in our destiny, today it was my destiny)," Siraj said during the mid-innings break while speaking to broadcasters.

After winning the toss, Lanka chose to bat first despite the very gloomy weather. 

The match began 40 minutes late, at 3 p.m., but Sri Lanka was met with a different kind of storm - a peak Siraj.

His performance meant Sri Lanka batted only 15.2 overs, and made their lowest ODI total against India. 

The pacer became only the fourth bowler in ODI history to capture four wickets in an over, and he tied Sri Lankan pacer Chaminda Vaas for the quickest five-wicket haul in one-dayers - in just 16 deliveries. 

Siraj also demolished Pakistan pace legend Waqar Younis' previous best ODI stats against Sri Lanka - 6 for 26 in Sharjah in 1990.

However, the elegance of Siraj's bowling transcended conventional statistics. 

He entered the fray after Jasprit Bumrah ejected Kusal Perera in the third ball of the first over - a catch behind. 

Siraj only had to pitch the ball in the right spots in conditions that reminded him more of London than Colombo. 

Siraj performed his destructive dance in the fourth over, hitting 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, and 3.6 balls.

Pathum Nissanka, Sadeera Samaraiwickrama, Charith Asalanka, and Dhananjaya De Silva were among those killed. Nissanka attempted to place the ball around Ravindra Jadeja at point, but the fielder performed a fine tumbling catch.

Samarawickrama couldn't handle a delivery that came in that little bit after pitching on a length, and the umpire didn't have to think twice about upholding Siraj's leg-before appeal. 

With no footwork, the left-handed Asalanka pushed at a fuller delivery from Siraj, and the uppish shot wound up in the hands of Ishan Kishan at covers. 

De Silva was able to save a hat-trick, but he only survived for one more delivery, as a push away from the body led to an easy grab for Rahul behind the stumps. 

But Siraj wasn't finished yet. To finish their destruction, he castled Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka and Kusal Mendis with peaches.

Shanaka couldn't even cover a fantastic outswinger, which he employed to great effect on this day and uprooted his off-stump.

At 33 for 6, someone had to try to break the chains, and Mendis tried. Siraj, on the other hand, nipped one back in to beat the Lankan batter's powerful drive and repositioned his wood.

It was a wonderful effort by a top-tier fast bowler - utter mayhem, but so nicely dipped in the art of quick bowling.

In his uninterrupted seven-over period, he did not utilize his lethal wobble seam delivery once, instead destroying Lanka with a combination of outswingers and the occasional in-dipper.

There was nothing left in the Lankan innings after Siraj concluded his spell. 

Hardik Pandya finished off Sri Lanka's innings with a three-wicket haul (3/3).
(With PTI inputs)


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