Asia Cup: Siraj’s deadly six-wicket haul sets up India’s eighth title win

Colombo : India’s Mohammed Siraj with teammates celebrate after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka’s Charith Asalanka during the Asia Cup 2023 ODI Final cricket match at R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo on Sunday, September 17, 2023. (Photo:IANS)

Colombo, Sep 17 (IANS) Mohammed Siraj became only the second bowler to take a six-fer in a men’s ODI Asia Cup final after Ajantha Mendis, as he picked a career-best 6-21 in a deadly spell to set up India’s eighth title with a ten-wicket thrashing of Sri Lanka at the R Premadasa Stadium here on Sunday.

After play resumed at 3:40 pm, due to rain delaying the start, Siraj got massive help from movement off the pitch, making the ball talk both ways and leaving Sri Lanka batters bamboozled to pick a magnificent career-best 6-21 in seven overs, including four scalps coming in his second over of the game.

Apart from Siraj blowing away Sri Lankan batters and becoming first Indian bowler to take four wickets in an over, Hardik Pandya took three wickets while Jasprit Bumrah had a scalp to his name as the Indian fast-bowlers took all ten wickets in bowling out Sri Lanka for just 50, their second-lowest ODI total and the least they have scored in the format against India, as well as in the Asia Cup.

Bumrah gave India a dream start by enticing Kusal Perera to chase a wide, away-swinging delivery and the left-handed batter nicked behind to wicketkeeper K.L. Rahul moving to his left.

Siraj’s first over saw him bowl six outswingers and beat the batters four times, showcasing his accuracy and consistency, two constant pillars in him inflicting the perfect carnage on Sri Lankan batters, apart from varying his release points to bowl a nagging line and length.

On the first ball of his second over, Siraj bowled an outswinger yet again and Pathum Nissanka could drive only to backward point, who moved to his right to complete the catch. 

A dot ball later, Siraj trapped Sadeera Samawickrama lbw with a sharp nip-backer beating the inside edge and striking the batter in front of stumps.

On the very next ball, Charith Asalanka chipped the first ball he faced straight to cover point. Dhananjaya de Silva survived the hat-trick ball by punching Siraj past mid-on for four. But Siraj had the last laugh as de Silva pushed at an outswinger, giving a faint edge behind to take a catch.

Siraj grabbed his five-wicket haul in 16 balls by getting late movement at a fuller delivery to swing past Dasun Shanaka’s outside edge and sent the off-stump on a cartwheel ride. 

Seeing the carnage from the other end, Kusal Mendis tried to get Sri Lanka’s innings back on track from 12/6 by taking two boundaries square of the off-side against Bumrah.

But Siraj grabbed his sixth wicket by getting one to nip back in from outside off and castle Mendis through the gate, to grab the best figures by a fast-bowler in the men’s ODI Asia Cup. Pandya joined the wicket-takers list by bouncing out Dunith Wellalage, giving Rahul a simple catch on the top edge. He took out the remaining two wickets to end Sri Lanka’s innings at 50 in 92 legal balls.

Chasing a paltry 51, India sent Ishan Kishan to open alongside Shubman Gill, who completed the chase with 263 balls remaining. Gill began by nonchalantly flicking Pramod Madushan for four, and Kishan ramped and slashed Matheesha Pathirana for back-to-back fours.

Gill feasted on Madhushan’s deliveries by nailing a drive, punching past point and slamming a pull to take three boundaries off him to race through the chase. 

He and Kishan took a four each off Pathirana via a flick and drive respectively, followed by Gill hitting a scintillating drive off Wellalage for four and Kishan taking the single to seal India’s easy win in just 37 deliveries. 

Brief scores: 

Sri Lanka 50 all out in 15.2 overs (Kusal Mendis 17; Mohammed Siraj 6-21, Hardik Pandya 3-3) lost to India 51 for no loss in 6.1 overs (Shubman Gill 27 not out, Ishan Kishan 23 not out) by 10 wickets.

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