Men In Blue Bulldoze Lankan Lions To Reach Playoffs

Men In Blue Bulldoze Lankan Lions To Reach Playoffs

India’s consecutive seventh win of the World Cup comes on the back of a mighty batting performance and a ruthless bowling attack, on Thursday, at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. The Lankan Lions looked clueless as they tried to tackle the Indian challenge. Virat Kohli narrowly misses equalling the great Sachin Tendulkar’s record for most ODI centuries(49) by just twelve runs. Shami picks yet another fifer to become India’s highest wicket-taker in World Cup history and equalled Mitchel Starc’s record of most 5-wicket hauls in World Cups(3).

The First Innings

Sri Lankan skipper, Kusal Mendis won the toss and opted to bowl first. It seemed like a smart move as it would deny the chase masters, India an opportunity to hunt for runs. But no one would have anticipated that it would turn out to be such a disaster for the Islanders.

Despite the initial setback of losing skipper Rohit Sharma early(4 in 2b), successive Indian batters bossed around the Lankan bowling attack. Prince Shubman Gill(92 in 92b, 11×4, 2×6) and King Virat Kohli(88 in 94b, 11×4) stabilised the innings with a second-wicket partnership of 189 runs before Gill fell prey to southpaw Dilshan Madhushanka’s bowling. Kohli too fell short of his historic century getting caught due to Madhushanka’s intelligent pace variations. 

Next up were K.L. Rahul and Shreyas Iyer. KL Rahul scored 21 runs before falling victim to Dushmantha Chameera’s bowling. Meanwhile, Shreyas Iyer(82 in 56b, 3×4, 6×6) displayed his explosive strokeplay, showing why he is trusted by the Indian dressing room. Ravindra Jadeja(35 in 24b) provided the finishing touches while Md. Shami and Jasprit Bumrah braved the final assault to survive till the end of the innings. Men in Blue posted a grand total of 357 runs for the loss of 8 wickets.

The Magnificent Madushanka(10-0-80-5) was the only saving grace for the Lankan bowling attack. The southpaw quickie managed to clinch a five-for and became the highest wicket-taker of this World Cup.

The Second Innings

The fans got the bang for their buck in this match. Everyone was thoroughly impressed by the Indian batting. But the day belonged to the Indian spearheads who demolished the Lankan batting lineup.

The Lankan batters fell one by one, crashing like the proverbial house of cards. Five of them went packing for a duck. The highest scorer was tailender Kasun Rajitha who managed to score 14 runs in 17 deliveries.

Md. Siraj(7-2-16-3) continued his majestic run against the Sri Lankans by taking 3 wickets while giving them no space for scoring runs. But the best was yet to come, the resurgent Md. Shami(5-1-18-5) was given the ball in the 10th over. 

Shami worked like a maniac, making the white ball dance right after the seam made contact with the pitch, much to the peril of the Lankans, who gave in one after the other.

The happiness and sense of gratitude could be seen in Shami’s eyes as he fell to his knees to celebrate his 5th wicket as his teammates swamped him from all sides. 

The Lankans were restricted to a measly 55 runs in 19.4 overs, as head coach and legend Mahela Jayawardene watched helplessly from the dressing room. This is infamously one of the lowest scores in ODI World Cup history.

The Result 

India won by a gargantuan 302 runs, the second biggest in the history of the World Cup. India remains the only undefeated team in the tournament. Md. Shami got a well-deserved Player-of-the-Match trophy. With this India makes a return as the table toppers.

The Road Ahead

Now all eyes are on India’s next clash with second-placed South Africa on Sunday(5th Nov ‘23). It’s gonna be a blockbuster clash for the pole position with both teams looking to go all out.

Here’s the latest look at the points table after Wednesday’s match:
TeamMatchesWonLost Points
South Africa76112
New Zealand7438
Sri Lanka7254

(Q = Qualified, E = Eliminated)

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