India were moving at a sensational pace in the ongoing ICC World Cup 2019 edition, registering three clinical victories and their fifth match against Afghanistan was expected to be an easy challenge. However, it was a nail-biting contest which gave the Men in Blue a tough reality check as they had to snatch a hard-fought 11-run win from the jaws of defeat at The Rose Bowl, Southampton. The Afghanistan spinners bowled amazingly well to restrict the star-studded Indian batting line-up within a pretty modest first innings total.
In the second innings, despite chasing not a very big score, things were always expected to be pretty difficult for Afghanistan and it happened pretty much the same. Mohammad Nabi kept battling towards the end, but Mohammed Shami bowled fabulously picking up a staggering hat-trick to help India register an emphatic victory.
While Jasprit Bumrah received the man of the match award in the game for his game-influencing bowling, his opening partner Mohammed Shami had an unforgettable outing too. The pacer, who was playing his first match of the World Cup replacing an injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar, picked up four wickets for only 40 runs and three of those came in successive balls in the tension-filled final over of the day.
Afghanistan required 16 runs to script their maiden win in this edition but Shami, after conceding a boundary, took three in three to become the second India bowler with a World Cup hat-trick. “Simple plan. He is a bowler, there was only one option – to bowl a yorker on the stumps. Mahi bhai also said the same thing, don’t try to change anything. You have a great chance of getting a hat-trick, such chances are very rare, you have to do the same thing. I did that and I’m very happy that I got the hat-trick,” Mohammed Shami was quoted as saying by News18.
You had to just execute your plans
Shami first removed the dangerous Mohammad Nabi (52) who was caught by Hardik Pandya at the boundary while trying to clear the ropes and then polished off the two tail-ending batsmen Aftab Alam and Mujeeb Ur Rahman. With this history was created for India at the World Cup after 32 years as the last Indian bowler to take a hat-trick at the global event was Chetan Sharma who did it against New Zealand in Nagpur.
That hat-trick of 1987 was the first-ever in the World Cup while Shami was the 10th man to achieve the same. Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga is the only bowler to have taken two hat-tricks in the World Cup (2007 and 2011). Shami said there was nothing much to think about when he came to bowl the final over. With 16 needed in six balls, “you had to just execute your plans,” he said later.