In the first real World Cup test, Shami enters legendary territory to help India overcome another '40 minutes of bad cricket'
Posted on November 16, 2023 by Alibaba

It almost happened again. Four years since that gut-wrenching defeat in Manchester, New Zealand has nearly put a dagger through the hearts of over a billion and a half Indians all over again. Despite putting a huge target as Virat Kohli scored a record 50th ODI century and bowed down to his hero Sachin Tendulkar, Shreyas Iyer's second World Cup hundred on the bounce, and India bludgeoning their way to the highest score ever by any team in any ICC tournament knockout. And still, New Zealand almost pulled off a well, New Zealand. The only team to reach the final of three ICC tournaments in the last eight years fought tooth and nail, almost enforcing on India another '40 minutes of bad cricket' before Mohammed Shami expressly derailed the Kiwi chase.

Shami once again turned saviour. He has delivered in this World Cup the bowling equivalent of Virender Sehwag's first-ball fours from 2011. He has struck in his first over five times in six games, twice against New Zealand. But after bossing over Devon Conway and then the in-form Rachin Ravindra in back-to-back overs, India were blindsided by Mitchell and Williamson. And that's when a sense of panic started to settle in the Indian camp.

Between 8:20 PM and 9, all sorts of things started to happen, which indicated another potential heartbreak. Too many inside edges for India's liking raced away to the boundary. Shami raised his hand and said no. This version of him is a far cry from the one that cut a frustrating picture of constantly straying on the pads and leaking boundaries years ago. There was no way he was going to let that drop catch be the image that is remembered as his last in World Cups.