Colombo, Sep 17, 2023, IANS
In a stunning display of bowling mastery, Mohammed Siraj etched his name in the annals of cricket history by becoming only the second bowler ever to take a six-wicket haul in a men's ODI Asia Cup final. Siraj's sensational performance of 6-21 left Sri Lanka in tatters as India secured their eighth Asia Cup title with a resounding 10-wicket victory at the R. Premadasa Stadium on a rain-affected Sunday.
The match witnessed a delayed start due to inclement weather, but once play resumed at 3:40 pm, Siraj unleashed a devastating spell that will be remembered for years to come. The young Indian pacer extracted significant movement off the pitch, confounding Sri Lankan batters with his impeccable control and lethal variations. His career-best figures of 6-21 in seven overs included a remarkable four-wicket haul in his second over of the game.
Siraj's spellbinding performance saw him not only blow away the Sri Lankan top-order but also achieve a remarkable feat - becoming the first Indian bowler to claim four wickets in as many balls. His fiery pace partner, Hardik Pandya, chipped in with three crucial wickets, while Jasprit Bumrah added one to his tally. The Indian fast bowlers combined forces to dismantle the Sri Lankan batting lineup, restricting them to a mere 50 runs. This marked Sri Lanka's second-lowest ODI total ever and their lowest score against India in the history of Asia Cup encounters.
With a paltry target of 51 runs to chase, India's opening pair of Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill took the field with confidence. Gill set the tone by elegantly flicking Pramod Madushan for a boundary, while Kishan unleashed his aggression, smashing Matheesha Pathirana for consecutive fours.
Gill's exquisite strokeplay continued as he dominated Madhushan's deliveries, collecting three boundaries with ease. The partnership between Gill and Kishan flourished as they both added another boundary each off Pathirana. Gill's sublime drive off Dunith Wellalage showcased his class, and Kishan calmly secured the single that sealed India's emphatic victory in just 37 deliveries.
India's clinical performance in both batting and bowling underlined their dominance in the Asia Cup, securing their eighth title in style. Mohammed Siraj's remarkable six-wicket haul will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most extraordinary performances in the history of the tournament. (Edited)