The hosts piled up 357 for 8, thanks to polished knocks from Shubman Gill 92 (92b, 11×4, 2×6) and Virat Kohli 88 (94b, 11×4) (both were dropped on 8 and 10 respectively), and a hurricane 82 (56b, 3×4, 5×6) by Shreyas Iyer, after being put into bat by Sri Lankan skipper Kusal Mendis.
Then, Man-of-the-Match Mohammed Shami (5-1-18-5) and Mohammed Siraj (7-2-16-3), in a seam bowling clinic, blew Sri Lanka away to dismiss them for 55 in 19.4 overs. India ran up victors by 302 runs to post their seventh win on the trot. With 14 points, they are now the first team in the semis.
Getting generous amount of seam on a beautiful cricket wicket that had carry and getting movement in the humid evening air, Siraj trapped Dimuth Karunaratne lbw first ball as the left-hander fell over. He then got Sadeera Samarawickrama to feel at an away-going delivery and Iyer at third slip pouched the offering.
‘Chak de India!’ India scores tremendous victory against Sri Lanka, cricket fans on cloud nine
His next wicket, that off Mendis, was dreamy stuff. Getting the ball to angle in from over the wicket, Siraj pitched it on middle, on a length, and got it to straighten. Mendis prodded and missed, and the ball hit the off pole.
Jasprit Bumrah had started the Lankan slide by dismissing Sri Lanka’s man in form Pathhum Nissanka lbw through an umpire’s call off the first ball of the innings.
Sri Lanka’s innings, that was tottering at 3 for 4, slipped into further chaos when Mohammed Shami got two wickets in two balls – putting Asalanka out of his misery by getting him caught by Ravindra Jadeja at point and getting Dushan Hemantha caught behind first ball.
After the end of 10 overs, Sri Lanka were 14 for 6, the lowest powerplay score in World Cup history. Had this been a boxing match, the referee would have stopped the contest.
Shami though was hungry to throw in more punches. He got one to lift that Dushmantha Chameera gloved and KL Rahul convinced the captain and bowler to go for the referral after the umpire had ruled it as a wide. He then produced a perfect full inswinger that tempted Angelo Mathews to go for the drive and hit the stumps. Sri Lanka were 29 for 8. Only some late order hitting by Maheesh Theekshana and Kasun Rajitha ensured Sri Lanka got past the 50 mark.
Sri Lanka’s struggles with the bat though should not mislead us into believing that the Wankhede pitch was a minefield. Though Rohit must have felt it was one when an off-cutter from left-arm-seamer Dilshan Madhushanka, gripped the surface after pitching on middle-stump and uprooted the off-pole.
Kohli and Gill attacked Theekshana, cutting him through point to get India moving. They also milked the leg-spinner Hemantha, who replaced the struggling Dhananjay De Silva, as they competed to get to 50 first.
As India got into a safe zone, Gill started chancing his arm and hit Chameera and Hemantha for sixes to close in on triple figures. Madhushanka, the top-wicket-taker in the tournament, used the slower one well to dismiss both Gill and Kohli within three runs.
Iyer then went into turbo mode, hitting sixes at will and adding useful runs with KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja to ensure that India got a big score, despite a Madhushanka five-for.
The way Siraj and Shami bowled, it proved to be more than enough.