Asia Cup: Siraj’s deadly six-wicket haul sets up India’s 8th title win

Colombo: Mohammed Siraj became only the second bowler to take six wickets in a men’s ODI Asia Cup final after Ajantha Mendis, as he picked a career-best 6-21 in a deadly spell to set up India’s eighth title with a ten-wicket thrashing of Sri Lanka at the R Premadasa Stadium here.

After play resumed, due to rain delaying the start, Siraj got massive help from movement off the pitch, making the ball talk both ways and leaving Sri Lanka batters bamboozled to pick a magnificent career-best 6-21 in seven overs, including four scalps coming in his second over of the game.

Apart from Siraj blowing away Sri Lankan batters and becoming first Indian bowler to take four wickets in an over, Hardik Pandya took three wickets while Jasprit Bumrah had a scalp to his name as the Indian fast-bowlers took all ten wickets in bowling out Sri Lanka for just 50, their second-lowest ODI total and the least they have scored in the format against India, as well as in the Asia Cup.

Bumrah gave India a dream start by enticing Kusal Perera to chase a wide, away-swinging delivery and the left-handed batter nicked behind to wicketkeeper K.L. Rahul moving to his left.

Siraj’s first over saw him bowl six outswingers and beat the batters four times, showcasing his accuracy and consistency, two constant pillars in him inflicting the perfect carnage on Sri Lankan batters, apart from varying his release points to bowl a nagging line and length.

On the first ball of his second over, Siraj bowled an outswinger yet again and Pathum Nissanka could drive only to backward point, who moved to his right to complete the catch. 

A dot ball later, Siraj trapped Sadeera Samawickrama lbw with a sharp nip-backer beating the inside edge and striking the batter in front of stumps.

On the very next ball, Charith Asalanka chipped the first ball he faced straight to cover point. Dhananjaya de Silva survived the hat-trick ball by punching Siraj past mid-on for four. But Siraj had the last laugh as de Silva pushed at an outswinger, giving a faint edge behind to take a catch.

Siraj grabbed his five-wicket haul in 16 balls by getting late movement at a fuller delivery to swing past Dasun Shanaka’s outside edge and sent the off-stump on a cartwheel ride. 

Siraj grabbed his sixth wicket by getting one to nip back in from outside off and castle Mendis through the gate, to grab the best figures by a fast-bowler in the men’s ODI Asia Cup.

Image courtesy of Mint

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