Right-arm Indian fast bowler Mohammed Shami felt that he had enough runs in the last over to execute his plans to defend the match during India’s World Cup tie against Afghanistan. India won the thrilling contest by 11 runs in Southampton on Saturday.
Chasing a paltry 225, Afghanistan needed 21 off the last 12 balls and they had their set batsman Mohammad Nabi at the crease who was looking dangerous for the Team India. However, India’s ace pacer Jasprit Bumrah — Man of the Match for Saturday’s encounter — bowled brilliantly in the penultimate over, thanks to his toe-crushing yorkers, and gave just five runs. This left Shami with 16 runs to defend at The Rose Bowl cricket ground.
Mohammed Shami, who was playing his first match of the ongoing tournament, was hitting the deck harder at knots with great precision in the final over and picked up a hat-trick to bowl out Afghanistan 12 runs short of the target.
“You (Bumrah) left me enough runs to defend in the final over. 21 runs were needed from the last two overs and I was pretty confident that Bumrah will leave sufficient runs for me,” Shami said during a conversation with Bumrah after the match.
“The runs allowed me to execute my plans well. I really enjoyed my bowling with you as we were bowling together after quite some time,” he added.
Meanwhile, Shami became the second Indian bowler to take a World Cup hat-trick after Chetan Sharma who had achieved the feat playing against New Zealand in the 1987 edition of the showpiece event.
Talking on his hat-trick, Shami said, “It felt really nice. As you said, it’s always difficult to take a hat-trick and that too in a World Cup. I want to thank god. I just wish that we achieve many more accomplishments like this playing together.”
The 28-year-old bowler was included in the playing XI in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar who has been recovering from a hamstring injury. Shami’s inclusion came in as a blessing in disguise for the Indian camp as the pacer returned with the figures of 4 for 40 in 9.5 overs.
While speaking about his initial burst against Afghanistan during the second innings, Shami said: “Initially we both bowled really well as it was seaming. In the middle overs, however, we leaked a few runs as the spinners were bowling and they had a good partnership.”
“But I was confident that the last 10 overs, which were bowled by both of us would be the best for the team,” he added.
Talking about his contribution, the Uttar Pradesh-lad said, “It felt really nice to come out with such a performance and win such a tough game for the team. There can be no better feeling than playing for the country and I am happy I was able to give my 100 per cent and contribute to India’s victory.”