India win Asia Cup for record-extending 8th time after Mohammed Siraj picks 6 for 21 against Sri Lanka
In a lopsided showdown in the Asia Cup 2023 final, India triumphed over Sri Lanka to claim their eighth championship title. This victory marked India’s return to glory in the tournament, having last secured the title in 2018. The Sunday showdown in Colombo witnessed a remarkable performance by Mohammed Siraj, who wreaked havoc upon the Sri Lankan batting lineup, ultimately bowling them out for a mere 50 runs. This total represented the lowest ODI team score ever recorded against India.
India’s pursuit of the modest target of 51 runs against Sri Lanka was a formality, with the outcome almost certain once Mohammed Siraj’s devastating spell unraveled Sri Lanka’s batting order. Captain Dasun Shanaka’s decision to bat first after winning the toss seemed ill-fated as Sri Lanka’s batsmen appeared baffled, with five of them failing to score a single run.
India efficiently reached the target in just 6.1 overs, clinching the final with an astounding 263 balls to spare while keeping all ten wickets intact. This victory marked India’s most emphatic margin of victory in terms of balls remaining, surpassing their previous record set against Kenya in 2001 when they chased down a target of 91 with 231 balls remaining.
Notably, Ishan Kishan was promoted up the batting order to open alongside Shubman Gill. Despite an initial drizzle causing a 40-minute delay, Jasprit Bumrah was quick to make an impact, dismissing Kusal Perera in the very first over. However, the real star of the match was Mohammed Siraj, who produced an exceptional display of fast bowling in the subcontinent.
Siraj achieved the remarkable feat of taking four wickets in just six balls, sending Pathum Nissanka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, and Dhananjaya de Silva back to the pavilion. In his subsequent over, he dismissed Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka, making him the joint-fastest bowler to achieve a five-wicket haul in one-day internationals, accomplishing this feat in a mere 2.4 overs.
Mohammed Siraj’s figures of 6 for 21 now rank as the fourth-best by an Indian bowler in ODIs, following Stuart Binny (6 for 4), Anil Kumble (6 for 12), and Jasprit Bumrah (6 for 19). Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s total of 50 runs represents their second-lowest score in ODIs and the lowest ever recorded by any team against India in one-day internationals.
Despite their impressive journey in the Asia Cup Cricket, where they reached the final after winning the Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka faltered in front of their home crowd. Their batsmen exhibited a lack of commitment and paid the price for questionable shot selection against two of the world’s premier pacers, Mohammed Siraj and Hardik Pandya. While Siraj dismantled the Sri Lankan top order, Hardik Pandya played his part by taking the last three wickets, including two in consecutive deliveries.