In another impressive display of fast bowling, Bumrah, Siraj, and Shami demonstrated why they are India’s most formidable trio of pace bowlers in white-ball cricket.
THIS Indian team, powered by its formidable Indian fast bowlers, is scary,” remarked Chandika Hathurusingha, the Sri Lankan coach of the Bangladesh team, a few weeks ago, using an adjective rarely associated with the Indian cricket team. Historically, terms like “scary” were used to describe teams like the West Indies in the 1970s and early ’80s, and later, Australia, not India, especially in a World Cup. However, Hathurusingha’s assessment has proven to be accurate, as the Indian team exudes an air of intimidation in this tournament.
Their confidence is undeniable. They don’t need elaborate marketing to build excitement; they can simply announce “Come watch India bowl,” and fans will flock to witness their fast bowling prowess. Their remarkable feat of dismissing Sri Lanka for just 50 runs in the Asia Cup final was a testament to their dominance, and on this occasion, they conceded only five runs more.
All of this came after a brilliant performance by Indian batsmen. Shubman Gill (92), Virat Kohli (88), and Shreyas Iyer (82) appeared destined for centuries but fell short. Nevertheless, the result was inconsequential, as India won by a staggering 302 runs, marking the fourth-largest victory margin in ODI history. This victory propelled India to a perfect record of 7 wins in 7 games, securing their place as the first team to reach the semi-finals on home turf.
Some of the longtime followers of Indian cricket may find themselves unprepared for this entirely new cricketing experience.
In the stands, there were bewildered expressions, as people struggled to absorb the astonishing reality of it all. It almost felt too good to be true.
While there may be some jitters leading up to the semi-finals, any concerns are likely to revolve more around statistical probabilities evening out rather than fearing a cricketing collapse.
The crowd at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle, especially in the company of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. The morning had begun with chants of “Sacheen, Sacheen” as he graced the ground to display the glittering trophy before their eyes. The evening saw resounding gasps and joyful cheers as Indian bowlers outperformed their neighbors.
At one point during the intense climax, the cameras captured Tendulkar seated alongside his former teammate and the current chief selector, Ajit Agarkar. Tendulkar playfully imitated a bouncy delivery, dramatically flicking his fingers as if bowling an imaginary ball, much like how children playfully simulate cricket in their everyday lives. The crowd was captivated and thrilled when they saw this playful exchange on the big screen.
Some die-hard fans of Indian cricket may find themselves caught off guard by this entirely new cricketing experience. In the stands, you could see baffled expressions as people grappled with the sheer incredibility of it all. It was almost too good to believe.
As we approach the semi-finals, there might be some nervousness, but it’s more likely to be about the law of averages evening things out rather than any fears of a cricketing catastrophe.
The crowd at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium had an absolute blast, especially with the presence of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar.
The day began with resounding chants of “Sacheen, Sacheen” as he proudly displayed the sparkling trophy before their eyes. The evening was filled with gasps and exuberant cheers as Indian bowlers outshone their opponents.
During a particularly intense moment, the cameras caught Tendulkar sitting alongside his former teammate and the current chief selector, Ajit Agarkar. Tendulkar playfully mimicked a bouncing delivery, theatrically flicking his fingers as if bowling an imaginary ball, much like how children playfully simulate cricket in their daily lives. The crowd felt captivated and thrilled when they watched this lighthearted exchange on the big screen.
The intimidation factor of this Indian pace unit is both cerebral and skillful, akin to the legendary West Indian bowlers. Michael Holding once shared with The Indian Express, “They thought all we needed to do was run up and bowl fast or short or whatever. That’s what irks me the most. I tell them to go check the scorebook: how many were LBW, bowled, caught in slips, or whatever. It’s as if they don’t want to credit our thinking. I have never seen more intelligent and craftier bowlers than Andy (Roberts) and Malcolm (Marshall).”
Such dismissive stereotypes will no longer subject Indians; their skills are garnering well-deserved recognition and will continue to be a topic of discussion for years to come. The evidence is in Bumrah’s very first delivery. His front arm, as always, extended farther than most bowlers, angled inward, directing the ball towards Sri Lankan opener Pathum Nissanka.
Understandably, the angle and trajectory led Nissanka to anticipate an incoming delivery. However, he failed to decipher Bumrah’s deceptive fingerwork. The ball swiftly veered away, catching Nissanka off guard, leaving him in an awkward predicament. Caught off balance and squared up, he silently watched as the ball trapped him in front.
Siraj’s first delivery was a real stunner.
The left-handed Dimuth Karunaratne clearly wasn’t ready for such wizardry right from the start. The full length and the late inward movement left him rooted to the spot, resembling a sitting duck as the ball struck his pads.
Ever since Shami rose to become India’s premier fast bowler, he has sparked a nationwide fascination among children, making them marvel at the glistening thread that stitches the cricket ball together. Shami’s fourth wicket, which marked the end of Sri Lanka’s solitary resistance in Angelo Mathews, was a sight to behold. It was a full-throttle inswinger, curving vigorously like a crashing wave, ultimately shattering the stumps.
Siraj eloquently summed up his fellow fast bowler’s prowess: “Don’t speak about Shami bhai… he’s a legend. Even if you wake him from his slumber, he’ll still deliver a perfect line and length. We were setting up the batsmen, and he came in and cleaned up.”
Captain Rohit Sharma succinctly encapsulated their performance: “Consecutive outstanding performances highlight the seamers’ capabilities; they can swing the ball both ways. When there’s assistance from the pitch, they become exceptionally lethal.”