India dismantle Sri Lanka to book semifinal spot at Cricket World Cup

November 03, 2023 in Sports

MUMBAI, India (AP) — India became the first team to secure a semifinal spot at the Cricket World Cup after Mohammed Siraj bowled a stellar opening spell to help the hosts dismantle Sri Lanka for a 302-run win on Thursday.

Siraj took three wickets for nought in the first seven balls as Sri Lanka lost their first four wickets for just three runs within 19 deliveries.

Mohammed Shami then took four wickets in three overs in his opening spell, as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 55 runs in 19.4 overs. That was after Shubman Gill’s 92 and a quick-fire 82 off 56 balls from Shreyas Iyer helped India reach 357-8. It was the second biggest margin of victory by runs in World Cup history after Australia beat Netherlands by 309 runs last week.

Shami finished with 5-18 in five overs, his second five-wicket haul in this tournament. Siraj finished with 3-16 in seven overs.

Virat Kohli also scored 88 runs, and he and Gill put on 189 for India’s second wicket. It was the highest team score without an individual hundred in a World Cup.

India rose atop the points’ table with a perfect record after seven games and are the only unbeaten side in the tournament. They will play their semifinal at the same venue on Nov. 15, unless they meet archrival Pakistan in the last four — in which case the game would be played in Kolkata on Nov. 16.

“I am very happy knowing that we have officially qualified now. It has been a good effort from the squad since we started off in Chennai,” India skipper Rohit Sharma said. “That was our goal – to qualify first and then to be in the semis and the finals. The way we have approached these seven games … it has been quite clinical.”

With a fifth defeat in seven games, Sri Lanka still have a mathematical chance of reaching the semifinals by winning their remaining two games, but will also need other results going their way.

Siraj’s stunning opening spell began with Jasprit Bumrah sending back opener Pathum Nissanka for a first-ball duck, out lbw. He then trapped Dimuth Karunaratne lbw for a golden duck, Sadeera Samarawickrama was caught at slip for a four-ball duck, while Kusal Mendis was bowled for one run.

The scorecard read an astonishing 3-4 after 3.1 overs — the joint lowest total for the top four batters in ODIs, matching Pakistan’s one run against West Indies in 2015.

Sri Lanka’s problems weren’t over yet, as India deployed Shami at the other end and he picked up three wickets in his first nine deliveries.

Charith Asalanka was out for one, while Dushan Hemantha and Dushmantha Chameera were caught behind without troubling the scorers.

Only Angelo Mathews managed more than a run amongst the first eight batsmen, and then reached double digits, scoring 12 off 25 balls.

The 1996 champions were down to 14 runs for six wickets in 9.4 overs. It became 22-7 in 11.3 overs, and Shami then bowled Mathews to make it 29-8 in 13.1 overs. Five Sri Lankan batsmen were out for a duck, and only three managed to reach double digits.

Shami picked up his fifth wicket as Kasun Rajitha was caught at slip, making him India’s leading bowler in World Cups with 45 wickets. He went past Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan, both with 44 wickets.

Shami was named player of the match.

“Our bowling is in good shape … with this kind of rhythm, everyone is enjoying bowling,” Shami said. “We are bowling as a unit and that’s the kind of result you get to see.”

Put into bat, India had made a poor start as Dilshan Madushanka stunned the Wankhede into silence by bowling Sharma for four off the second ball of the Indian innings.

India could have been in further trouble as both Gill and Kohli were dropped across three deliveries. But the duo didn’t give a sniff to the Sri Lanka bowlers after that as Kohli got to a run-a-ball 50, with Gill scoring 50 off 55 balls. Their 100-run partnership came off 98 balls.

Kohli set the pace initially, but slowed down as he approached a record hundred. At the other end, Gill increased his pace and hit some choice boundaries to regale the weekday crowd.

The young opener was out when he tried to ramp a short delivery to the boundary and was caught behind in the 30th over.

Madushanka got the breakthrough and two overs later sent back Kohli as well — a slower delivery inducing the batsman to a false shot — out caught at short cover.

Gill had hit 11 fours and two sixes, while Kohli hit 11 fours. It brought Iyer and Lokesh Rahul to the crease and they put on 60 off 47 balls for the fourth wicket.

India lost their way a bit in the middle overs as Rahul was out caught for 21, while Suryakumar Yadav was out for 12. He was Madushanka’s fifth wicket as the pacer finished with 5-80, the second most expensive five-wicket haul in ODIs.

Iyer, though, held one end together by bringing up 50 off 36 balls. He put on 57 off 36 balls with Ravindra Jadeja, who scored 35 off 24 balls.

Overall, Iyer hit three fours and six sixes to help India cross 350, but missed the chance to score a World Cup hundred on his home ground.