Fans couldn’t have asked for a better performance from Team India in the Asia Cup final, a contest that was over in just 21.3 overs. Mohammed Siraj led India’s charge against co-host Sri Lanka in the summit clash at Colombo as he finished with figures reading 6/21 in 7 overs. His efforts rocked Sri Lanka right from the word go, not allowing any room to them to recover from the early damage.
Apart from Siraj, his new ball partner Jasprit Bumrah scalped one wicket, while Hardik Pandya claimed three wickets. The top-notch performance by the pacers helped India fold Sri Lanka for 50 in 15.2 overs, a target which India chased down 6.1 overs and won the match by 10 wickets.
Siraj in the process also matched a two-decade old world record set by Sri Lanka legend Chaminda Vaas. The duo have took 16 balls, which is the least by any bowler, to claim a five-wicket haul in the ODIs. Vaas had achieved the milestone against Bangladesh in the 2003 World Cup.
Siraj’s brilliance, however, was not limited to the pitch as he won several hearts following the match with a priceless gesture dedicated to the groundsmen. The pacer, who was named Player of the Match, during the post-match presentation gave away his prize money to the groundstaffs, acknowledging their efforts in making the Asia Cup 2023 successful despite imminent rain threats.
“This cash prize goes to the groundsmen. This tournament wouldn’t have been possible without them,” said Siraj.
The Asia Cup matches in Sri Lanka were hit by rain on several occasions, with the first India vs Pakistan clash in the group stage producing no result. Similar scenes were expected in the Super 4 stage but sheer dedication by groundstaffs ensured the tournament didn’t witness any further hiccups.
My best spell: Siraj
Siraj also noted his performance as his “best spell”. Sharing the new ball duties with Bumrah, the pacer started his spell with a maiden and went to pick four wickets in his next over. He then completed his five-wicket haul in his third over, before adding one more wicket to his tally.
“Have been bowling well since a long time. Was missing the edges earlier but found them today.
“The wicket was seaming earlier, but there was swing today. Thought that I will bowl fuller because of the swing. My best spell,” said Siraj during the post-match presentation ceremony.