Men’s ODI WC: Shami’s got class and so much experience; he used the conditions well, says Rohit Sharma

Fast-bowler Mohammed Shami’s superb 5-54 in his first match of the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup was instrumental in India limiting New Zealand to 273, setting the base for a four-wicket win at the HPCA Stadium.

Fast-bowler Mohammed Shami’s superb 5-54 in his first match of the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup was instrumental in India limiting New Zealand to 273, setting the base for a four-wicket win at the HPCA Stadium.

Shami, who took four wickets in the last ten overs, also became the first Indian bowler to take a five-wicket haul twice in Men’s ODI World Cups.

India skipper Rohit Sharma heaped rich praise on Shami’s superlative performance, saying the veteran pacer has got class and lots of experience while using the conditions to good effect.

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“Good start to the tournament but the job is half done. Shami took the opportunity with both hands. He’s got class and so much experience and he used the conditions really well. At one stage NZ put up a big partnership there. Dew came in as well. But we have to give credits to the bowlers in the back end,” said Rohit in the post-match presentation ceremony.

In reply, all of India’s batters got starts, but Virat Kohli dropped anchor and steered the run-chase to usual perfection with eight fours and two sixes. He also ran hard to pick 43 singles and four twos as India chased down 274 with two overs to spare and maintained its unbeaten run in the tournament, while also getting its first win over New Zealand in the tournament after 20 years.

Kohli was also supported by Ravindra Jadeja’s 39 not out at the end, who hit the winning boundary to make it five wins out of five matches for India.

“Shubman and I compliment each other quite well in the middle. Couldn’t get big enough runs ourselves but happy to win,” said the India skipper.

“Nothing much to say about Virat. We’ve seen him do this for so many years. He backs himself to do the job. Towards the end, there was a bit of pressure with a few wickets lost, but Kohli and Jadeja took us home,” added Rohit.

Jadeja fielded well but gave Rachin Ravindra a life at 12, and the batter eventually made 75. India also saw some dropped catches from KL Rahul and Jasprit Bumrah, with Rohit admitting that the team’s fielding standard wasn’t up to their liking.

“Fielding is something we pride ourselves on. It wasn’t as clinical as we’d like it to. A couple of dropped catches but those guys are good, Jadeja is among the best in the game. We love travelling and playing in different parts of the country. So far we have not been disappointed and we have not disappointed the crowd as well.”

Shami had a perfect start on his first ball of the match when Will Young chopped onto his stumps. He then returned in the last 20 overs of the innings, using yorkers and fuller deliveries to good effect, to take out Rachin Ravindra, Daryll Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, and Matt Henry.

A good start was important, says Shami

On getting the Player of the Match award, Shami said doing well at the start was primary for him to get the much-needed confidence.

“When you come back after a long time to the XI it is important to get confidence early. That first game helped me get that confidence. It’s not too hard (waiting by the sidelines) if your team is doing well.”

“They are your teammates and if they are doing well then you should be supporting them. If it’s in the team’s interest, I’m okay with it. The wickets are important because we were top 2 teams of the World Cup and were playing,” he added.

Now on top of the points table with 10 points from five wins, India will have a six-day break before taking on defending champions England at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium on October 29.

(IANS)

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