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India decimate Sri Lanka in Mumbai : ICC 2023 World Cup : Dr Nilesh Mehta

ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023

As the echoes of their previous encounter at the ICC World Cup Finals resounded, Sri Lanka found themselves in a daunting situation against a commanding Indian team at the prestigious Wankhede Stadium. Fast-forwarding to the year 2023, India’s stellar performance in the tournament guarantees them for a semifinal berth, while Sri Lanka’s path to the ICC 2023 World Cup had been paved with qualifying challenges.

Despite facing hurdles in previous matches such as the absence of the talented Shubman Gill due to a mosquito-borne illness and Hardik Pandya’s sidelining as a result of an ankle injury, Team India continued their remarkable dominance, securing an impressive streak of six consecutive victories.

Following a humbling defeat to a resurgent Afghanistan squad, Sri Lanka found themselves on the brink of a “must-win” encounter against the formidable Indian side. Compounded by the absence of their skipper, Dasun Shanaka, the Sri Lankan team was grappling with a leadership void, with Kusal Mendis stepping up to don the captain’s armband in his absence.

India’s batting display set the stage for an exhilarating match, with captain Rohit Sharma providing a fiery start by dispatching the ball to the boundary of the very first delivery. However, the thrill quickly shifted as Sri Lankan bowler Dilshan Madushanka dismantled Sharma’s off-stump, granting Sri Lanka an electrifying initiation to the game. Adding to the drama, Dushmantha Chameera dropped a crucial catch during his follow-through, extending Virat Kohli’s stay at the crease when he had just reached ten runs. Kohli, the maestro, capitalized on Sri Lanka’s missed opportunity, although he fell short of reaching a century.

The 24-year-old Shubman Gill emerged as the standout performer of the day, displaying exceptional finesse on the offside as he crafted a masterful innings of 92 runs from 92 balls. Gill’s commanding partnership of 189 runs alongside Kohli further solidified India’s dominance. Shreyas Iyer, who had dedicated countless hours perfecting his pull shot in the nets, showcased his aggressive intent by smashing six thunderous sixes during his impressive knock of 82 runs off just 56 balls. In the post-match conference, Iyer responded assertively to criticisms, stating, “When you say it is a problem for me, what do you mean? Have you seen how many pull shots I’ve scored, especially those that have gone for a four? If you are trying to hit a ball, you are bound to get out anyway.” Iyer also placed blame on the media for creating misconceptions regarding his ability to handle short-pitched deliveries. When the dust settled, India concluded their innings at a formidable 357-8, having been put into bat by Sri Lanka.

Dilshan Madushanka emerged as the standout bowler for Sri Lanka, securing a remarkable five-wicket haul despite a couple of dropped catches. However, the Indian top-order batting, except for Rohit Sharma, contributed significantly to their team’s formidable total.

As Sri Lanka took to the crease, they faced a grim procession of batsmen against India’s formidable pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and Mohammed Shami. The trio’s relentless and venomous pace attack reduced Sri Lanka to a dire 14-5, leaving the opposition in disarray. This potent attack of India pace bowlers is being argued as the all time best. Amidst the thrilling cricketing action, a poignant moment unfolded when the crowd at Wankhede Stadium witnessed the legendary Muttiah Muralitharan, alongside Sachin Tendulkar, showing their support for the UNICEF initiative “One Day 4 Children.”

The spectators at Wankhede Stadium were treated to an enthralling display of batting prowess by India, followed by a sensational pace attack that showcased the team’s dominance on the field.

Dr Nilesh D Mehta
hiINDiA

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