When New Zealand looked to be threatening India’s mammoth total of 397/4 in the semi-final, Shami came on to take Kane Williamson’s (69) wicket that proved to be the game-changing moment.The right-arm pacer continued to breathe fire, taking his career-best figures of 7/57, which also made him the fastest to 50 wickets in ODI World Cups.
Centurion Daryl Mitchell (134) was the last hope for the Kiwis, but he too had no answer to Shami’s fury.
Shami broke Australian pacer Mitchell Starc’s mark of 19 matches for 50 wickets in ODI World Cups. Shami has done it in 17 matches and is also the first Indian bowler to take 50 wickets in the showpiece tournament. It was also his fourth five-wicket haul in World Cups, which is also a new record.
Speaking about Shami on the news channel ‘A Sports’, former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq lauded the Indian pacer’s skills, especially his ability to trouble the left-handers from around the wicket.
“Special cheez jo hai, ke left-handers ko woh around the wicket aate hain to aankhein band kar ke aap samjhein ke bas wicket jaane wali hai (when he bowls around the wicket to left-handers, a wicket is round the corner),” said Misbah.
Fast-bowling legend Wasim Akram, who is also a former Pakistan captain, said he enjoys watching Shami bowl.
“I do enjoy looking at him (Shami), the way he bowls, like Misbah said, straight away around the wicket to left-handers, seam, always asking questions and his deliveries finish within the stumps,” said Akram.
Interestingly, Shami was not part of India’s initial plans until he got a chance in the playing XI following all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s ankle injury in the match against Bangladesh.
But it turned into a blessing in disguise for the home team as he has gone on to take 23 wickets in just six matches at an average of 9.13.