We are just past the halfway mark in the 2019 ICC World Cup and we continue to witness some outstanding individual efforts by the stars of the 10 participating nations.
The ongoing tournament has already thrown up some unbelievable individual displays in the past month – be it with the bat, the ball or in the field.
Saturday’s double-header in the World Cup was no different with New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson slamming his second consecutive ton of the competition in a record innings against the Windies.
However, the day belonged to Mohammed Shami who picked up a sensational hat-trick to help India edge past Afghanistan by 11 runs in a thriller of a clash at Southampton.
We have been compiling all the special individual moments in the tournament so far and Shami’s remarkable feat sees the India pacer become the latest to feature in this section.
India were expected to have it easy against Afghanistan but the tournament minnows had the Men in Blue on the ropes after restricting them to just 224-8 with the bat.
Afghanistan’s run-chase had been a brave one and 12 runs were required for a win off the final three deliveries bowled by Shami.
The India pacer first removed the well-set Mohammad Nabi with a fuller delivery in the fourth ball of the over before castling the stumps of Aftab Alam off the very next ball.
Mujeeb ur Rahman took guard for the hat-trick ball but the Afghan spinner lost his stumps in the same fashion with Shami hitting the bulls-eye again.
What a way to end it @MdShami11! 🎩🎩🎩— ICC (@ICC) June 22, 2019
Nabi c Pandya b Shami
Alam b Shami
Ur Rahman b Shami
India take an absolute thriller by 11 runs.
Watch the winning (and hat-trick) moment here!#INDvAFG | #TeamIndia | #CWC19 pic.twitter.com/q9fYvcR56z
WHY IT WAS SPECIAL
It was only the second hat-trick picked by an Indian bowler in the World Cup and it came at a very important stage. Chetan Sharma was the first Indian to do so with the pacer performing the feat in the 1987 edition.
On Saturday, Nabi had kept Afghanistan afloat in the chase with a superb half-century and the all-rounder possesses all the tools in the book to land some big blows with the bat. His dismissal by Shami off the fourth ball of the last over all but ended Afghanistan’s hopes of pulling off a shock upset.
The hat-trick was the icing on the cake for Shami and India but the Nabi wicket was pivotal. Shami is now the fourth Indian bowler to pick up an ODI hat-trick after Chetan Sharma, Kapil Dev and Kuldeep Yadav.
There have now been a total of 10 hat-tricks in the World Cups with Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga accounting for two of them.
What an amazing win tonight ! Many congratulations team India. Superb performance by Mohammed Shami @MdShami11— Amit Mishra (@MishiAmit) June 22, 2019
Hat-trick-Shami to finish it off. How many teams would have finished the game so clinically. Well done India.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) June 22, 2019
Muhammad Shami gets a hat-trick as India beats Afghanistan in a nail biter at the World Cup of Cricket.— Tarek Fatah (@TarekFatah) June 22, 2019
A hat-trick and that too on the last ball and at a World Cup match. What a historic performance. This is cricket. And an incredible challenge by Afghanistan. #INDvAFG pic.twitter.com/oaUjTtxT9L
Afghanistan nearly pulled of an incredible 2019 World Cup win before some incredible death bowling by Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami helped seal a tense 11-run victory for India in Southampton on Saturday.
India batted first but found the going incredibly tough on a slow pitch and outstanding bowling from Afghanistan spinners saw Virat Kohli team crawl to 224-8.
Captain Kohli was the sole exception as he looked in complete control during his 63-ball 67 but every other batsman struggled for timing and placement as India failed to score more than 50 runs in any 10-over block.
Mystery spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman was the star of the show with the ball, giving away just 26 runs while star leg-spinner Rashid Khan bounced back after a record thrashing by England with superb figures of 1-38 against the Indians.
In reply, Afghanistan tried to keep up with the scoring rate even as India’s bowlers maintained a tight line. However, a double wicket maiden in the 29th over by Jasprit Bumrah opened the game up as Afghanistan were reduced to 106-4.
However, all-rounder Mohammed Nabi wasn’t done as he followed a brilliant day with the ball (2-33) with an excellent 52 from 55 balls to take the match right to the final over.
However, with 16 runs needed for win, it was a bridge too far as Shami bowled a sensational final over and once Nabi was caught at long-on, Shami (4-40) completed a hat-trick by nailing the yorkers to rattle the stumps of the tailenders.
It was only the second World Cup hat-trick by an Indian bowler after Chetan Sharma.
Tricky pitches reduce gap between teams
As was the case in the Sri Lanka-England game in Headingley on Friday, a tricky pitch reduced the gap between the teams drastically on Saturday.
The surface offered no pace while the ball gripped and had a tennis ball bounce. All batsmen struggled to get the ball off the surface as Afghanistan’s four-pronged spin attack had the Indian batsmen at their mercy.
Even in the death overs, India simply could not send the spinners to the boundary as 34 overs of spin went for just 119 runs for five wickets.
Shami will take the headlines for the hat-trick, but it was the penultimate over from Bumrah - in which he conceded just five - that gave Afghanistan too much to do. Exceptional death bowling, only missing his yorker once. #CWC19 #IndvAfg pic.twitter.com/myGITfeiMP— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) June 22, 2019
On a pitch where it was the slower bowlers who got maximum purchase, Bumrah was operating on different level. Going short and testing the middle of a slow pitch, Bumrah burst the game open with a double wicket maiden just as Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi were taking the Afghans closer to the total.
That 29th over helped India pull things back and brought in two new batsman to the crease. Then, as he was brought back in the death, Bumrah gave away just five runs in the 49th over to change the equation from 21 off 12 to 16 off six.
2 – Shami became just the second Indian bowler to pick up a World Cup hat-trick. Also, it extends India’s unbeaten run in this World Cup and takes their incredible record going back to the 2011 World Cup to just two defeats across three World Cups.
Jos Buttler has warned England’s batsmen cannot afford to repeat the timid performance that saw them crash to a surprise World Cup defeat against Sri Lanka.
A heavily stacked batting line-up came undone in the face of a modest chase at Headingley, bowled out for 212 as the underdogs landed a stirring 20-run win.
England have made a habit of reeling in far bigger totals in recent years and have already flexed their muscles with four scores north of 300 in the previous five games.
The only time they did not reach that landmark was against the West Indies, when they romped to their target of 213 in less than 34 overs.
The house came crashing down in Leeds, though, Joe Root’s battling 57 and Ben Stokes’ undefeated 82 the only real innings of substance in an unusually stodgy outing.
“I think we lacked energy with the bat. I think we were a little bit passive as a group, which is what we haven’t been for a long time with the bat,” said Buttler, who made just 10 before becoming the last of four wickets for veteran paceman Lasith Malinga.
“That is the most frustrating thing, to lose that intensity. That doesn’t just mean hitting fours and sixes, that means showing intensity and trying to put pressure back on the bowlers.
“It’s more about strike rotation and showing that energy. As a mindset, we weren’t at our best.”
Buttler understands that England will need to be right back up to speed for their next game, against rivals Australia at the home of cricket. Anything less would risk a third loss and leave the hosts vulnerable to an early exit.
“That game will bring lots of intensity – England-Australia games are always big games and it’s at a fantastic ground at Lord’s,” he said.
“This result will hurt for a few days but we’ll get ready for the next game.”
Whether dynamic opener Jason Roy is back to bolster the batting order remains to be seen. He has missed the last two fixtures with a torn hamstring and has yet to return to training.
His deputy, James Vince, has proved a downgrade thus far and a return to fitness for the Surrey man is fast becoming a priority.
“As a group we didn’t have that intensity and obviously Jason is a guy who naturally does that,” admitted Buttler.
“But it’s not just him, we can all do that from one to 11 so, as a side, that is the most disappointing thing – that we have played in a certain way for a long period of time and we went away from that.”
Provided by Press Association Sports