Colombo September 17 2023: India were crowned Asia Cup 2023 champions at the back of a dazzling fast bowling performance. Leading the effort was Mohammed Siraj, who ran through the Sri Lanka top-order in the final.
Sri Lanka were bowled out for merely 50 runs in 15.2 overs. This was their lowest total against India and the second-lowest total of all time. This was the fifth-shortest completed innings in terms of number of overs where a team has been bowled out.
In response, India chased down the target in merely 37 balls by 10 wickets. This is the largest victory for India, by the number of balls remaining in the innings and also the biggest defeat for Sri Lanka.
With this, India became the Asia Cup champions for the eighth time and kept the tag of being the most successful team in the tournament.
Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka called it right at the toss and chose to bat first. However, little went Sri Lanka’s way after the two sides walked off the park.
India’s bowlers took advantage of the overcast conditions and got the ball to zip around both ways. Jasprit Bumrah drew first blood, getting rid of Kusal Perera for a duck.
However, it was his new-ball spell partner, Siraj, who turned the game on its head.
He picked up four wickets in the fourth over of the game. He had Pathum Nissanka caught at point off the very first ball of the over. He followed it up with the wickets of Sadeera Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka off the third and fourth balls of the over respectively. Samarawickrama was trapped lbw, while Asalanka was caught in the covers.
Off the final delivery, he had Dhananjaya de Silva caught behind. He followed up this magical over with another wicket and cleaned up Shanaka in his very next over.
With this, he completed a five-for off merely 16 balls. This equals the world record for the quickest five-for (ever since ball-by-ball data became available). He shares this with Sri Lanka’s Chaminda Vaas, who had picked five wickets against Bangladesh off merely 16 balls in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2003.
Sri Lanka were 12/6 after Siraj’s effort and just when Kusal Mendis and Dunith Wellalage looked to stabilise, the fiery fast bowler struck again breaking the fledgling stand, taking his sixth wicket.
There was no coming back for Sri Lanka after that fiery spell and Hardik Pandya completed the formalities by bagging the final three wickets and finishing with figures of 3/3. All ten wickets in the Sri Lanka innings fell to the pacers.
Siraj finished with 6/21, the best figures for a fast bowler in the Asia Cup, with the previous best belonging to Aaqib Javed's 5/19 against India at Sharjah in 1995.
This is also the best performance by an Indian bowler in the event. The previous best was Arshad Ayub's 5/21 against Pakistan at Dhaka in 1988.