Mohammed Shami wasn’t supposed to be in Australia. He hasn’t played a single T20I since the last World Cup in Qatar, and he was nowhere in the plan in the build-up. But when Jasprit Bumrah got ruled out due to a back stress injury, the first name that India could think of as his replacement was Shami. The decision to include him wasn’t very pleasing to the Indian fans, and some strong words were directed against him.
While the real game starts only on 23 October, Shami’s match-winning performance against Australia in the warm-up game is a start as good as it gets. Shami came to bowl when the game was heavily skewed in the favour of Australia but kept his composure and put up a neat display to restrict them six runs off the target.
It was surprising to see Shami bowling the last over, as he hadn’t bowled before in the entire game. Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Hardik Pandya, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar had bowled three overs each, and it was expected from someone among them to bowl the final over. But Rohit Sharma put his faith in Shami, and the latter didn’t disappoint either.
He conceded four runs off his first two balls, but each of the next four balls yielded a wicket. Pat Cummins was the first to depart, after his powerful shot over long-on was interrupted by a sensational effort from Virat Kohli, who not only timed his jump to perfection but also ensured that he doesn’t step onto the boundary rope in his follow-through.
Ashton Agar, the next victim, got run out, and Australia now needed seven runs off two balls, a target not entirely out of their grasp. But Shami didn’t miss a beat while executing yorkers, and he got rid of Josh Inglis and Kane Richardson to seal the game for India.
As far as others are concerned, Arshdeep Singh has had an uncharacteristically bad day, where he conceded 34 runs in three overs. Harshal Patel was a bit expensive in his first two overs but stepped up in the 19th over, conceding just five runs to stretch the match to the last over.
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