Mohammed Shami dismantled New Zealand’s chase with a wonderful seven-wicket haul, and the Indian pacer on Wednesday said he was trying to take the pace off the ball to force the batters into their shots. Shami’s 7 for 57 was the best figures by an Indian bowler in the marquee event, and the 33-year-old also completed 50 wickets in the tournament from just 17 games. With 23 scalps in six matches, Shami has currently registered most wickets in World Cup 2023.
“We talk a lot about variations, but I still believe in pitching it up and getting wickets with the new ball. But the focus was to try and take the pace off, see if they’re hitting it in the air. It was a chance we had to take,” said Shami, who bagged the player of the match award, in the post-match presentation.
However, Shami admitted that the Indians were a bit worried about the dew factor in the evening.
“The wicket was very good, lots of runs were scored in the afternoon. There was some fear of dew, the grass had been shaved off from the wicket.
“If dew was there, it skids on and there’s a chance runs could’ve been made,” he added.
Shami found a place in the playing 11 after an injury to Hardik Pandya, and the pacer said he was waiting for his chance to make an entry into the side.
“I was waiting for my chances. I didn’t play a lot of white-ball cricket. My return started against New Zealand (in Dharamsala),” he said.
However, Shami added that he felt terrible dropping New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, and was relieved that his lapse did not hurt India.
However, all’s well that ends well and Shami said it felt amazing to enter the World Cup final.
“It feels amazing. During the last two World Cups, we lost in the semifinals. Who knows when or if we’ll get a chance (to play another WC), so we wanted to do everything for this.
“This one chance we didn’t want to let go. Everything for this,” he concluded.
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