India has made history by being the first team to secure a place in the Cricket World Cup semi-finals, thanks to a commanding 302-run victory over Sri Lanka, largely attributed to their formidable pace attack.
Early Dominance by Indian Bowlers
Jasprit Bumrah set the tone for the match by dismissing Pathum Nissanka, Sri Lanka’s in-form player, with the first ball of the innings, setting a daunting target of 358 runs. Mohammed Siraj followed suit, taking three wickets in two overs, leaving Sri Lanka reeling at 4/3 and virtually out of the game. This performance sent a clear message to the rest of the teams in the tournament.
India’s Bowling Attack: A Class Apart
Commenting on India’s performance on The ICC Review podcast, Atherton remarked, “India has been the standout team by a significant margin. Their bowling attack is unparalleled, which is the highlight for me. They are a well-rounded team, but their performance against Sri Lanka in Mumbai and England in Lucknow, where their seamers made early inroads, making it easier for the spinners, was exceptional.”
Mohammed Shami: The Game Changer
While Bumrah and Siraj set the stage, it was Mohammed Shami who delivered the final blow to Sri Lanka with a stunning 5/18 from five overs. Shami, who was brought into the team as a replacement for injured all-rounder Hardik Pandya, has now taken 14 wickets in three matches. He holds the record for the most four-wicket hauls at Cricket World Cups with seven and is the highest wicket-taker for India in the tournament with 45 wickets, making him a vital part of India’s top-tier attack.
India’s Pace Attack: A Force to Reckon With
Atherton further added, “The quality and depth of India’s pace bowling have undergone a dramatic transformation since my playing days. I doubt if there has been a better pace attack than the current Indian lineup. They’ve always had excellent bowlers like Srinath, Prasad, and Zaheer Khan, but this trio, supported by two spinners, forms an exceptional all-round attack.”
India’s Unbeaten Run and Upcoming Challenges
India’s flawless performance has propelled them into the semi-finals, but they face a potential challenge to their top spot in the upcoming match against South Africa on Sunday. The Proteas, with six wins from seven matches and a superior net run rate to India, have been impressive, despite a surprising loss to the Netherlands.
Anticipating a Thrilling Clash
The upcoming match between India’s formidable attack and South Africa’s robust batting line-up is expected to be a thrilling encounter, potentially offering a glimpse of a high-stakes match-up in the future. “It will be interesting to see if the players can maintain their composure and if South Africa can continue their aggressive batting against India’s pace attack. It will be a good indicator of what’s to come,” Atherton concluded.