Mohammed Shami at CWC 23: Has there been anyone better?

There have been very few bowling performances as efficient as Mohammed Shami in CWC 23. Here is a closer look at what the Indian pacer has done so far.

India and Australia are set to meet in the finals of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. The Indian teams will walk into the finals on the back of 10 consecutive wins. India comes in the final without any defeat in the tournament. Australia, on the other hand, have reached the finals after eight consecutive wins. Australia lost their opening two games against India and South Africa. India’s impeccable record of 10 wins in the World Cup has been achieved thanks to great all-round performances from the batters and bowlers. One bowler in particular has stood out from the rest. Mohammed Shami, since coming into the Indian team has wreaked havoc on the opposition teams.

Mohammed Shami in CWC 23

Mohammed Shami was benched for the first few games as the hosts, India wanted to with a bowler at number who could bat a bit while sacrificing their bowling potential. Hardik Pandya at batting at number six allowed playing Shardul Thakur instead of Shami to give a bit of extra batting depth. Pandya was injured during India’s fourth match against Bangladesh. The absence of the fast-bowling all-rounder meant that Shardul was replaced by Shami and Hardik was replaced by Suryakumar Yadav. Here is a closer look at Shami’s performances during the World Cup.


Shami vs New Zealand

Shami played his first match of the World Cup at Dharamsala against New Zealand. New Zealand at that time was the only team with India who were yet to lose a game. New Zealand came into the match with history on their side as they had not lost a match against India in ICC tournaments since 2003. 

Shami couldn’t have asked for a better start to his World Cup campaign. The Indian pacer dismissed Will Young with the first ball he bowled in the ninth over. In his next over, he came close to dismissing Rachin Ravindra but Ravindra Jadeja of all people dropped a regulation catch at backward point. In his second spell, Shami came back to break the 159-run stand between Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell by dismissing Rachin in the 34th over. Bowling in the death, Shami impressed once again by dismissing Mitchell Santner and Matt Henry off consecutive deliveries in the 48th over. His fifth and final wicket of the match was of the centurion, Mitchell. He won the Player of the Match award on his return thanks to bowling figures of 10-0-54-5.

Shami vs England

Shami and India’s first tough assignment came against England as they were put into bat in the first innings for the first time in the tournament. Shami and the Indian bowling line-up had the uphill task of defending a target of 229 runs after a rare failure from the Indian batting order occurred in the first innings.

Shami was once again called up as the first change bowler. The 33-year-old pacer once again had an instant impact and struck in his second over. He dismissed a frustrated Ben Stokes for a 10-ball duck. In his third over, Shami dismissed Jonny Bairstow. In his second spell, Shami dismissed Moeen Ali on the first ball. His fourth and final wicket came in the 34th over as he bowled Adil Rashid. Shami ended the match with the figures of 7-2-22-4.

Shami vs Sri Lanka

India was once again put into bat in the first innings but this time it was a performance opposite to the one against England as Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer missed out on centuries but helped India post a total of 357 runs in the first innings.

Shami came into the attack in the 10th over after Sri Lanka had already lost four wickets. Shami once again struck in his first over. He dismissed Charith Asalanka on his third ball and Dushan Hemantha on the following delivery. Shami took his third wicket thanks to an excellent review from KL Rahul behind the stumps. His fourth wicket came by bowling an almost unplayable in-swinger to Angelo Mathews. Shami completed his fifer by dismissing Kasun Rajitha and went past Zaheer Khan to take the most wickets in a World Cup by an Indian. Shami ended with figures of 5-1-18-5.

Shami vs South Africa

For the third time in a row India was batting first but this time it was Rohit Sharma who won the toss and opted to bat first. India scored 326 runs on a tricky surface at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. The score looked a little over par as Virat Kohli reached the monumental record-equalling 49th century in ODIs.

Chasing 327 runs, the game was up for grabs for South Africa given their batting prowess in the tournament while setting up totals. What happened in the second innings was a complete domination by the Indian bowlers. This was the first game since his return where Mohammed Shami failed to pick at least a four-fer. Ravindra Jadeja claimed a five-wicket haul, while Shami managed to take two wickets and dismissed Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram. Shami ended with the bowling figures of 4-0-18-2.

Shami vs Netherlands

Mohammed Shami for the first time in this World Cup went wicket-less. The Indian pacer bowled six overs giving away 41 runs as India bowled out the Netherlands for 250 runs after using nine bowling options. India batted first and scored 410 runs to set up a 160-run victory over the Dutch side.

Shami vs New Zealand (Semi-Final)

India once again batted first at Wankhede against New Zealand in the semi-final after winning the toss. After a blistering start from the Indian skipper, a half-century from Shubman Gill and centuries from Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer allowed India to post a target of 398 for New Zealand. 

Mohammed Shami was once again the difference between the two sides. Shami took the first wicket on his first ball in the sixth over. The Indian pacer dismissed Devon Conway. In his following over, Shami dismissed Ravindra. A 181-run stand between Daryl Mitchell and Kane Williamson which included Mohammed Shami dropping an easy catch things started to look bleak for the ‘Men in Blue’. Shami in the 33rd over made up for the dropped catch by dismissing Williamson. Just like he had done in the tournament, Shami once again took wickets in quick succession and dismissed Tom Latham for a silver duck in the same over. In his final spell, Shami dismissed centurion Mitchell in the 46th over to bag another fifer in the World Cup. With this fifer, Shami now has the most five-wicket hauls in World Cups. In the penultimate over of the match, Shami picked up two more wickets dismissing Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson. Shami became the first Indian to pick up seven wickets in an ODI match. The Indian pacer ended with the figures of 9.5-0-57-7.

Is Mohammed Shami’s performance the best in history?

Mohammed Shami in six matches has taken 23 wickets. There are only two bowlers who have taken more wickets than Shami, Mitchell Starc (27 wickets) in 2019 and Glenn McGrath (26 wickets) in 2007. Both Starc and McGrath played 10 and 11 matches respectively which showcases how Mohammed Shami’s performance has been nothing short of miraculous. Shami’s bowling average in CWC 23 is 9.13 which means that on average he is taking a wicket before giving away 10 runs. Starc and McGrath had averages of 18.59 and 13.73 respectively. His bowling strike rate of 10.91 shows how he has been the most efficient bowler in the tournament taking a wicket in every 11 balls. Starc and McGrath had strike rates of 20.51 and 18.65 respectively.