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Asia Cup 2023: Sri Lanka Left Stunned By Mohammed Siraj's 'Miya Magic' Show

Amidst the 10-wicket thrashing and the Asia Cup triumph, it was the fourth over that defined the final. Mohammed Siraj , already having dismantled Sri Lanka 's top order, sprinted towards the boundary after a pushed delivery.

The packed slip cordon watched as mid-on was vacated, and Siraj himself chased the ball down. His determination was evident as he pursued the ball relentlessly, even though it was destined to reach the rope. Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill couldn't contain their excitement in the slips.

The Unstoppable Force
In the midst of his second over, Siraj was bowling with incredible pace, consistently clocking over 140 km/h. His early scalps included Pathum Nissanka , Sadeera Samarawickrama , and Charith Asalanka, leaving Sri Lanka reeling at 8/4. But it was his relentless pursuit of the ball that left a lasting impression, as he ran all the way to the boundary, evoking admiration from his teammates.

'Miya Magic' Strikes Again
In August 2021, the hashtag 'Miya Magic' trended on Twitter after Siraj's heroic performance against England at Lord's, where he picked 4/32 to secure a memorable win for India. Two years later, facing Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup, Siraj showcased his magic once more. While not as formidable an opponent as England, Siraj's six overs of madness hinted at his potential to regain the world No. 1 ODI bowler ranking.

Records Tumble
The match against Sri Lanka witnessed history being made. It became the third shortest ODI in history, resulting in Sri Lanka's second-lowest ODI total and their lowest in an ODI final. Siraj played a pivotal role in this, partnering with Jasprit Bumrah to create chaos in the Sri Lankan batting lineup.

Shanaka's Gamble
Dasun Shanaka's assessment of the conditions seemed to be wide of the mark, or perhaps, it was spot on. He opted to bat first on what appeared to be a 'dry pitch,' banking on his spinners to replicate their success from the recent Super Four game. However, fate had different plans. Just before Sri Lanka could take the field, a 40-minute rain delay altered the landscape entirely. With overcast skies prevailing, a rare and ideal setting for fast bowlers emerged.

In this changed scenario, Mohammed Siraj seized the opportunity and made the ball talk, with deliveries that nipped, darted, and thudded off the pitch. He commenced his spell with a maiden over, consistently beating Kusal Mendis outside the off-stump for four consecutive deliveries. In the subsequent over, he proceeded to dismantle four of Sri Lanka's top-order batters.

"Although spinners will get purchase later on, mind you… there will be swing in the first 7 overs," remarked Ravi Shastri on air, emphasising the challenging conditions for batsmen. By that point, Sri Lanka found themselves in dire straits, teetering at 17 for 6.

A Day to Remember
Siraj's brilliance didn't wane after his record-breaking over. He continued to trouble the Sri Lankan batsmen with seam movement, accuracy, and a relentless approach. His performance was so outstanding that even rain couldn't overshadow it. Colombo witnessed a downpour, but had Siraj returned to the pitch, the rain would have made way for more 'Miya Magic.'

World Cup Aspirations
With a three-ODI series against Australia and the World Cup on the horizon, Siraj's devastating performance against Sri Lanka has raised questions about India's pace bowling lineup. The possibility of having Bumrah, Shami , and Siraj together might require bold decisions from the team management, especially with Hardik Pandya as the fourth seamer. If it comes to a choice between Shami and Siraj, the latter seems poised to make the cut in the Playing XI.

A Humble Gesture
To cap off a perfect evening, Siraj displayed his humility by giving away his Player of the Match Award, worth USD 30,000, as a token of appreciation for the groundsmen's efforts in battling the rain. This act exemplifies what separates players from role models, and at 29 years old, Siraj is well on his way to becoming one.

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