Desh Duniya Samachar

Around 8:30 PM last night, as India was on the verge of securing a spot in the World Cup 2023 semifinals, an unexpected announcement rocked the world of television: HBO revealed the premiere date for Season 2 of the hit series “House of the Dragon.” The timing of this news coinciding with India’s dominant performance against Sri Lanka couldn’t have been more perfectly synchronized. India’s formidable trio of fast bowlers – Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, and Jasprit Bumrah – were wreaking havoc on the Sri Lankan batters, much like the ferocity of dragons.

Fear manifests in diverse forms, taking on various shapes and sizes. Westeros experienced it when Daenerys Targaryen, mounted on her dragon, incinerated Harrenhal. It was a moment of shock in the world of Game of Thrones, comparable perhaps only to the infamous Red Wedding. However, on this particular Sunday, Rohit Sharma assumed the role of the “Father of Dragons.” He seemed to whisper “DRACARYS,” and chaos unfolded on the cricket field. Destruction, devastation, demolition, danger, terror, and insanity – use any of these words to describe the spectacle, but for a generation of Indian cricket fans who admired fast bowlers from around the world, the 17 breathtaking overs bowled by Shami, Bumrah, and Siraj were immensely gratifying.

Consider Shami’s figures after the 14th over of Sri Lanka’s innings: 3-1-1-4. These figures were not a helpline number but a testament to his extraordinary performance. He joined the bowling attack in the 10th over, following an impressive start by Siraj and Bumrah, yet he ended up taking more wickets than the two combined. The trio’s run-up, rhythm, release, seam movement, follow-through, pace, swing, and unplayable deliveries were electrifying. Starting from the moment Bumrah trapped Pathum Nissanka leg before wicket, the ball exhibited mesmerizing movement, not just ordinary swing but a throwback to the legendary banana swing, all at a speed exceeding 140 kilometers per hour. During those two hours, Wankhede Stadium was reminiscent of the iconic WACA of the early 1990s, not because of the pitch, but due to Rohit’s own versions of Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion. Describing their performance as unplayable would be an understatement. Frightening might be a more appropriate term.

Nissanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama, two of Sri Lanka’s most consistent batters in the World Cup, each accumulating over 300 runs, found themselves unable to move their feet or even react. They were hurried, beaten, forced to hop, jump, endure body blows, and seek refuge. When Kusal Mendis faced the music, Bumrah unleashed two inswinging deliveries followed by an outswinger, nearly resulting in a caught-and-bowled dismissal. It was freakish bowling of the highest order.

Bumrah may not accumulate as many wickets as his counterparts, and the reason is his relentless accuracy, which often results in near misses. These near-misses, however, are extraordinary deliveries. When batters face Bumrah during the Powerplay, their mindset is to “see him through.” The numbers support this approach. Bumrah has claimed 10 wickets at an average of 18.70 with a miserly economy rate of 2.87. When Bumrah returns to bowl in the middle and death overs, he masters the art of reverse swing. How do you counter such a formidable force?

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