Southampton: Right-arm pacer Mohammed Shami bowled a brilliant spell at the death overs and claimed a hat-trick in the final over to help India upstage Afghanistan by 11 runs in a tense World Cup encounter in Southampton.
With 16 runs needed off the final over, Shami conceded a boundary of the first ball to Mohammad Nabi (52). However, he came out strongly and took the priced wicket of Nabi on the third ball, thus putting the match in India's kitty. On the following two deliveries, he got the wickets of Aftab Alam and Mujeeb Ur Rahman to bowl out Afghanistan for 213 in reply to India's 224/8 on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Shami said it was MS Dhoni's advice to go for the yorker on his hat-trick delivery and he followed it. "The plan was simple. To bowl a yorker and even Mahi bhai suggested that... Don't change anything now as you have a great chance of getting a hat-trick. It's a rare opportunity and you need to do the same thing. So I did what exactly I was told," Shami said.
Shami, who was playing his first match of the ongoing tournament, returned with figures of 4/40 from his 9.5 overs.
The 29-year-old also said he had enough runs to defend in the last over as Jasprit Bumrah had conceded only five in the penultimate over.
"You (Bumrah) left me enough runs to defend in the final over. 21 runs were needed from the last two overs and I was pretty confident that Bumrah will leave sufficient runs for me," Shami said during a conversation with Bumrah for the BCCI TV.
"The runs allowed me to execute my plans well. I really enjoyed my bowling with you as we were bowling together after quite some time," he added.
Shami became the second Indian bowler to take a hat-trick in World Cup after Chetan Sharma who had achieved the feat against New Zealand in 1987 edition of the showpiece event.
When quizzed about his hat-trick, Shami said: "It felt really nice. As you said, it's always difficult to take a hat-trick, and that too in a World Cup. I want to thank god. I just wish that we achieve many more accomplishments like this playing together."
The Uttar Pradesh bowler was included in the playing XI in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar who has been sidelined for at least two-three matches because of a hamstring injury.
Speaking about the performance during the ICC review of the match, he said: "It felt really nice to come out with such a performance and win such a tough game for the team. There can be no better feeling that playing for the country and I am happy, I was able to give my 100 per cent and contribute to India's victory.
"When our first inning ended with 224 runs on the board and then when Afghanistan had a good partnership early on, we knew it would not be good for us, especially for the bowler, if we lost because we as bowlers don't get enough chance to win games considering the batting line-up we have."