Sensational Shami hat-trick helps India clinch nervy win over Afghanistan

The KXIP seamer becomes only the second Indian player to get a World Cup hat-trick after Chetan Sharma.

On his 2019 World Cup debut, Indian pacer Mohammed Shami produced a performance of a lifetime, picking up four wickets which included a hat-trick as India narrowly emerged victorious against Afghanistan at a packed Ageas Bowl Stadium in Southampton.

With India needing to defend 16 runs in the final over, Shami kept his cool as he picked up three wickets off three consecutive balls to ensure his side continued their unbeaten run in the World Cup.

Batting first, India managed to get 224 runs on the board with captain Virat Kohli leading the line with 67, while Kings XI Punjab and national side opener KL Rahul getting a crucial 30 runs up top to follow up his fifty from the previous game. With a slightly below par score on the board, the Indian bowlers needed to bring their best to the game and Shami obliged almost immediately, dismissing the dangerous Hazratullah Zazai in the seventh over on his 2019 World Cup debut.

His fellow pacer Jasprit Bumrah was also exceptional, picking up two wickets and bowling a brilliant penultimate over, which ensured Shami had to defend 16 runs which bowling the 50th. The 29-year-old conceded a boundary off his first ball, but came back strongly as he picked up the well-set Mohammad Nabi off his third delivery. He followed that up with two perfectly executed yorkers who found timber, as Aftab Alam and Mujeeb ur Rahman had no answers to Shami’s exceptional death bowling.

"Shami was really good," hailed captain Virat Kohli. "He was making the ball move more than anybody."

The seamer, who represents Kings XI Punjab in the VIVO Indian Premier League, becomes only the second Indian player to record a World Cup hat-trick after Chetan Sharma did so in 1987.

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