The complex questions that Mohammed Siraj asked during his dream spell of 6 for 21 was mostly due to the simple things that he was able to do perfectly on what turned out to be a Super Sunday for the Indian cricket team.
Perhaps, he was destined to have a day like this, said the Hyderabadi as India geared up to the World Cup by winning the Asia Cup for a record eighth time.
"Jitna naseeb mein hota hai wahi milta, aaj mera naseeb tha (You get what's in our destiny, today it was my destiny)," Siraj summed up the mood while talking to the broadcasters in the mid-innings break.
Ind vs SL, Asia Cup final: Siraj 6/21 spell sets up India's Asia Cup triumph against Sri LankaIndia successfully chased the target of 51 runs, with Shubman Gill’s 27 and Ishan Kishan’s 23, in 6.1 overs
He was particularly referring to the third ODI in Thiruvananthapuram during Sri Lanka's tour of India where he got four wickets early but could not manage a five-for as Sri Lanka folded for 73 while chasing a stiff 391.
"Last time, I did the same against Sri Lanka at Trivandrum. Got four wickets early, couldn't get the five-for.
"I've been bowling well since a long time but missing the edges and finally got them today. I did not try too much today. I have always looked for swing in white-ball cricket and did not find much in the previous games.
Take on today’s game
"But today it was swinging, and I got more wickets with the outswinger. Such was the swing I was getting on this wicket that I tried to entice the batter to go on the front foot and make them drive." The strategy was to bowl fuller and it paid off, Siraj later said while receiving the player-of-the-match award during the post-match presentation.
"The wicket was seaming earlier, but there was swing today. It was about hitting the right areas. Thought that I will bowl fuller because of the swing and make the batters play as much as possible.
"If you are not going for wickets, you will be successful on this pitch. It was about sticking to one line and hit the same areas. I'm so happy with my performance and this is a dream come true for me." Opting to bat, Sri Lanka found themselves all at sea.
Jasprit Bumrah (5-1-23-1) started it all with a wicket off the third ball and then Siraj just ripped the opposition's batting lineup by taking four wickets in the fourth over alone.
He then came back and dismissed Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka, thus completing his five-wicket haul in just his second over.
Later Hardik Pandya (2.2-0-3-3) polished off the tail to bowl Sri Lanka out for 50.
India cantered home by 10 wickets with 263 balls to spare, their biggest ever ODI victory margin in terms of balls remaining.
Siraj said they have a great bonding between the bowlers in the team that helps in taking wickets.
"When there's good bonding between fast bowlers, you create pressure from one end and get wickets from the other. It's really helpful for the team," he signed off.
Siraj donates player-of-the-match prize money to Sri Lankan ground staff
Indian pacer Mohammed Siraj on Sunday donated his player-of-the-match cash prize of USD 5,000 to the Sri Lankan ground staff who worked tirelessly through the rain-hit Asia Cup. “This cash prize goes to the groundsmen. They deserve it fully, this tournament wouldn’t have been possible without them,” Siraj said at the post-match presentation after India’s 10 wicket win over Sri Lanka in the final.
Siraj bowled a devastating spell in which he took four wickets in the fourth over en route to a career-best 6/21 to help India bowl out Sri Lanka for a paltry 50 in the final.
Earlier on Sunday, the Asian Cricket Council chief Jay Shah also announced a cash reward of USD 50,000 for the groundsmen in Kandy and Colombo as an acknowledgment for their efforts in making the field of play ready.
Almost all the matches in the Sri Lankan leg of the Asia Cup were affected by rain. Even the final on Sunday had a delayed start because of wet outfield.
While India’s opening fixture against arch-rivals Pakistan in Pallekele was washed out, a couple more encounters throughout the competition saw rain interruptions bringing the Duckworth–Lewis method into effect.
The Super-4 meeting between India and Pakistan spilled on to the reserve day, when the former prevailed.