Whether it is International T-20’s or T-20 Leagues, match-winning bowlers are a rarity and any team is lucky to possess such a weapon in the shortest format of the game. In the 20 over format, some bowlers are economical, some take wickets while conceding runs and only an absolute elite bowler can take wickets and still be economical. But sometimes when presented with the right conditions, any given bowler can trouble the opposition in this format since the batsmen are always looking to attack. This article looks at five such breathtaking spells in T-20 World Cups,
5. Ravichandran Ashwin’s 4 for 11 vs Australia at Dhaka, 30 Mar 2014:
India’s spinners were the stalwarts of India’s run to the final in the 2014 edition and Ravi Ashwin played his part by a wonderful exhibiton of trickery and variation against a power packed Australian unit. In chase of 160, Australia were 13/0 at the end of three overs.
Ashwin bowled the 4th over and Finch got dismissed after trying a slog sweep. He varied his speed and used the crease well to keep the chase firmly under India’s control. Warner lost his cool and departed after trying to heave one over midwicket. Glenn Maxwell was bamboozled by a stunning carrom ball and his 4th wicket was the tailender Muirhead.
4. Mitchell Santner’s 11 for 4 vs India at Nagpur, 15 Mar 2016:
In their opening match of the 2016 T-20 World Cup at home, India restricted the Black Caps to just 126. Even on a tough pitch, India were the favourites to chase the target. But Mitchell Santner, a relatively unknown spinner at that time, had other ideas.
With his very first ball, Rohit Sharma was beaten in flight and was stumped. Santner’s next wicket was a soft dismissal as Raina got a leading edge while trying to guide the ball to midwicket. Hardik Pandya got trapped in front and the last wicket was MS Dhoni in the dying moments of the game. Santner came from nowhere to strangle India in their own backward with a masterclass on conventional spin bowling.
3. Umar Gul’s 6 for 5 vs New Zealand at the Oval, 13 Jun 2009:
Arguably, Umar Gul was the first master of the art of T-20 death bowling. He regularly bowled 4 consecutive overs at the death and in this game too he got the ball with New Zealand 72/4 at the end of 12 overs. He first got Scott Styris after a magnificent running catch from Afridi and then a perfect yorker trapped McGlashan in front of the stumps.
In his next over, Nathan McCullum’s stumps went for a walk after he missed a straight delivery. In his last over, he cleaned up Franklin’s stumps with yet another inch-perfect yorker and Kyle Mills was outdone by a brilliant legcutter to bring up the first five wicket haul in T-20I history.
2. Rangana Herath’s 3 for 5 vs New Zealand at Chattogram, Mar 31 2014:
The Black Caps were at the receiving end once again as one of the finest left arm spinners of all time spun a great web around them. New Zealand were chasing a meagre target of 120 and the Lankans were in dire need of early wickets. Herath started with a wicket maiden by deceiving McCullum at the end of his first over.
In his next over, He trapped Taylor in front and castled Neesham in back-to-back deliveries. He effectively ended the game by getting Luke Ronchi LBW with another sharp spinning delivery. He registered a five-for after dismissing Trent Boult and giving the Lankans a thumping victory in a must-win scenario.
Ajantha Mendis’ 8 for 6 vs Zimbabwe at Hambantota, Sep 28 2012:
In the opening match of the 2012 World Cup, Sri Lanka was put in to bat and scored 182/4. Mendis, one of the first known mystery spinners of the shortest format, produced a scintilatting display of spin bowling to ensure a huge win for the home side. A beautiful legcutter castled the stumps of Sibanda while the skipper Brendan Taylor was caught out of his crease with a carrom ball.
Masakadza was deceived by a googly and Elton Chigumbura, just like his teammates, had no clue about the ball’s turn and was castled. A mix of googlies, carrom balls and legcutters were too hot for Zimbabwe and he finished with the best figures till date in T-20I.