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Lasith Malinga: 4 for 54 v South Africa
World Cup, Providence
Malinga, old ball in hand, almost slung Sri Lanka to one of the greatest heists in the one-day game when he sent back four South Africans in one deadly sequence. His captain, Mahela Jayawardene, brought him back into the attack when a perfectly crafted South African chase was a boundary away from fruition. Malinga altered the script by deceiving Shaun Pollock with a slower delivery with the fifth ball of his eighth over, and followed it up by spearing in a yorker which Andrew Hall dug out, but straight into the hands of cover. The hat-trick was his in his next over when Jacques Kallis, having made his way to a composed 85, edged a square-drive to the wicketkeeper. Then a smoking hot yorker wrecked Makhaya Ntini's stumps, and the world seemed to come to a halt. The atmosphere rose to fever pitch - three runs to get, the last pair in the middle. Malinga's brilliance, though, was not enough for Sri Lanka, as the tailenders hung on to snatch victory.
Nathan Bracken: 4 for 19 v Sri Lanka
World Cup, St George's
Bracken was at his stifling best against Sri Lanka in the Super Eights clash - a match-up many considered a dress rehearsal for the final. He removed the openers, both left-handers, with contrasting deliveries: Jayasuriya trapped by an in-dipper and Upul Tharanga forced into an uncertain prod against an outswinger, the edge settling into the safe hands of Hayden. Bracken had unbelievable figures of 2 for 9 after his seventh over. He was just as successful when he returned: his third wicket came when Nuwan Kulasekara edged an outswinger to Hayden at fly slip. Sri Lanka ended up getting bowled out for a disappointing 226 when Bracken sealed the deal with a slower ball to Farveez Maharoof, who chipped it to Andrew Symonds at long-on.
Andrew Hall: 5 for 18 v England
World Cup, Bridgetown
Hall had one of his brightest days under the sun, taking four wickets in a three-over spurt as England plunged from 111 for 3 to 121 for 8, their hopes of remaining afloat in the World Cup all but destroyed. After five uneventful overs in his first spell, Hall was given the softer, older ball in the 34th over when England were in the middle of a revival. He found immediate success, bringing one back in to trap Paul Collingwood. After Kallis had removed Andrew Strauss, Hall cleaned up Andrew Flintoff with a sharp inswinger and induced a poke from Paul Nixon in the same over. Sajid Mahmood played on in Hall's next over, and though Monty Panesar survived the hat-trick ball, Hall wasn't to be denied his first five-for, which he duly secured when he trapped James Anderson plumb in front. Hall had taken four wickets in nine balls, keeping England to a meagre target of 154, which South Africa chased with few problems.
Boyd Rankin: 3 for 32 v Pakistan
World Cup, Kingston
Boyd Rankin made full use of his 6' 7" frame on a green-tinged pitch, helping bowl Pakistan out for 132 in Ireland's epochal triumph at Sabina Park. His first victim, Younis Khan, edged a back-of-a-length delivery to first slip to be dismissed without scoring. Kamran Akmal and Azhar Mahmood had added 29 runs for the seventh wicket to take the score to 103 from a precarious 72 for 6, before Rankin struck again. Mahmood played a rash pull shot, with Trent Johnston taking the ensuing catch at midwicket. Johnson was in action again in the same over, taking a stunning full-length catch after Akmal's attempt to replay Mahmood's stroke went awry, with the ball getting big on him. Rankin's performances ensured that the target was kept within reach for Ireland's batsmen to complete a St. Patrick's Day miracle.
Mashrafe Mortaza: 4 for 38 v India
World Cup, Port of Spain
Mortaza was the wrecker-in-chief as Bangladesh caused the first upset of the Caribbean World Cup with a convincing five-wicket win over India. Mortaza, bowling at a consistent pace, first prised out the top order, bringing one back into Virender Sehwag, who played on, before tempting Robin Uthappa into a poorly judged cut shot that sailed into the hands of point. Mortaza did not give the other batsmen, especially Sourav Ganguly (who made a painstaking 129-ball 66), any leeway, ensuring that the run-rate remained around 3.5 runs per over. After the left-arm spinners Mohammad Rafique and Abdur Razzaq had left the Indian middle order in a shambles, Mortaza returned to have Ajit Agarkar caught behind with the first ball of his second spell before removing Munaf Patel. India were bowled out for 191 - which proved to be easy pickings for Bangladesh's teenage triumvirate, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, and Mushfiqur Rahim.
Shaun Tait: 3 for 41 v England
World Cup, North Sound
Malinga apart, the World Cup had another slinging sensation, Tait, who after an indifferent start to his ODI career came of age in Antigua, when he bowled full tilt to claim his first Man-of-the-Match award. Tait was at his fiery best with the new ball, beating Michael Vaughan and Andrew Strauss for pace, and taking the old ball to force England's go-to man, Paul Collingwood, to edge to Adam Gilchrist. Many had wondered how Tait would measure up to Brett Lee, who he came in for in the side, but by the end of Australia's successful campaign, Tait had enhanced his reputation, taking 23 wickets to become the joint second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament.
Glenn McGrath: 3 for 18 v South Africa
World Cup, Gros Islet
The World Cup was McGrath's last one-day tournament, and like he usually does on a big occasion, he turned it on here as well, coming to the fore in Australia's seven-wicket thrashing of South Africa in the semi-final. Kallis, South Africa's fulcrum, was McGrath's first victim, bowled by an unplayable yorker that came on the heels of a boundary ball. McGrath then turned his attention to the middle order. Ashwell Prince jabbed at a delivery destined to be called a wide - more an outcome of sustained pressure than a moment of good luck. Mark Boucher followed straight away as he edged a McGrath stock ball to Matthew Hayden in the slips. South Africa, 27 for 5, were never in the match from then on. Not surprisingly, McGrath, with 26 wickets, finished as the World Cup's highest wicket-taker.
Shane Bond: 5 for 23 v Australia
Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, Wellington
Bond literally set the pace for New Zealand's unlikely 3-0 triumph against Australia in the Chappel-Hadlee series when he wreaked havoc in the first ODI. Phil Jaques was Bond's first victim, slashing an away going delivery straight to cover. Brad Haddin was then cleaned up by a rapid inswinger, and Australia were in a spot of bother at 16 for 2. In a later spell Bond took what was probably the best caught-and-bowled of the year - displaying awesome reflexes to latch on to a Cameron White drive with his right hand inches of the ground midway through his follow-through. Bond then took care of the tail: Nathan Bracken missed a slower ball directed at the block hole as he attempted to make room for himself, and Brad Hogg lost his leg stump after his attempted scoop over short fine-leg went awry. Bond's five-for ensured that Australia's final score made for unfamiliar reading - 148 all out.
Shaun Pollock: 5 for 23 v Pakistan
Pakistan were laid low by Pollock, who took five wickets on the trot in one unbroken spell to help South Africa seal the series 3-1. There was a sense of deja vu when Pollock dismissed Mohammad Hafeez - it was the third time in as many matches that he had forced an edge from an opener off one in the channel. Imran Nazir tried some daredevilry but came a cropper - a predictable top edge took an eternity before nestling into Pollock's hands. Younis Khan drove at a perfect outswinger, but only managed to edge it onto his stumps. Pakistan were in troubled waters when Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haq fell in quick succession. Yousuf was trapped by an indipper, and Pollock had his fifth when Inzamam, who was cramped for room, edged to Kallis in the slips while trying to cut. Pakistan were all out for 153, and South Africa chased them down with more than 20 overs to spare.
James Anderson: 4 for 23 v India
NatWest Series, Southampton
Anderson took centre stage at the Rose Bowl, ripping through the top order as England claimed their third biggest victory margin against India. Bowling in the range of 140kph and with his reputation enhanced after the Test series, Anderson found quick success when Gautam Gambhir slashed at one only to edge to the wicketkeeper. Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh fell within five balls of each other, Tendulkar flicking straight to the cleverly placed short-midwicket fielder, and Yuvraj poking at one to fall for a first-ball duck. Anderson's figures with the new ball read 3 for 19 off eight overs and he returned to remove Zaheer Khan and finish with a career-best 4 for 23.
Mitchell Johnson: 5 for 26 v India
Even if you have been labelled a "once in a generation bowler" by the legendary Dennis Lillee, it is the performances that really count. Johnson, the left-arm quick bowler, turned in a career-best showing against India in October. Bowling on a track ideally suited for batting, Johnson ran through the Indian middle order, displaying impressive control. He was especially effective against the left-handers - Yuvraj, Irfan Pathan, and Murali Kartik - all of whom edged behind. He started with a lucky lbw decision against Robin Uthappa - there were doubts over the height of the delivery, but the ball itself was perfect, angling in after hitting the pitch. It was just one of those days for Johnson when Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whose unorthodox methods usually come off, nudged a ball going down the leg side into the hands of the wicketkeeper. Johnson's Vadodara showing all but sealed his Test debut when Australia returned to face Sri Lanka at home.
Murali Kartik: 6 for 27 v Australia
On the ground where he had demolished Australia in a Test in 2004, Kartik brought out a virtuoso performance, claiming the best ever return by a left-arm spinner in ODIs, making the one-day world champions look like amateurs in the process. Using clever variations and generous amounts of flight, Kartik picked up Brad Hodge, who pushed at a ball while stuck to the crease, only to be caught at slip. With his very next delivery, Kartik accounted for India's chief tormentor through the series, Andrew Symonds, who biffed a short one outside off straight into the hands of Sachin Tendulkar. An arm-ball took care of Brad Haddin, and Brad Hogg was taken off bat-pad - though it was a close call. Kartik was on a hat-trick after he drew Brett Lee into a fatal drive off the next ball. Johnson kept the next ball out, but Kartik finished with six when he spun the ball from middle to hit James Hopes' off stump. The comeback man had made another fairytale return.
Dilhara Fernando: 6 for 27 v England
R Premadasa Stadium
Fernando spoiled England's party, turning in a career-best performance to deny them the chance of a 4-1 series win, and bringing some joy to the Sri Lankan dressing room. He used his trademark split-finger slower ball to extract a rushed stroke from Ian Bell, which was taken at mid-on. Another slower one accounted for Alastair Cook, who was brilliantly caught behind by Kumar Sangakkara. It just kept getting worse for England from there: Collingwood was done in for pace, and Owais Shah ballooned another slower ball to cover. Fernando had his fifth when Stuart Broad chipped yet another slower delivery to Sanath Jayasuriya at midwicket. Ryan Sidebottom followed, completely missing a full and straight delivery, and Sri Lanka went on to complete a 107-run victory.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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