The Cricinfo Awards January 2, 2009

One-day international bowling: the nominees

ESPNcricinfo staff
Cricinfo Awards: the nominees for the best ODI bowling performance award

World, I have arrived: Mendis in the Asia Cup final © AFP

Ajantha Mendis, 6 for 13 v India
Asia Cup final, Karachi
Virender Sehwag had charged India to 76 for 1 in nine overs in pursuit of 274 when Mendis was thrown the ball. The carrom ball took care of Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh in the first over, and the target began to look very far away indeed. No one, including the umpires, knew quite what to expect, and the batsmen appeared unsure of whether to play him as a slow bowler or a medium-pacer. Simon Taufel failed to give at least three close lbw decisions, but Mendis went on to clean India up regardless and finish with sensational figures of 6 for 13.

Stuart Broad, 5 for 23 v South Africa, Trent Bridge

Broad produced the best bowling of his career to blow South Africa away for 83 runs, their second-lowest total after the 69 they made against Australia in Sydney in 1993-94. He picked up four wickets in 17 balls to leave South Africa tottering at 27 for 4. His first victim was Herschelle Gibbs, who inside-edged an offcutter to give Matt Prior the first of six catches. That was followed by Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and JP Duminy, who all edged behind the wicket. It was a day where Broad hit the perfect line and length, and the edges just kept coming.

Brett Lee, 5 for 27 v India, Brisbane

Lee starred with a five-for against India in an abandoned game. The start was a touch fortuitous: Sachin Tendulkar moved too deep into the crease and hit his stumps with the heel of his boot. Lee returned later to rip through the middle order. Rohit Sharma edged a full one, and the debutant, Manoj Tiwary, who was set up by a series of bouncers, had no answer to a searing yorker. Lee also picked up Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh to complete his five-for and keep India down to 194, but heavy showers curtailed the game.

Zaheer Khan, 4 for 21 v Sri Lanka, Dambulla

Zaheer harassed the top order, taking the first four wickets and helping bowl Sri Lanka out for a paltry 142. In his first over he produced an inswinger to Kumar Sangakkara that clipped the top of off stump after the batsman played around the line of the ball. Mahela Jayawardene and Chamara Kapugedera both fell to edges behind the wicket off deliveries that landed on off stump and seamed away, and Sanath Jayasuriya was trapped by one that cut in to him. Sri Lanka never recovered, and though India struggled themselves, they eventually got to the target with three wickets remaining.

On your bike, skip: Praveen gets Ponting on the pull © AFP

Ishant Sharma, 4 for 38 v Australia, Melbourne

Ishant took four, Australia were bowled out for 159, and India won their first match of the CB Series. He removed three top-order batsmen in quick succession: Matthew Hayden, caught behind following a pair of lucky slashes; Ricky Ponting, surprised by extra bounce; and Andrew Symonds, caught behind off one that straightened. India sweated but eventually overhauled the target with six overs to spare.

Tim Southee, 4 for 38 v England, Bristol

England were set a modest target of 183, but Tim Southee took four to bowl New Zealand to a 22-run win. Though Kyle Mills started the rot with two early new-ball wickets, it was Southee who did the major damage to the middle order, taking three in eight balls. Ravi Bopara was caught superbly by Jamie How, Owais Shah edged to second slip, and Tim Ambrose flashed hard to first. Paul Collingwood took the score to 152, but Southee struck with his penultimate delivery and England ran out of steam.

Nuwan Kulasekara, 4 for 41 v India, Colombo (RPS)

Kulasekara ran through the Indian top order, troubling the batsmen with movement off the seam, to lead Sri Lanka to a 112-run victory. India were set a D/L-adjusted target of 228 but never got going. After troubling Gautam Gambhir with cutters, Kulasekara induced an edge through to the keeper. He then seamed the ball in to trap Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in front before having Suresh Raina caught at midwicket. India slipped to 76 for 4, and were shot out for 103 after Mendis wreaked havoc among the lower order.

Mashrafe Mortaza, 4 for 44 v New Zealand, Mirpur

Mortaza led Bangladesh to their first-ever win over New Zealand with a four-wicket haul. Though he was playing with braces on both knees, he hit the right line and length, troubling the opposition with movement off the seam. He hardly gave the batsmen any room in his unbroken spell of eight overs, which fetched him the wickets of Brendon McCullum, Jesse Ryder, and Jamie How. New Zealand recovered from 79 for 6 to post 201, but Bangladesh got there with time to spare to achieve a historic victory.

Edgy stuff: Broad gets another caught behind at Trent Bridge © Getty Images

Praveen Kumar, 4 for 46 v Australia
Second final, CB Series
Praveen swung out vital top-order wickets to back up Sachin Tendulkar's 91 and help India take the best-of-three finals 2-0. Bowling with vigour and accuracy, and controlling the swing, he worked on the Australian batsmen relentlessly. The rewards came soon enough: Adam Gilchrist edged an outswinger, Ricky Ponting mistimed a pull, and so did Michael Clarke. Aware that he lacked the pace to beat the bat, Praveen utilised the low bounce at the Gabba and skidded the ball in, keeping the batsmen tied down. He bowled two spells, and each made a difference. The first, 8-2-31-3, left Australia hobbling on the back foot; the second, 2-0-15-1, claimed Lee and ended the last flicker of resistance, and brought India within reach of victory.

Ajantha Mendis, 3 for 21 v India, Dambulla

Chaminda Vaas and Nuwan Kulasekara did the initial work before Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan blew the rest away, bowling India out for 146. Mendis was introduced in the 20th over and immediately swallowed Yuvraj Singh up with a carrom ball. He then dealt the killer blow eight overs later, when he drew Mahendra Singh Dhoni into edging a legbreak to slip. The back of the middle order was broken, and India never recovered.