Afridi six top of the pack
Three series-winning performances, and two inspired efforts that derailed Australia comprise the ODI bowling shortlist of 2009 for the ESPNcricinfo awards. Pace and spin both feature prominently in the nominations, four of which are hauls of five wickets or more and also include a hat-trick.
Shahid Afridi bagged the second best figures in 2009, taking 6 for 38 in Dubai in an uncharacteristic Australian collapse, where eight wickets fell for 27. The display won Pakistan the game, though the series was eventually lost. Harbhajan Singh's 5 for 56 in the Compaq Cup in Colombo, in the wake of a blistering reply by Sri Lanka's batsmen in their chase, ended India's long struggle in tournament finals.
The fast bowlers had three representatives, leading with Andrew Flintoff, whose hat-trick against West Indies, part of his career-best 5 for 19, won England their first ODI series in the Caribbean. Doug Bollinger had made a mark in only his second ODI, grabbing a five-for against Pakistan, but his 5 for 35 in Guwahati against India sealed a memorable series victory for Australia after they had been 1-2 down. And finally, Kyle Mills inflicted on Australia what they rarely experience at home, bowling them out for 181, their lowest in the country that year, while taking 4 for 35 in conditions favourable for batting.
The top five were drawn on basis of votes from a 14-member jury that includes some of the leading cricket experts in the world and Cricinfo's senior editors.
A departure from the usual year-end awards looking at overall performances, ESPNCricinfo's honours are in two categories: a jury-based award looking at the year's best batting and bowling performances and a stats-based award using numbers from Cricinfo's extensive database. The winners for all the awards will be announced on February 19.