ODI bowling nominees

A six-for, and a Shoaib impersonator

Seven of our ten ODI bowling nominees got their wickets on subcontinental pitches. Go figure

Siddarth Ravindran

January 12, 2012

Comments: 30 | Text size: A | A

Click here for the ODI batting shortlist

Wahab Riaz sends Virat Kohli on his way, India v Pakistan, 2nd semi-final, World Cup 2011, Mohali, March 30, 2011
Wahab Riaz: delivering in a mega-pressure situation © AFP

Mitchell Johnson
6 for 31 v Sri Lanka

first ODI, Pallekele
Johnson may be having his problems in Test cricket, but in ODIs his form was beyond reproach. In August, he produced the fourth-best figures in Australia's one-day history to set his team on the path to a seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka. It was taken for granted that spin would be the dominant force - so much so that Johnson was only the sixth bowler Michael Clarke turned to after losing the toss. Johnson struck with his third delivery, and ran through the middle order to finish with 6 for 31 - figures surpassed for Australia only by Glenn McGrath, Andy Bichel and Gary Gilmour.

Shahid Afridi
5 for 35 v Sri Lanka

fourth ODI, Sharjah
Sharjah's die-hard cricket tragics were treated to five unforgettable editions of Afridi's trademark arms-aloft celebration, as he single-handedly pipped Sri Lanka in a dramatic finish. Chasing 201 to level the series, Sri Lanka were on course when Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara reduced the equation to 46 needed off 74 balls. Afridi was, however, reading from a script no one else had access to. He derailed the lower order with a mix of legbreaks, googlies and fastish offspinners, and Sri Lanka lost their last seven wickets for just 19 runs, and with them, the series. And all this after a 65-ball 75 on a track his team-mates struggled to score on.

Tim Southee
5 for 33 v Pakistan

first ODI, Wellington
On a drop-in pitch that was expected to have plenty of runs in it, Pakistan's batsmen faced an examination of their techniques during an extravagant display of swing and seam bowling from Southee. They were beaten numerous times on both edges, and five eventually succumbed to him. Once he found his line and length, Southee swung the ball into off and seamed it away. The one that cut back amid the outswingers added to the confusion. His first spell was 6-0-16-3, accounting for Mohammad Hafeez, Kamran Akmal and Asad Shafiq. In his second spell he got the crucial wicket of Shahid Afridi, before adding the one of Misbah-ul-Haq to end the innings and complete his five-for.

Wahab Riaz
5 for 46 v India

World Cup semi-final, Mohali
The India-Pakistan semi-final was so big a match that some wondered whether the final would be an anti-climax after the frenzied build-up to the clash in Mohali. Wahab spent three sleepless nights before the match, planning how to bowl to each of the Indian batsmen, a strategy that paid off: he took his maiden five-for. There was added pressure on him since he was keeping out Shoaib Akhtar, but he delivered. The pick of the wickets was the dipping, swerving full toss to dismiss Yuvraj Singh first ball - a delivery Shoaib would have been proud of. It led to a pumped-up airplane celebration, made famous by… none other than Shoaib, of course.

Tim Bresnan
5 for 48 v India

World Cup, Bangalore
In a game with an aggregate of 676 runs, Bresnan's feat of five wickets in ten unrelentingly composed overs was outstanding. He limited a rampant Virender Sehwag to two runs in four balls before luring a dab to the keeper, and of the 60 deliveries he bowled in the innings, a mere two - both to Sachin Tendulkar - resulted in shots for which the bowler could be deemed culpable. Bresnan also inspired with a brilliant late spell where he did both, hit the deck and find the blockhole. India lost their last seven wickets for 33, and a possible 370 became 338.

Dale Steyn
5 for 50 v India

World Cup, Nagpur
It's not often that Steyn has figures that read 7-0-46-0. He did, though, when India stampeded to 268 for 2 in 40 overs. In the remaining overs, though, Steyn gave another demonstration of why he's the world's leading bowler. He struck twice in the 41st over, removing Gautam Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan, and then, after the game had spiralled out of India's control in a few minutes, Steyn went on clean up the tail and to complete his five-for, figures scarcely believable when he had been leaking runs with the new ball.

Stuart Broad
4 for 15 v South Africa

World Cup, Chennai
A 63-run opening stand had South Africa sauntering towards victory after England had posted a meek 171. However, Broad scripted a stunning fightback to help his side win by six runs in on a tough pitch in Chennai. He prompted South Africa's first collapse by getting the vital wickets of Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis. And then returned to finish the job, holding his nerve even as Dale Steyn threatened to conjure a comeback of his own. Broad trapped Steyn lbw with the first ball of a new spell when the target was 8; three balls later, he dismissed Morne Morkel to wrap up the game.

Lasith Malinga struck early to remove Shane Watson, Sri Lanka v Australia, 3rd ODI, Hambantota, August 16, 2011
Lasith Malinga: sling to win © AFP

Munaf Patel
4 for 29 v South Africa

second ODI, Johannesburg
With a well-set opener, the target 39 away and six wickets in hand, surely victory is a certainty. It didn't work that way in Johannesburg, as Munaf bowled a decisive spell in which he dislodged top scorer Graeme Smith to trigger a panic-filled collapse. Munaf returned to finish the job in the 43rd over, when the game was still South Africa's - four runs to get with two wickets to go. What clinched the game for India were two short-of-length deliveries that the tailenders, Morne Morkel and Wayne Parnell, who had batted calmly until then, felt were too good to resist.

Shahid Afridi
4 for 34 v Sri Lanka

World Cup, Colombo
Anyone who thought Pakistan were not dangerous contenders for the World Cup had their views changed after the team's victory over Sri Lanka in the league phase. One of the architects of the win was Afridi, who knocked over the chase with moments of magic. He first removed Tillakaratne Dilshan with a skidding delivery, then sucked Thilan Samaraweera out of his crease with a loopy, dipping legbreak that had him stumped. He backed that up with the wickets of Kumar Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews to hasten Sri Lanka's defeat at home.

Lasith Malinga
5 for 28 v Australia

third ODI, Hambantota
Sri Lanka were 0-2 down in the series, but a better batting performance in the third game gave Malinga something to defend. He began the demolition by drawing an edge from Shane Watson to slip, before denying Michael Clarke his third half-century in a row, getting him to chip to mid-on. His third victim was Michael Hussey, who square-drove to point on 63. Once Malinga's fast, accurate yorkers rattled the stumps of Xavier Doherty and Doug Bollinger, there was no doubt about the outcome.

Click here for the ODI batting shortlist

Pick your favourite performance here

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by HawksEyeFocused on (January 14, 2012, 20:32 GMT)

Boom Boom Afridi deserves the title!!! Proud Pakistani!!!

Posted by   on (January 13, 2012, 12:00 GMT)

Afridi's 5/35 against SL at Sharjah was an excellent piece of bowling as he single hand idly won the game for Pakistan. my vote is for Shahid Afridi

Posted by Stouffer on (January 13, 2012, 8:17 GMT)

Mayan, I guess it was left off as the article is talking about 2011! I would give it Broad for his choke inducing bowling against SA. Amazing game which not many would have thought england would win at half way.

Posted by   on (January 13, 2012, 5:17 GMT)

Superb spell by Wahab Riaz, he should be the winner

Posted by redneck on (January 13, 2012, 1:01 GMT)

hard to differenciate between the nominations on this one. afridi was the bowler of the world cup in my opinion so i would pick his efforts against sri lanka during the cup. not much in it on this one though.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 21:40 GMT)


Aren't these the 2011 awards? That's probably why the figures were left out.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 20:16 GMT)

ofcourse boom boom Afridi!!!!!!!!!!!!11

Posted by Stark62 on (January 12, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

Boom Boom and Kevin! But I have to type 25 characters.

Posted by Mayan820 on (January 12, 2012, 15:47 GMT)

Although Morne Morkel's 4 for 10 in 6 overs with 2 maidens at an econ. rate of 1.66 runs per over against Sri Lanka at the Boland Park Stadium in the Paarl, SA, on 11.01.2012 has not yet been included in this list, it should, as far as I am concerned. It was mainly because of his efforts with the help of L.Tsotsobe's 3 for 19 in the same amount of overs that Sri Lanka was bowled out for 43 runs. It was a brilliant effort by both bowlers, completely destroying the Sri Lankans, but because Morne got a 4 for at a better econ. rate he is my pick. I think that M. Morkel's performance in this match is certainly deserving of this list.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 15:43 GMT)

boom boom afridi 5fa against srilanka sharjah..

Posted by iBilal on (January 12, 2012, 13:05 GMT)

Afridi's 5 against SL is the one. Its rare to witness such one-man-shows

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 12:10 GMT)

definately wahab riaz, an out standing performance, but Afridid's figures against srilanka in sharjah resulted in a victory for Pakistan i guess he deserves it

Posted by Tigg on (January 12, 2012, 10:53 GMT)

Afridi's 5, Bresnan or Steyn.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

The best is of Wahab Riaz 5 for 46 v India,but i feel that the performance of Shahid Afridi against Canada is low scoring match was more better than the mention above.

Posted by msrajani on (January 12, 2012, 9:59 GMT)

If it was any best match list for player My vote would have been for afridi against srilanka at sharjah.Alongside his 5 wickets bowling he also lifted pakistan from 97-6 to competed 200.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 7:35 GMT)

Mitchell Johnson gets my nod. A brilliant bowling performance in a pretty ordinary year. Dale Steyn's last three overs were genius, but his first seven overs were nothing more than ordinary.

Posted by The_big_j on (January 12, 2012, 6:59 GMT)

Wahab Riaz's bowling takes it.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 6:46 GMT)

Shakib should have been here for his 4 for 16 that skittled west indies for 61.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 6:36 GMT)

Boom Boom \o/

Posted by viki_08 on (January 12, 2012, 6:30 GMT)

I can only think of one performance world cup,semifinal against india cleaning up man of the tournament first ball taking a five for.The man is wahab riaz

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 5:41 GMT)

I am sure all of these entries are well judged and no doubt all of these bowlers did a splendid job for their teams. But seeing 2 Afridis and a Wahab Riaz makes me a proud Pakistani...Pakistan will never run out of bowlers ..that is for sure!

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 5:40 GMT)

treat to read....my vote goes to afridi 5 for 35 v Sri Lanka fourth ODI, Sharjah the way he single handedly turn the match is quite awesome to watch..

Posted by DrAtharAbbas on (January 12, 2012, 5:05 GMT)

The people criticizing Shahid Afridi's abilities: He is there twice, I ask those critics OPEN YOU EYES AND LOOK.

Posted by tauhid_aks on (January 12, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

Shakib al Hasan's 4/15 vs West Indies which helped Bangladesh bundle out Wi for 61?

Posted by satish619chandar on (January 12, 2012, 4:57 GMT)

Mitch and Broad were terrific.. Bresnan's was terrific as it came in the flattest of the tracks in India during WC with beautiful death bowling.. Wahab's spell was classy too.. Still, Bresnan was the best i saw last year..

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 4:20 GMT)

I would vote for Afridi's 5/35 as best bowling. It was a lost match which Afridi won single handedly first with the bat then with the ball. This performance did not allow Sri Lanka to come back again in the series.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (January 12, 2012, 4:10 GMT)

Either between Broad's spell in the World Cup or Afridi's spell against Lanka.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 3:56 GMT)

This year Afridi will get this award !

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 3:50 GMT)

afridi is nw a magical man.

Posted by its.rachit on (January 12, 2012, 3:32 GMT)

where is oram's 4 for in the WC quarter final ???

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