World Cup 2015 February 27, 2015

Five World Cup bowling nightmares

ESPNcricinfo staff
West Indies' young captain Jason Holder can console himself as he reflects on the 34 runs he conceded in an over against South Africa that he is not the only World Cup bowler to take a trouncing

1. Brendon McCullum v Steven Finn, Wellington, 2015 - 44 from 10 balls

Brendon McCullum destroyed Steven Finn in the Cake Tin © Getty Images

Finn's previous three deliveries, against Australia, had brought one of the scruffiest hat-tricks in history but his luck was out against a rampant McCullum. Chasing a small target, New Zealand's captain started quickly and then went into overdrive when Finn came on. His first ball disappeared into the crowd and his first over cost 20 - although it did include two dots. Worse was to come, as McCullum cracked four consecutive sixes in an over costing 29, breaking his own record for the fastest World Cup fifty and leaving Finn with wince-inducing figures: 2-0-49-0.

2. Ross Taylor v Shoaib Akhtar, Pallekele, 2011 - 28 in an over

Ross Taylor found his touch from nowhere against Pakistan in 2011 © Associated Press

Taylor was in poor touch on his 27th birthday but, finding himself still at the crease towards the death, he broke free with unprecedented violence, taking 28 off an over from Shoaib Akhtar and 30 - a tournament record at the time - off Abdul Razzaq. New Zealand crashed 114 off the last six overs. There were a few gifts thrown in, as Kamran Akmal ignored one catch and dropped another with Taylor in single figures.

3. Herschelle Gibbs v Daan van Bunge, Bassetere, 2007 - six sixes for the first time in international cricket

Herschelle Gibbs made history in 2007 © AFP

Gibbs slammed six sixes in an over as South Africa plundered 353 from 40 overs against Netherlands and then restricted them to only 132 for 9, winning by the embarrassing margin of 221 runs. It was history in the making but ESPNcricinfo recorded it thus: "Beyond a point the punishment was not a joy to watch. It was like a heavyweight boxer pounding away at an untrained flyweight long after the bell had rung." Van Bunge, the unlucky bowler, became the quiz answer that only the most committed cricket follower can recall.

4. Ajay Jadeja v Waqar Younis, Bangalore, 1996 - 22 in an over

Ajay Jadeja launched an audacious assault on the world's best bowler © Getty Images

Only 22 runs off this over but consider the magnitude of the fixture: India v Pakistan in a World Cup quarter-final in Bangalore. The bowler was no mug, either. Jadeja described it like this: "I received a half-volley first ball, which I dispatched through the covers. From there on, everything I hit was perfect. I knew Waqar would not try to do too much and would rely mostly on his stock ball, the inswinging yorker. The first of the two sixes I hit in that over came against that ball. I picked it up early, stepped out, and flicked it over midwicket. I was just playing my instinctive game."

5. Sanath Jayasuriya v Manoj Prabhakar, Delhi, 1996 - 47 in four overs

Sanath Jayasuriya gave Manoj Prabhakar a swansong to forget Hamish Blair / © Getty Images

This assault not only helped establish the reputation of Sri Lanka's openers, Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana, as batsmen from the future but it ended the career of Prabhakar. A solid servant over more than a decade for India, Prabhakar was approaching his 33rd birthday when India and Sri Lanka met in Delhi - and his first two overs disappeared for 33, before he resorted to bowling offspin. Booed by his home crowd, Prabhakar was dropped for the next game and promptly retired. Jayasuriya did the same thing to England in the quarter-final, forcing Phil Defreitas to turn spinner as well.

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