World T20 Top Five February 29, 2016

We will york you

In high-pressure World T20 matches, these bowlers used their cunning to get the better of batsmen

Umar Gul: it's all in the hands © AFP

Umar Gul
5 for 6 v New Zealand
The Oval, 2009
In a must-win match, you can expect magic from Pakistan. Gul's wizardry came via reverse swing and yorkers, flattening New Zealand for 99, and giving him the first five-for in T20Is. A superb catch by Shahid Afridi gave Gul his first wicket, but he needed little help for the rest: Peter McGlashan was yorked lbw, Nathan McCullum's leg stump expelled, James Franklin's middle stump pegged back, and Kyle Mills offered a simple catch to cover off a legcutter.

Sunil Narine: superstar support act © Getty Images

Sunil Narine
3 for 9 v Sri Lanka
Final, Colombo, 2012
Given Marlon Samuels and Darren Sammy's performances in the match, Narine's 3 for 9 was at best a supporting act, but it was one that put pressure on a line-up comfortable against offspin. In his first over, he beat Kumar Sangakkara three times. He then picked up Mahela Jayawardene, the top scorer, and had Nuwan Kulasekara, caught at the boundary just when he was threatening to take the game away from West Indies.

You just can't get past Lasith Malinga on his day © AFP

Lasith Malinga
5 for 31 v England
Pallekele, 2012
England, the unlikely world T20 champions, were facing the world's best bowler in the format, in his territory. It could only go one way: in the space of four balls, in his first over, Malinga took three wickets. He returned in the 14th over, whereupon Jos Buttler hooked one to long leg to give him wicket No. 4. So irresistible was he that top scorer Samit Patel was cleaned up with a full toss, sending England out of the tournament.

Dale Steyn: no choke here © Getty Images

Dale Steyn
4 for 17 v New Zealand
Chittagong, 2014
With South Africa needing to defend 29 in the last three overs to remain in the hunt for a semi-final spot, the jokes came thick and fast. Steyn took a wicket in the 18th, but Luke Ronchi and Ross Taylor eased the pressure with three fours in the 19th, which meant New Zealand needed seven off the final one. Steyn returned, and his over went: W, 0, 0, 4… three runs needed from two balls… W, run out.

Rangana Herath turned a walk-in-the-park chase into a nightmare for New Zealand © Getty Images

Rangana Herath
5 for 3 v New Zealand
Chittagong, 2014
Chasing 120 with Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum in your batting line-up? No sweat. But wait, here's Herath. His rocket throw runs out Guptill, and after that show of athleticism, he falls back to plain old flight, big turn, and deception with faster ones. New Zealand are 30 for 5 and Herath still has an over to go. When he returns, he runs out Kane Williamson and takes another wicket. "What I realised was, we needed wickets, and I put the ball in the right place," he says. So crafty.

Nishi Narayanan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Surath on March 2, 2016, 8:50 GMT

    @ GHTVNATH ON MARCH 1, 2016, 11:07 GMT: Those were the best days of SL cricket which is way beyond the reach of this bunch of losers. They had fight left in them when everything was going against them. Now what we see is a team with no leadership, no hope, blind leading the blind and losing every single game they play

  • Tharindu on March 1, 2016, 11:07 GMT

    Herath's one. No doubt. Sri Lanka had no chance of winning when they came to bowl after putting very low score. That helped Sri Lanka to come to Final and finally win the Cup.

  • Ryan on March 1, 2016, 8:01 GMT

    So embarrassing we are the victims on 3/5 occasions. We should have won the ones against Sri Lanka and South Africa. While they were some good performances, ours were pretty pathetic.

  • Nigel on March 1, 2016, 1:22 GMT

    Why did three of these bowlers pick on New Zealand, though?

  • OmerPaki123 on February 29, 2016, 21:11 GMT

    where is Gul's 5 for 6 against SA.

  • Malusi on February 29, 2016, 16:41 GMT

    Defending 7 runs of the last over! That is pressure, little room for error. But will give it to Herath defending 120.

  • Sunny on February 29, 2016, 16:20 GMT

    SL is lucky as no other team has the same 4 or 5 players doing the job in every tournament. they had to suffer the sharp decline after those players retired or got over the hill.

  •   Darwas Asia on February 29, 2016, 16:10 GMT

    umer gul 5/6 Against new Zeeland in world cup

  • Hristiyan on February 29, 2016, 12:25 GMT

    Overall the best t20 bowler is Malinga /at the death overs especially/! Herath wins this one though!! It was the most beautiful spell I've seen in this format. A must win match for the bout teams and he just blew New Zealand away.

  • Mustansir on February 29, 2016, 11:15 GMT

    RP Singh against south africa 2007 should be there as well

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