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July 16, 2014

Ten horror starts

Zeeshan Mahmud

5 for 4. The horror. © Getty Images

Every now and then, a batting team fails to turn the ignition on at the start of a cricket match. In most such cases, they nose-dive to collapse, but on rare occasions, they manage to recover and rise like the Phoenix. Here is a list of ten horrible starts from Statsguru, ranked according to their merit.

1. 0-4

It is hard not to get astonished when you first come across this statistical gem. The seed for this compilation was sowed when I saw the footage of Roy, Gaekwad, Mantri and Manjrekar falling for noughts in the BBC documentary "Empire of Cricket: India". Fred Trueman terrorized the top order, while Alec Bedser chipped in with one wicket on a forgettable day for Indian cricket at Leeds. They went on to lose the first Test. But this had none of the horror of the next one.

2. The Vaas hat-trick

It was the quintessential Valentine's Day massacre. Every Bangladeshi school kid from the early 2000s would remember this and shudder. Although I did not witness it live, the manner in which Vaas set Pietermaritzburg on fire is engrained in my memory. He removed Hannan Sarkar, Mohammad Ashraful and Ehsanul Haque all for ducks in a stunning, one-of-a-kind hat-trick, and then pick another wicket in a whirlwind opening over. Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvan Atapattu would chase the paltry target down with plenty of time to spare. Carnage.

3. 0 for 3 and then...

This is the mother of all T20 comebacks. Zimbabwe were down 0 for 3 with Sulieman Benn taking 4 wickets, but they went on to post 105... and defend it. It was a performance set to inspire any team, led by the spinners Prosper Utseya, Raymond Price and especially, Graeme Cremer.

4. Shaun Pollock v the state of Pakistan

Pakistan 0-3. After South Africa posted a robust 271 in the Wills Quadrangular tournament, Pakistan found themselves in all sorts of trouble with Saeed Anwar, Aamir Sohail and Ijaz Ahmed back in the hut for ducks thanks to a fiery spell by Shaun Pollock. Shahid Afridi succumbed soon after for 7. I bitterly remember this because I placed a bet with a Ghanaian friend of mine. I was of course backing Pakistan, just to rile my Pretorian friend up. Imagine my plight then, when Pakistan's top order was being blown away by Pollock, who'd appeal for any ball that pitched on the line of the stumps. Pakistan recovered well and came close, but eventually fell short. And I had to pay up.

5. In spite of a false start ...

In spite of a false start, three down for nought to be exact, a late century by the wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal would help save face for Pakistan. Earlier Salman Butt, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf were all dismissed for duck by Pathan. However, India under-performed with the bat in their first innings before Pakistan took the game away with a huge second innings.

6. An array of ducks

This Kenyan scorecard features six ducks in a T20 match with the scorecard reading 0 for 3 and then 1 for 4. Mark Gillespie and Shane Bond shared the wickets, and New Zealand went on to easily chase the target of 74.

7. Joy Zoysa!

Although the player of the match would be Tillakaratne Dilshan for his unbeaten 163, it was the left-arm seamer Nuwan Zoysa who triggered Zimbabwe's collapse with wickets in each of his first three balls. It was as if Trevor Gripper perished to the grim reaper, Murray Goodwin was anything but in sight of one, and Neil Johnson, well, he too bagged a blob.

8. The Bailey-Bedser case

Whatever glee Australia might have derived after bowling out England for 68 was short-lived as they would go on to falter to a disastrous 32 for 7... and then declare. As it transpired, England the failed to reach the set target of 193 runs.

9. The Hadlee-Cairns junta

New Zealand versus Pakistan. In sixty overs, New Zealand would make 238 before off-roading Pakistan's chase early, with Mohsin Khan, Mudassar Nazar and Zaheer Abbas all bagging noughts. The scorecard read 0 for 3, with Richard Hadlee and Lance Cairns sharing the spoils. Pakistan never recovered.

10. 7 for 6

As a Bangladeshi fan I have experienced the ignominy of 6 for 5. If 6 for 5 was bad, then 7 for 6 must be worse. Australia managed those depths after being asked to follow-on. England went on to win by an innings and 21 runs as the top four of Charles Bannerman, Percy McDonnell, Harry Bonnor and George Trott all departing for ducks. Jack Blackham managed five runs, but he too fell before Sammy Woods departed for another blob to bring the score to 7 for 6. It was all down to the genius of Bobby Peel exploiting the sticky wicket!

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Posted by Dummy4 on (October 29, 2014, 1:01 GMT)

11. 0-3 Bangladesh against Zimbabwe 2014

Posted by Dummy4 on (July 18, 2014, 8:28 GMT)

What about Pakistan 26/6 at Eden Gardens in 1998-99 and 39/6 at Karachi in 2006 and Pak winning on both occasions against India.....amazing.

Posted by Navendra on (July 18, 2014, 0:59 GMT)

What about South Africa, 5 for 4 after 2.1 overs and then 12 for 6 against West Indies in a T20I at Port Elizabeth on 16th Dec, 2007.

Posted by Ravi on (July 17, 2014, 20:27 GMT)

Pakistan 3-0 on Day 1 of the Test against India. They went on to win by 341 runs.

Posted by Dummy4 on (July 17, 2014, 5:18 GMT)

The tenth mention. England won by an innings after posting just 172. Every bowler would want to bowl on that one at least once.

Posted by Dummy4 on (July 17, 2014, 0:50 GMT)

Glenn Maxwell innings come to mind too!

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