Top Performances

Handy Andy sends the Poms packing

Martin Williamson
He had been carrying the drinks for most of the tournament, but when he got his chance Andy Bichel put in an inspirational all-round performance
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Andy Bichel
7 for 20 and 34* v England,2003

You could barely wipe the smile off Andy Bichel's face even during the countless games where he carried the drinks. So when he put together one of the great World Cup all-round efforts, it was tempting to think he might miss the next game with strained facial muscles.

At Port Elizabeth on March 2, 2003, England were looking for a win to get through to the Super Sixes. They won the toss and flew out of the blocks, reaching 66 for 0 in the tenth over before Bichel, the first-change bowler, began his phenomenal performance.

Nick Knight edged to slip, Michael Vaughan was caught behind and Nasser Hussain was bowled by a cracker, all within the space of eight Bichel balls. His outswinger to remove Hussain seemed to surprise the bowler himself, who snared four more batsmen as England struggled to 204.

His 7 for 20 would have been the best World Cup figures in history, were it not for Glenn McGrath's 7 for 15 against Namibia three days earlier. But Bichel's heroics had only just begun.

When Australia crashed to 8 for 135 it seemed that his efforts would go in vain. Bichel was having none of that. He and Michael Bevan made an almost perfect 73-run stand to get over the line with two balls to spare. They were a study in contrasts: Bichel pumped and looking for boundaries, Bevan calm and seeking as many singles as possible.

With two overs remaining, Australia needed a thoroughly gettable 14 but Bichel decided the quicker the better, and picked James Anderson's slower ball from outside off over midwicket for six. A driven four next ball left three runs to get and Bichel looked as if he had won the game already. He finished unbeaten on 34 and ensured England's World Cup was over.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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