New Zealand v Pakistan, ICC World Twenty20, The Oval June 13, 2009

The confounding Mr Gul

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Umar Gul became the first bowler to claim five-wickets in a 20-over international and, according to Daniel Vettori, the first to achieve reverse swing.

Vettori's stunned expression at the post-match press conference at The Oval spoke volumes for Gul's bewitching influence over his side. The sixth bowler used by Younis Khan, Gul's entry in the 13th over of the innings paid immediate dividends, with Scott Styris and Peter McGlashan falling to his third and fourth deliveries. Gul sent Nathan McCullum's leg-stump cartwheeling in his next over, then closed with the dismissals of James Franklin and Kyle Mills - again in consecutive balls.

Gul finished with the astonishing figures of 5-6 from three overs, and the satisfaction of having entranced a New Zealand side four days removed from pushing South Africa, the tournament favourites, to the wire at Lord's.

"I've never, ever seen someone reverse the ball after 12 overs," said Vettori, a 13-year international veteran. "He managed to do that and that made a real difference.

"He obviously bowled really well. He got the ball to reverse, and I don't think in the history of Twenty20 cricket anyone's got the ball to reverse. That made a massive difference today, and with his pace and his accuracy as well as the ball reversing he was a difficult proposition.

"I really don't know (how). It's the first time I've ever seen it happen."

Younis said the explanation lay in the bowler's action and the nature of Twenty20 cricket where the ball is hit hard and often. "Gul is effective during the middle overs. He has the pace, the reverse swing, a good action for it. Actually he has a very good action for reverse swing.

"This is not the first time he has done it for us - the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup also he was leading wicket-taker. The good thing about his bowling is that he bowls in the middle and there is a lot of hits on the ball and the ball all the time goes in crowd and hits the wall and these kind of things and sometimes that is a factor for us."

Gul, meanwhile, credited his devastating form to the influence of two of Pakistan's finest exponents of reverse-swing bowling. "I have really developed my yorker by watching videos of Waqar and Wasim," he said. "They have really helped me.

"In Twenty20, you have to be able to bowl the yorker, bouncer and the slower ball. Now I want to be the highest wicket-taker in the tournament. My captain just told me to go and get wickets and that's what I did."

Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo