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How many people have taken a wicket with their first delivery in the World Cup?

Vijay Shankar's dismissal of Imam-ul-Haq is the eighth recorded instance of a first-ball wicket in the World Cup Getty Images

How many people have taken a wicket with their first delivery in the World Cup, as Vijay Shankar did? asked Manish Tekriwal from England, among others
This is a tricky one, as we don't have ball-by-ball data for many of the matches before 1999. I've seen it written that there were three previous instances, or six, or nine: but actually Vijay Shankar was, as far as we know, the eighth bowler to take a wicket with his first ball in the World Cup. He did it in slightly peculiar circumstances, as he was finishing off an over after Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked up an injury, and trapped Imam-ul-Haq of Pakistan lbw with his first delivery at Old Trafford a few days ago.

The first man known to have done this was the England medium-pacer Mark Ealham, who dismissed Hashan Tillakaratne of Sri Lanka with his first delivery in the tournament opener at Lord's in 1999. He was followed by Ian Harvey of Australia (2003), Malachi Jones of Bermuda (that earth-shattering catch by Dwayne Leverock in Port-of-Spain) and Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf (his only delivery in any World Cup) in 2007, Thisara Perera of Sri Lanka and Kenya's James Ngoche in 2011 (Ngoche's was stumped off a wide), and finally Dawlat Zadran of Afghanistan in 2015. The New Zealander James Franklin almost joined this exclusive club: he dismissed Ed Joyce with his first legal delivery against England in St Lucia in 2007, but had started with a no-ball.

If anyone has documentary proof of any instances before 1999, please let me know.

Was Rohit Sharma's 140 the highest score against Pakistan in the World Cup? asked Cherise Asha Clarke from Trinidad & Tobago
Rohit Sharma's fine innings at Old Trafford was the ninth century scored against Pakistan in World Cup matches. But there has been one higher innings than Rohit's 140: in Johannesburg in 2003, Andrew Symonds hit 143 not out as Australia reached 310, which proved enough for an 82-run victory.

The other World Cup centuries against Pakistan were scored by Richie Richardson (1987), Ross Taylor (2011), Virat Kohli and Ireland's William Porterfield (2015), and Joe Root, Jos Buttler and David Warner in 2019.

During the World Cup match between India and Australia in 1996, five Australian wickets fell to run-outs. Was this a record? asked Ashish Mishra from India
That 1996 match in Mumbai was narrowly won by Australia, even though they suffered five run-outs in making 258. There have now been nine cases of five run-outs in an innings in all ODIs. The only other one in the World Cup was the first such instance, and came in the inaugural final, at Lord's in 1975: five Australians were run out that day too, three of them by Viv Richards.

The Mali women's team were bowled out for 6 in a T20I in Rwanda last week. Is this the lowest total in international cricket? asked Ibrahim Kamara from Sierra Leone
It certainly is: Mali's women managed to compile the three lowest totals in international cricket, on successive days last week during the Kwibuka Women's Twenty20 tournament in Kigali, Rwanda. First they were skittled for 6 by the hosts (who needed four balls to win), then made 11 against Tanzania, and followed that with 10 against Uganda, who had earlier piled up a record total of 314 for 2.

That total of 6 included five extras, and just one run off the bat - by opener Mariam Samake who, amid a welter of ducks by her team-mates, managed to avoid bagging one herself, collecting 1 in each of the first three games, and then making 9 not out in the fourth, in which Mali reached the prosperity of 30 for 9 in their 20 overs (sadly for them, Rwanda had earlier made 246 for 1).

Such matches have been deemed official since the middle of last year, as a result of an ICC decision to broaden the game. It's had quite an effect on the records for the lowest totals in women's T20 internationals, among others, and has led to some statisticians querying the wisdom of the ruling.

Martin Guptill hit his own wicket during the match against South Africa. How many people have been out this way in the World Cup? asked Shanthy Noronha from Germany
Martin Guptill's unusual departure during New Zealand's match against South Africa at Edgbaston last week was the tenth hit-wicket dismissal in the World Cup. The first one - and still the most famous - came early on during the very first final at Lord's in 1975, when the West Indian opener Roy Fredericks thrillingly hooked Dennis Lillee out of the ground - but trudged back to the pavilion when he realised he'd trod on his stumps while completing the shot.

And there's an update to the recent question about the oldest surviving World Cup player, from Bipin Dani in India
"You mentioned that Prabhu Nana of East Africa was the oldest surviving man who played in the World Cup. However, it seems that actually he died a few years ago. This is what my friend and ex-umpire Subhash Modi from Kenya told me: 'Very sorry to learn the sad demise of Mr PG Nana some years ago. May God rest his soul in eternal peace. He was a gentleman and one of the best left-arm spinners in East and Central Africa.'"

That's sad news, and we are trying to confirm the details. It would mean that the West Indian offspinner Lance Gibbs, who's now 84, is the oldest surviving World Cup player.

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