Matt Henry's three-wicket spell in the World Cup semi-final that knocked India out of the tournament is the winner of the ESPNcricinfo award for ODI bowling performance of the year. More on the awards here

Matt Henry

3 for 37 v India, World Cup semi-final, Manchester

Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli scored 1438 runs between them in the round-robin matches of the 2019 World Cup. Across all their league games, New Zealand scored 1674 runs, including extras.

Coming into the semi-final at Old Trafford, therefore, it was vitally important for New Zealand to limit the damage India's top three could cause, to whatever extent possible. Especially after New Zealand, choosing to bat, posted 239 for 8 at the end of a stop-start, rain-affected innings that stretched into the reserve day.

This was a somewhat two-paced surface with a bit of nibble in it, but against the quality of India's top order, New Zealand's lengths and lines had to be impeccable. That's exactly what Trent Boult and Henry delivered in a thrilling passage of new-ball bowling, as India slumped to 5 for 3 within the first 19 balls of their chase. Boult did Kohli in with his left-arm inswing, either side of which Henry removed both openers with perfectly pitched away-seamers.

At 24 for 4, it didn't seem like Henry would be required to call on his death-bowling skills, but a brilliant 59-ball 77 from Ravindra Jadeja hauled India back from the dead and put them within reach of the final. Then, with 42 required off the last four overs, Henry came back, nailed his into-the-pitch cutters, conceded just five singles in his tenth over, and amped up the pressure, which led to Jadeja's dismissal in the next over.

Key moment

Angling into off stump, straightening off the surface, the line forcing Sharma to feel for the ball, the length preventing him from moving either forward or back, the deviation just enough to graze the outside edge. This was just about the perfect delivery from Henry, and it was exactly what New Zealand needed, given Sharma came into the semi-final with scores of 102, 104 and 103 in his three previous innings.

The numbers

8 No bowler took more wickets in the first Powerplay (overs one to ten) than Henry at the 2019 World Cup.

5 The number of not-in-control deliveries Henry bowled during India's first Powerplay at Old Trafford. Three of them resulted in wickets.

1, 1, 1 The scores of India's top three in the match.

What they said

"Against such a quality batting line-up, he had to be inch-perfect, and today he was, and that led to New Zealand's victory."
- Daniel Vettori

The closest contenders

Chris Woakes, 3 for 20 v Australia, World Cup semi-final, Birmingham
A day after the nerve-jangler at Old Trafford, Edgbaston produced a one-sided romp that England bossed from start to finish. England's fast bowlers made three decisive breakthroughs in the first 6.1 overs. Woakes, unerring with his length and moving the ball both ways at a whippy pace, took two of them, getting an indecisive David Warner caught behind with seam movement and extra bounce, and bowling Peter Handscomb through the gate with a perfectly pitched nip-backer. At the end of Woakes' first spell, which read 6-0-16-2, Australia were 28 for 3 in 11 overs, well on their way out of the World Cup.

Yuzvendra Chahal, 6 for 42 v Australia, third ODI, Melbourne
Chahal hadn't played the first two matches of the series, and he had never played an international game in Australia. But when he was picked for the decider at the MCG, he responded magnificently. Chahal changed the game in his first over, getting Shaun Marsh, who had put on 73 with Usman Khawaja, stumped by firing one down the leg side, and three balls later he had Khawaja caught and bowled off a leading edge. The wickets just kept coming after that, off loopy legbreaks and flatter skidders, and by the time he was done he had the joint-best ODI figures ever recorded in Australia.

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2019