From Wasim Akram to Lasith Malinga - nine memorable ODI collapses

Sometimes in one-day cricket, an innings is never in more peril than when it's almost in the bag

Himanshu Agrawal
Australia squandered a golden opportunity to inflict a rare ODI series defeat on the world champions England, when they lost 7 for 32 in a stunning collapse at Old Trafford this week. Here are nine other occasions when a one-day innings imploded in style
India v New Zealand, Vizag 2016 New Zealand lost 8 for 16
R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja had tormented the visitors in the Tests, and in the ODI decider, it was the turn - in every sense of the word - of the wily legspinner Amit Mishra to fox New Zealand. They restricted India to 269 on a turning pitch with the ball coming on slowly, enough ingredients for Mishra and his men to exploit.
At 63 for 2, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor looked ready for the long haul, but Williamson's attempted loft off Axar Patel found long off. In the next over, Taylor departed while cutting Mishra and two balls later, a clueless BJ Watling was bowled by a googly. Not to be left behind, even debutant offspinner Jayant Yadav stepped in to trap Corey Anderson plumb lbw. New Zealand were six-down in a flash, but Mishra wanted more. He drifted one away from the left-handed Jimmy Neesham to castle him in typical legspinner fashion and in the same over, had Tim Southee stumped.
Mishra then got five after Sodhi top-edged a heave in his next over and soon, the game ended when Patel bowled Santner. New Zealand were cleaned up in ten overs of spin, but who knew Mishra - Man of the Match and the Series - would never play an ODI again despite figures of 5 for 18.
Has there ever been a more bizarre way to throw away a game? Australia posted 348 and India's chase took off in a hurry. Though Rohit Sharma fell for 41, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli batted with ridiculous ease. Both found boundaries ruthlessly to give the impression of 349 being a routine chase in modern ODI cricket, only for India to be stung by panic.
Having added 212 in less than 30 overs, Dhawan and Kohli were left with just 72 to get from 75 deliveries. But that is when the mockery started: Dhawan, on 126, slashed John Hastings to point and three balls later, MS Dhoni tickled one to the keeper for nought. Kane Richardson then returned and with a sudden new-found zing, rushed through India.
He first persuaded Kohli to spoon one to mid-off for 106; and in each of his next three overs, Richardson had Ajinkya Rahane, Rishi Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar effortlessly caught. In between, Gurkeerat Mann fell while sweeping Nathan Lyon and soon enough, Mitchell Marsh wiped out the tail. Richardson finished with 5 for 68, as India slumped from 277 for 1 to 323 all out - in spite of three dropped catches in the mix - with Australia dancing to victory by 25 runs.
New Zealand v Australia, Auckland 2015 New Zealand lost 8 for 68
In an excruciating day of cricket, this game showed how the ball remains a handy weapon despite the rarely contested dominance of the bat in ODIs. Both sides slipped, fumbled and jostled to keep the tension alive until the final ball was bowled. Australia were the first to throw away all the momentum, as despite being 80 for 1, they were skittled for 151 as Trent Bo(u)lt ran through the middle order for fun to claim 5 for 27.
In reply, Brendon McCullum flew to a 23-ball 50 to all but kill the contest. But despite taking New Zealand to 78 for 1, McCullum started a procession by falling to Pat Cummins. Next over, Mitchell Starc got two in two balls by firing searing yorkers at Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott. Kane Williamson and Corey Anderson calmly added 52 after what seemed only like a temporary jolt; but once Anderson departed, the chase turned into a farce. Luke Ronchi gloved one behind off Starc, Daniel Vettori chipped a catch to mid on and Starc again fired consecutive yorkers to the tail. Watching all the drama was Williamson, as New Zealand required six runs with 27 overs but - shockingly - just one wicket remaining.
Next ball - as if unmoved with whatever happened around him - Williamson deposited Cummins for six over long on as Starc's 6 for 28 went in vain. Game over. Eden Park erupts.
During the 2011 World Cup, India had collapsed against England, South Africa, West Indies and Pakistan, but this one was the worst of the lot. Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar had added 142 in less than 18 overs in a sensational start, and Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir continued by adding another 125 before Dale Steyn and company took matters into their hands.
In the batting Powerplay, first Tendulkar fell to Morne Morkel for 111, sparking the fire to come. Steyn immediately had Gambhir caught at mid off before Yusuf Pathan mistimed one to cover. Yuvraj Singh hit a six - India's only boundary after Tendulkar's wicket until the innings concluded - before holing out for 12 and Virat Kohli's return catch to Robin Peterson meant India's Powerplay was wasted. Two overs later, Steyn struck again when a dead-straight yorker accounted for Harbhajan Singh. Peterson also removed Zaheer Khan before Steyn proved too hot to handle for Ashish Nehra and Munaf Patel to finish with a Man-of-the-Match performance of 5 for 50.
In no time, India crashed from 267 for 1 to 296 all out as MS Dhoni witnessed everything unfold. Half-centuries from Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers then meant South Africa hunted down the target in the final over, confining India to their only defeat of an otherwise successful campaign.
A target of 210 was meant to be a cakewalk for South Africa after Charl Langeveldt's 5 for 39 had bowled Sri Lanka out for just about a competitive score. They were steady at 160 for 2 in the 33rd over with the well-set pair of Jacques Kallis and Herschelle Gibbs at the crease. That is when the veteran Muttiah Muralitharan arose to give the opposition some trembling. He first dived for a fine return catch off Gibbs before trapping Mark Boucher on the crease next ball. Five overs later, South Africa were still firm favourites when Kumar Sangakkara nimbly stumped Justin Kemp for 5, but who knew what was coming.
With four runs to get from more than five overs, Lasith Malinga started a carnage that lasted four balls. First, he bamboozled Shaun Pollock with a dipping yorker, then made Andrew Hall balloon a catch to cover, completed his hat-trick as Kallis was caught behind and finally, crashed Makhaya Ntini's stumps to become the first man in international cricket to take four wickets in as many deliveries.
Moments earlier, a South Africa win had been a formality. Now they were reduced to 207 for 9 and it required an outside edge from Robin Peterson off Malinga to help his side over the line.
Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Sharjah 1999 Sri Lanka lost 9 for 39
It was a comedy of errors from all the batsmen. Pakistan surrendered when 250 seemed imminent after wickets were given to even part-timer Russell Arnold amidst a flurry of run outs of Mohammad Yousuf, Wasim Akram and Azhar Mahmood, as 131 for 2 became 196 all out.
But that was not it. More drama was reserved for Sri Lanka's innings. Sri Lanka were cruising courtesy of a stable stand of 115 between Romesh Kaluwitharana and Arnold. All they needed was 40 from more than 14 overs with nine wickets in hand. But Abdul Razzaq dealt the first blow by having Kaluwitharana caught behind for 75 before Shoaib Malik bowled Arnold for 61. Soon after, Wasim Akram got his counterpart Sanath Jayasuriya for 1 and Aravinda de Silva for 9 before Razzaq ran riot.
His next four overs accounted for four scalps, including two off successive balls. Razzaq got rid of Mahela Jayawardene and Suresh Perera in the 46th over, and bowled Chaminda Vaas in the 48th. That left Sri Lanka with three to get from two overs with Chamara Silva still lurking. But to add to Pakistan's momentum, Malik's direct hit from square leg ran out Muttiah Muralitharan and next ball, Razzaq also removed Silva for 13. On a day of high-class thrill, the match ended in a tie after Razzaq bagged 5 for 31.
Rain had knocked South Africa out of the 1992 World Cup just about a year earlier, and it once again pushed their required run rate in an otherwise gettable chase. Pakistan were restricted to 214 by Fanie de Villiers but the hosts had their target reduced to 172 in 31 overs after rain during the lunch break. South Africa needed to go at nearly six an over but remained on course with Hansie Cronje and Jonty Rhodes batting with command.
The requirement was down to 25 from 30 balls with seven wickets in the bank. But the magician Wasim Akram had far from given up. He attacked the right-handers from around the wicket, bowling Rhodes in the 27th over to open the floodgates. Waqar Younis didn't take time to send the new batsman, the free-scoring Dave Callaghan, packing either and Akram then spoiled the debut of wicketkeeper Errol Stewart.
With pressure mounting, Brian McMillan's attempted flick had him trapped, leaving Cronje as the only dependable batsman to score the remaining 15 runs from 13 balls. But Cronje ran himself out by getting into a tangle with tailender Meyrick Pringle in search of a desperate single. Soon after with ten to get, Pringle himself was caught short of his crease in a case of utter hustle and bustle, as Akram bagged the last man Allan Donald to wrap up the game by nine runs.
South Africa v Pakistan, Durban 1993 South Africa lost 9 for 39
Just days earlier, South Africa had suffered another hurtful collapse as Pakistan scripted a miraculous comeback win. In yet another low scoring thriller, Pakistan had put on 208, another manageable chase even by the then-ODI standards. Openers Andrew Hudson and Kepler Wessels knocked off 101 out of the required 209 before Wessels went back for 42. Hudson and Peter Kirsten then added 58, but Asif Mujtaba - after a crucial 49 not out with the bat - removed Kirsten to start the fun.
Quickly, Hudson also found himself back in the hut when a rapid Waqar Younis yorker castled him for 93 in the 43rd over. Two balls later, Daryll Cullinan suffered similar fate and abruptly, South Africa's required rate had risen above six with 29 to get from 27 balls after Hansie Cronje was also bowled by Younis for 11.
The situation had become so demanding that Jonty Rhodes ran himself out in a suicidal attempt to sneak a bye; what followed was even more shambolic with Wasim Akram running out Brian McMillan by a yard. Craig Matthews couldn't survive the threat of Younis either, who - after Dave Richardson was also found short while running - finished with 5 for 25 for Pakistan to win by ten runs in an astonishing choke that South Africa would soon become famous for.
Fancy chasing 249 against West Indies with Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh and Roger Harper to face? Sri Lanka did, only to end up folding for 55, the last eight of those wickets nabbed for just ten runs. Brendon Kuruppu's lackadaisical run-out was signal enough of what was to come, and Roshan Mahanama's needless poke against Marshall proved just that. Asanka Gurusinha and Arjuna Ranatunga struggled while adding 23 for the third wicket, but Harper had Ranatunga caught by Walsh at long off, then bowled Gurusinha in the same over and soon ran out de Silva.
Sri Lanka were five down for 50, and from there on, the game was all about Walsh, who commenced an unstoppable onslaught. After getting the opposition captain Duleep Mendis, he scythed through the tail with all four of Asantha de Mel, Ravi Ratnayeke, Rumesh Ratnayake and Graeme Labrooy clean bowled with pace and movement. At one stage, Walsh's figures read a surreal 4 for 0, and ended with a stupendous 5 for 1 to hand West Indies victory by 193 runs.

Himanshu Agrawal is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo