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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2015 ODI bowling nominees: World Cup wows

Performances from cricket's biggest tournament feature prominently in our pick of the best ODI bowling from 2015

Vishal Dikshit
Vishal Dikshit
08-Jan-2016
Wahab Riaz blows a kiss towards Shane Watson, Australia v Pakistan, World Cup 2015, 3rd quarter-final, Adelaide, March 20, 2015

Wahab Riaz's figures of 2 for 54 don't do justice to the hostility of his spell to Shane Watson  •  Associated Press

Click here for the ODI batting shortlist
Mitchell Marsh
5 for 33 v England
World Cup, Melbourne

After Australia racked up their highest ODI total at the MCG, 342, on the opening day of the World Cup, England would have been wary of the two Mitchells, Starc and Johnson, while having a go in the chase. They conceded only one wicket to each of the left-armers at the start, but were derailed by the third Mitchell. Gary Ballance and Ian Bell both popped catches off Marsh, and Joe Root top-edged the ball to the wicketkeeper. Marsh also claimed Eoin Morgan for a duck and then Jos Buttler to wrap up with his first ODI five-for, all within the 22nd over.
Mohammed Shami
4 for 35 v Pakistan
World Cup, Adelaide

India got the start they wanted from their star batsman to kick-start their World Cup - Virat Kohli's 107 marshalled them to 300. MS Dhoni then extracted strong spells from his bowlers, and Shami shone by dismissing two big names. After Younis Khan hooked him behind the stumps, he got a wicket (Shahid Afridi) off a full toss, then got Wahab Riaz to edge, and finished with four after a well-directed bouncer got Misbah-ul-Haq out short of his century.
Tim Southee
7 for 33 v England
World Cup, Wellington

England hit a new low in the World Cup when they faced hosts New Zealand in Wellington. Eoin Morgan chose to bat and the openers were steady - before Southee hit his stride. Southee showed, with the aid of a crowded slip cordon, that you could beat England at their own game, swing bowling. In his second spell, he swung the ball away consistently, toook two wickets with late-swinging yorkers and another two off legcutters to finish with the third-best figures in a World Cup, and the best for a New Zealand bowler in ODIs.
Trent Boult
5 for 27 v Australia
World Cup, Auckland

After a flurry of one-sided matches between the major teams in the World Cup, there finally came a thriller, featuring the two best sides in the tournament. Boult's pairing with Tim Southee was seemingly getting more fearsome by the day, and he ran through the middle and lower order here. Much like Southee against England, Boult did the damage in his second spell. Once Steven Smith fell for 4, Boult accounted for Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh within three balls and soon reduced Australia from 96 for 4 to 106 for 9.
Mitchell Starc
6 for 28 v New Zealand
World Cup, Auckland

Trent Boult's spell in the first innings set the match up deliciously, with Australia managing only 151. Boult's counterpart, Starc, brought his side back into the match in time, after Brendon McCullum went ballistic with a 21-ball fifty. With accurate inswingers in a row, Starc sent back Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott. He returned for his second spell to take three more wickets and New Zealand were 146 for 9 before Kane Williamson sealed it with a six.
Rubel Hossain
4 for 53 v England
World Cup, Adelaide

England had lost three of their four matches, and now faced Bangladesh, who had shown what a strong ODI side they were - though mainly at home. This time, in Adelaide, they put on a competitive 275, guided by a hundred from Mahmudullah, after which England fell not to spin but pace. The first two of Rubel's four wickets were the more impactful, accounting for Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan in one over when England were 121 for 2. Rubel later dismissed his fast-bowling counterparts James Anderson and Stuart Broad, as if mocking them, to knock England out of the World Cup.
Imran Tahir
4 for 26 v Sri Lanka
World Cup quarter-final, Sydney

South Africa haven't gone well in knockout matches of ICC tournaments, but in this World Cup they cleared the first hurdle thanks to some exceptional performances, led by Tahir's four-for. He was helped by probing spells from the quicks early on, and kept the pressure on Sri Lanka's middle order. He took a return catch to dismiss an in-form Lahiru Thirimanne, trapped Mahela Jayawardene with a wrong'un, and came back later to pick up two more and finish with 4 for 26, helping South Africa reach the semis.
Wahab Riaz
2 for 54 v Australia
World Cup quarter-final, Adelaide

A score of 213 is not great to defend against a team like Australia in their home conditions, unless one or more of your bowlers deliver absolutely fearsome spell. Wahab rose to the occasion, peppering Shane Watson with one short ball after another; he induced a top edge but Rahat Ali dropped the simplest of chances at fine leg. It made for great theatre, but Australia weathered the storm and booked their semi-final berth.
James Faulkner
3 for 36 v New Zealand
World Cup final, Melbourne

It is well established that Australia do half the job of winning their World Cup finals just by turning up, but that still leaves their players with half a job to do. In this final, Faulkner took charge of shouldering the load. After Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson kicked things off with swinging yorkers at the MCG, Faulkner used his pace variations to claim three middle-order wickets, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson and Grant Elliott, to trigger a collapse. New Zealand were reduced from 150 for 3 to 183 all out. It showed why Australia had been desperate to get Faulkner fit for the final.
Mustafizur Rahman
6 for 43 v India
second ODI, Mirpur

Against a full-strength Indian batting line-up, Mustafizur took his second consecutive five-for in his first two ODI appearances, helping Bangladesh to their first ever series win against India, and cementing their place in the 2017 Champions Trophy. He varied his pace, used his cutters skillfully, extracted additional bounce to deceive the likes of Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni, and became only the second bowler after Zimbabwe's Brian Vitori to claim five-fors in his first two ODIs.
Kagiso Rabada
6 for 16 v Bangladesh
first ODI, Mirpur

Just about 20 days after Mustafizur's dream debut, another 20-year-old pace sensation scripted a similar start to his career on the same ground. Rabada was handed the new ball in the absence of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander, and he employed pace, precision and variation in length to storm to the best figures on ODI debut, including a hat-trick (Tamin Iqbal bowled, Liton Das caught at midwicket, Mahmudullah out lbw).
Morne Morkel
4 for 39 v India
third ODI, Rajkot

Morkel is among the most underrated bowlers of his time, and he proved it in this game (in which most people would credit Quinton de Kock's hundred for South Africa's win), snuffing India out with a four-for when they looked well on course to chase 271. With Imran Tahir, Morkel conceded only 23 runs in the batting Powerplay, pushing the required run rate up from 7.26 to 8.60. He then had MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane caught under pressure, the last two off consecutive deliveries, to take the puff out of India's chase.
Click here for the ODI batting shortlist

Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo