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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2015 T20 bowling winner: David Wiese, variety seamer

David Wiese used slower balls and legcutters to beat the big-hitting West Indians in Durban

Firdose Moonda
Firdose Moonda
14-Mar-2016
David Wiese: no need for pace and swing  •  Gallo Images

David Wiese: no need for pace and swing  •  Gallo Images

In January 2015, David Wiese became the 12th bowler to take a five-for in a T20I when he helped bowl out West Indies for 126 in Durban. His was an un-South African performance, in that he did not bounce or bully his way to wickets, nor did he swing or seam the ball. Wiese's way, using slower deliveries and cutters, was subtler.
In some ways, his non-headline-grabbing performance was a reflection of the series itself. South Africa, focused on building up to the 2015 World Cup, had rested several big names for the T20Is, including Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, even though West Indies had brought their strongest team. Perhaps unsurprisingly, South Africa lost the contest 2-0 with a game to spare.
A consolation win in Durban was not even on their minds when they gave regular captain Faf du Plessis the third match off. But the reserves were desperate to be noticed and hoped to use the match to secure a more regular space in the side. Morne van Wyk's hundred powered South Africa to 195 for 3, but it was Wiese who nailed the audition.
Handed the ball after the Powerplay, with West Indies 57 for 1, needing nearly ten an over, Wiese immediately sussed out the fact that the pitch called for taking the pace off the ball. He started with a slower ball and had conceded only three in the over when he bowled the final one - a cutter. Marlon Samuels was not in a mood to hang around and tried an inside-out drive that carried to the fielder on the edge of the ring.
Left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso kept the pressure on at the other end, and when Wiese came to bowl his second over, West Indies were anxious to get some runs. Andre Fletcher managed only single, working the ball to the leg side, and Lendl Simmons squeezed two when he swung across the line. Wiese could see the frustration increase.
As Simmons' anxiety to keep motoring on grew, so did Wiese's shrewdness. He dished up a legcutter that Simmons tried to hit over long-on. It didn't clear the boundary and was easily caught by JP Duminy on the rope.
Wiese returned for his second spell with West Indies needing 114 runs from 48 balls. He tested Dwayne Bravo with a slower ball, and seeing that the big hitter wanted to blast him over the leg-side boundary, then bowled another. Bravo tried throwing everything at it but only managed to top-edge a catch to van Wyk at backward square leg.
Wiese momentarily went back to the default South African strategy and banged in two short balls to end his third over; the second of those was sent for a six over deep midwicket by Andre Russell.
Stand-in captain Justin Ontong brought Wiese back for the 17th over, when West Indies still needed 84. This time Wiese stuck to the skills he knew would work, resisting the temptation to bowl faster. Darren Sammy and Kieron Pollard swung hard but could only get singles, after which Sammy top-edged a legcutter he tried to slash at. Three balls later, Carlos Brathwaite fell to Wiese, who by then had announced himself as an option for a South African side that has long wanted variation among its seamers.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent