ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2017 T20I bowling winner: Take six

Yuzvendra Chahal set England reeling with probably the finest exhibition of bowling by an Indian in a T20I

Deivarayan Muthu
Chahal became the first Indian bowler to take five or more wickets in a T20I  •  Associated Press

Chahal became the first Indian bowler to take five or more wickets in a T20I  •  Associated Press

The short boundaries and the easy-paced, hit-through-the-line pitch at the Chinnaswamy Stadium can spook most bowlers. But not Chahal, who thrives at this venue, and has grown to become one of the MVPs for the local IPL franchise, Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The T20I series against England was on the line, and Chahal tipped it India's way with an outrageous spell that set in motion an England collapse of 8 for 8 - the second-worst eight-wicket collapse in international cricket.
With England chasing 203, Virat Kohli tossed the new ball to Chahal, who bowled a flat dart on the leg stump first up and watched Jason Roy unleash a rasping switch-hit into the stands beyond backward point. Chahal didn't lose his head: he is used to being hit and bouncing back, particularly at this venue. Two balls later, he tossed one up above the eyeline and had Sam Billings tickling a catch to slip.
The asking rate always balloons in steep chases, but Eoin Morgan and Joe Root kept it in check by carting the change bowlers to the short boundaries. They narrowed it down to 86 needed off 42 balls, and with eight wickets in hand, England seemed on the path to go home with a trophy to show for their troubles, after losing the Test and ODI series.
Enter Chahal again, to kill the chase with five wickets in two overs while giving away only six runs - the fantasy of every T20 bowler. If you had blinked, you might have missed it. Chahal fooled the big-hitting left-handers - Morgan, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali - with wide wrong'uns that broke further away. He owned the Chinnaswamy Stadium and the England batsmen that night.

Key moment

Chahal had just bested Morgan with the third ball of his second spell, but Root, one of England's best batsmen against spin, was still capable of salvaging the chase. Having mixed loopy legbreaks with fizzing googlies, Chahal brought out a new toy - a front-of-the-hand flipper - that skidded off the pitch and pinned Root in front. Morgan and Root gone off successive balls. Game over for England.

The numbers

3 Where the performance ranks among the best ones in T20Is.
1 Chahal is the first Indian to take five or more wickets in an innings in T20Is.

What they said

"In the IPL too, I use him [Chahal] in most of the matches [as a wicket-taking option]. He never says 'no' to bowling with the new ball or bowling in the middle overs, so I mean having a guy like this is great. He doesn't say 'no' to any situation." - India captain Virat Kohli
"I plan that batsmen will want to go for their shots because it's a small ground, so I have a chance for wickets. I bowl a fuller length, so I have a chance for lbws if they miss the sweep and reverse-sweep. Never dreamed I'd get six wickets." - Yuzvendra Chahal

The closest contenders

Imran Tahir, 5 for 24 vs New Zealand, Auckland
The South Africa legspinner showed why he was the No. 1 bowler in both limited-overs formats by skittling hosts New Zealand for 107 en route to becoming the second fastest to 50 T20I wickets
Shadab Khan, 4 for 14 vs West Indies, Port-of-Spain
Another wristspinning magician. Shadab, all of 18 then, prospered on a sluggish pitch with quick wrong'uns and legbreaks, helping Pakistan defend 132.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo