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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards T20I bowling nominees: Asif, RP Singh, Sreesanth sparkle

Some sharp spells of seam and swing in our T20I bowling shortlist

RP Singh rocked South Africa's dreams with his four-for  •  Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

RP Singh rocked South Africa's dreams with his four-for  •  Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

2 for 12 vs Australia
World T20, Durban

India had set Australia an imposing 189 to win and make it to the final against Pakistan. Sreesanth opened the attack for India and got the ball to swing at considerable pace under lights. His first two overs were impeccable: he beat Matthew Hayden regularly and conceded just five runs. Australia, however, attacked RP Singh and got to 36 after the first five overs. With the first ball of his third over, Sreesanth uprooted Adam Gilchrist's middle stump to give India their first breakthrough. Hayden kept the chase alive with belligerent knock. In the 15th over, Sreesanth returned for one last burst. Hayden, full of confidence, charged and swung across the line, but the yorker sneaked under his bat and uprooted off stump. Minus Hayden, 55 runs off 32 balls proved too difficult for Australia. Sreesanth had struck two telling blows and finished with the second-most economical four-over spell ever in Twenty20 internationals.
Umar Gul
3 for 15 vs New Zealand
World T20, Cape Town

Pakistan employed Umar Gul effectively with the relatively old ball during the World Twenty20. His ability to fire it into the blockhole repeatedly made him extremely difficult to hit towards the end of an innings. His best performance came in the semi-final against New Zealand where his spell of 3 for 15 proved instrumental. New Zealand had made a confident start, reaching 75 for 2 before Gul came on in the 12th over. He conceded only three runs off that over and returned to inflict serious damage in his second, dismissing Scott Styris and Peter Fulton in the space of three balls to leave New Zealand struggling at 87 for 4. Gul then dealt another crucial blow by inducing an edge from Jacob Oram in his next over, crippling the New Zealand innings: they finished with 143 for 8, which was nowhere near enough for the Pakistan batsmen.
RP Singh
4 for 13 vs South Africa
World T20, Durban

India began their defence of 153 against South Africa in a must-win game dismally, with Sreesanth conceding 11 runs off the first over. RP Singh, however, brought them back strongly when he trapped Herschelle Gibbs lbw first ball with a perfect inswinger and two balls later induced an edge from Graeme Smith that was taken splendidly by Dinesh Karthik at slip. In his third over, one ball after Justin Kemp was run out, Singh produced a vicious yorker that swing into Shaun Pollock's leg stump, leaving South Africa in tatters at 31 for 5. With their hopes of winning fading fast, South Africa's chances of making the semi-finals depended on whether they could reach 126 to qualify on net run-rate. Singh put paid to those as well by bowling Albie Morkel for 36 in the penultimate over to finish with 4 for 15.
Stuart Clark
4 for 20 vs Sri Lanka
World T20, Cape Town

In a replay of the World Cup final, Australia and Sri Lanka faced off in a knockout. The prize at stake was a World Twenty20 semi-final berth. Brett Lee and Nathan Bracken gave Australia the advantage when they reduced Sri Lanka to 11 for 3, but it was Stuart Clark who hammered the advantage home, taking 4 for 20 to ensure the contest was all but over at the halfway stage. Clark bowled four overs on the trot and struck in each. The killer blow coming in the tenth over when he dismissed Kumar Sangakkara for 22, and Farveez Maharoof a ball later. Clark had earlier picked up Chamara Silva and Tillakaratne Dilshan, and by the time he was finished, Sri Lanka were 43 for 7 with no way back.
Daniel Vettori
4 for 20 vs India
World T20, Johannesburg

The Indian openers had got off to a breakneck start, scoring 67 off the first five overs in reply to New Zealand's 190. Virender Sehwag was dismissed in the sixth over but New Zealand needed more wickets to slow down the rate. The captain, Daniel Vettori, brought himself on after the fielding restrictions were lifted and immediately forced a return catch from Robin Uthappa. Vettori varied his flight and pace cleverly to choke the run-flow, increase the pressure, and eventually lure the batsmen to their demise. The big wicket was Gautam Gambhir's. Vettori came back strongly after being clouted over the long-on boundary, bowling a slower ball and inducing an edge to get his man. Vettori's wickets combined with his economy - three overs for 14 runs - helped New Zealand wrest the advantage. The knockout punch was delivered in the 17th over when Vettori bowled Irfan Pathan and had Dinesh Karthik caught to end the match with 4 for 20.
Mohammad Asif
4 for 18 vs India
World T20, Durban

The highly anticipated group match between India and Pakistan threatened to peter out into a no-contest after Mohammad Asif had his way with the Indian top order. The Kingsmead pitch offered the fast bowlers bounce and seam movement and Asif exploited it to the hilt. He needed three balls to dismiss Gambhir, plucking a return catch in his follow-through. He then swung the first ball of his second over sharply into Sehwag and bowled him off the inside edge, leaving India reeling at 9 for 2. India's premier batsman, Yuvraj Singh, also misjudged Asif's seam movement and closed the face of his bat too early, lobbing a catch to mid-off. Karthik hit Asif for two fours, but in his final over Asif had the last laugh, coming back to bowl Karthik. India were struggling at 36 for 4, but batting became significantly easier once Asif had completed his spell.