With the main matches in the ICC World T20 2014 all set to begin, we look at five wonderful performances by bowlers in the event over the years.
Umar Gul (5 for 6): The Pakistani speedster may be struggling at present, but there was a time when he was among the most dangerous T20 bowlers in the world. In a group game against New Zealand at London during the 2009 edition, he was all over the Kiwi batsmen. Gul bowled three overs and claimed five wickets conceding only six runs as the Kiwis were bundled out for 99 batting first. Gul’s victims in the game included Styris, Nathan McCullum and James Franklin as the Kiwis collapsed from 73/4 to 99/10.
Lasith Malinga (5 for 31): The Lankan slinger can be expensive at times, but it is very rare that he doesn’t make match-winning contributions. In a group game against England at Pallekele, he was instrumental in another Lankan win. The hosts had put up a competitive 169 for 5 batting first. Malinga never allowed them to get close to the target, dismissing Wright, Hales and Bairstow as England crumbled to 18 for 3. He came back to remove Jos Buttler and Samit Patel (67) as the Lankans eased to victory.
RP Singh (4 for 13) : He may be the forgotten man of Indian cricket now, but back in 2007 he was among the bright spots for the team. In the group game against South Africa at Durban, India had put up 153 for 5 batting first. They needed to bowl exceedingly well to defend the target. Singh put his hand and delivered a miserly spell for 4 for 13 to bowl India to a memorable win. He sent back openers Smith and Gibbs cheaply, and added the scalps of Pollock and Albie Morkel later in the game.
Saeed Ajmal (4 for 26): Pakistan had batted first in this 2010 group clash against South Africa at St Lucia, and were restricted to 148 for 7 as Charl Langeveldt finished with excellent figures of 4 for 19. With only a working total to defend, Pakistan had to be at their best with the ball. Ajmal took up the challenge, exposing the Proteas’ weakness against spin again. He claimed the key wickets of Kallis (22), de Villiers (53), Mark Boucher (12) and Johan Botha (19) to derail South Africa’s chase.
Sunil Narine (3 for 9): Marlon Samuels’ brilliant knock in the final of the 2012 edition at Colombo had taken West Indies to a decent 137 against the Lankans. But, the hosts were still favourites to win, knowing the conditions inside out. Narine however turned the tide in West Indies’ favour, utilising the helpful conditions, and stifling the Lankans in their own backyard. His dismissal for Jayawardene (33) was crucial since the skipper was holding fort. He came back to end Kulaserkara’s (26 from 13) enterprising cameo and conceded only 9 runs in 3.4 overs.
--By A Cricket Analyst