By Shrikant Shankar
The One-Day International (ODI) game saw some of the memorable bowling performances in the year 2013. As cricket moves in a direction where scoring innumerable amount of runs seems to be the trend, taking couple of wickets in a single match has become a rare commodity. The influence of Twenty20 cricket is there to see in ODIs as well. The pitches are getting flatter and there seems absolutely no help from the bowlers. Yet there are those who stood out with some memorable performances with the ball. Below are the top 10 bowling spells from 2013 in ODIs:
1. Shahid Afridi 7/12 vs West Indies at Guyana
This is one of the best bowling spells of all-time, let alone in 2013. The West Indies had done an impressive job to restrict Pakistan only to 224 for nine in 50 overs in an ODI at Guyana on July 14. In his comeback game, Shahid Afridi smashed a quickfire 76 off 55 balls to help Pakistan post a respectable total. In their reply, the West Indies got off to a horrible start, losing the first three wickets for only seven runs. The next seven wickets fell to the leg-spin of Afridi. The middle and lower order were bamboozled by the spinner. They lost seven wickets for only 57 runs. They were bowled out for 98 and lost by a massive 126-run margin.
2. Dale Steyn 6/39 vs Pakistan at Port Elizabeth
Dale Steyn was at his absolute best as he took six wickets against Pakistan in an ODI at Port Elizabeth on November 27. Pakistan were bundled out for 262 in a maximum of 45 overs. Steyn’s six for 39 are his best figures in ODIs. Somehow, South Africa lost the match by one run and Steyn’s efforts did not earn the rewards.
3. Nuwan Kulasekara 5/22 vs Australia at The Gabba, Brisbane
In one of the lowest-scoring matches in ODI history, Nuwan Kulasekara starred with a sensational five-wicket haul. Australia were bowled out for only 74 in 26.4 overs at The Gabba in Brisbane on January 18. There were only two scores in double digits and both came by Mitchell Starc and Xavier Doherty. Sri Lanka just about chased the total down in 20 overs after losing six wickets.
4. Dale Steyn 5/25 vs Pakistan at Abu Dhabi
Before his six-wicket haul, Steyn had taken five wickets against Pakistan in an ODI at Abu Dhabi on November 8. South Africa had scored 266 for five in 50 overs. Pakistan were going along quite comfortably at 174 for three. Then Steyn struck. He dismissed the set batsman Sohaib Maqsood and that brought about another wicket. Later, he came back and finished off the Pakistan lower-order, including Misbah-ul-Haq quickly. Pakistan were bowled out for 238 and lost by 28 runs.
5. Ravindra Jadeja 2/24 vs England at Edgbaston, Birmingham (ICC Champions Trophy 2013 final)
Ravindra Jadeja might not have got the best looking figures here, but in the context of the game they were gold dust. This was the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 final against England on June 23 at Edgbaston, Birmingham. In a rain-reduced match, India only scored 129 for seven in 20 overs. Jadeja himself scored an unbeaten 33 off 25 balls. While bowling, he picked up the two crucial wickets of Ian Bell and Jos Buttler to dent the England innings. India won the match and he was rightfully adjudged as the Man of the Match.
6. Ishant Sharma 2/36 vs England at Edgbaston, Birmingham (ICC Champions Trophy 2013 final)
But it was not Jadeja who turned things around in that final. Ishant Sharma was getting an absolute pasting at the hands of Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara. He bowled the 18th over of the innings and everyone thought why MS Dhoni gave Ishant the ball. He first dismissed Morgan as he lobbed a catch to Ravichandran Ashwin at mid-wicket. Next , he bowled a bouncer and Bopara hit the leather out of the ball as he pulled towards square-leg. Ashwin was placed there and took a stunning catch. As mentioned before, India won the match. The victory margin was only five runs.
7. Clint McKay 4/39 vs England at Cardiff (Hat-trick)
Taking hat-tricks is never easy, so, when one does achieve the feat, it deserves a mention. Clint McKay was the first bowler to take an ODI hat-trick in 2013. He achieved the feat against England on September 14 at Cardiff. Australia were all-out for 227 and England’s chase began in the worst possible way. In the first three deliveries of the third over, right-arm medium-fast bowler McKay took his hat-trick. First to go was Kevin Pietersen, out leg-before. Next ball, Jonathan Trott edged one to Aaron Finch at second slip. Joe Root then edged one to Shane Watson at first slip. England did manage to win the match by three wickets, thanks to captain Eoin Morgan and Buttler.
8. Rubel Hossain 6/26 vs New Zealand at Mirpur (Hat-trick)
Rubel Hossain was the second and only player to take a hat-trick in 2013. The right-arm medium-fast bowler took his hat-trick against New Zealand on October 29 at Mirpur. Bangladesh were bowled out for 265 in 49.5 overs. Hossain first took the wicket of Ross Taylor. Then a few overs later, he dismissed Corey Anderson, Brendon McCullum and James Neesham off consecutive deliveries. He then went onto dismiss Nathan McCullum and Grant Elliot to finish with figures of six for 26. New Zealand lost the match by 43 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis method.
9. Mitchell Johnson 4/46 vs India at Mohali
In a series where 300-plus team totals were scored with alarming regularity, a bowler getting four wickets and only conceding 46 runs in 10 overs was not only a rarity, but also a sight to behold. The third ODI between India and Australia at Mohali on October 19 will always be first remembered for MS Dhoni’s magnificent unbeaten 139 off 121 balls. Second and most importantly, the match will be remembered for Ishant Sharma conceding 30 runs off one over as James Faulkner took him to the cleaners. But prior to all that, Mitchell Johnson had taken a four-wicket haul where other bowlers had struggled to take many wickets. In the end, Australia won the match by four wickets.
10. Mitchell McClenaghan 4/20 vs South Africa at Paarl
When a player makes his debut against a strong South African unit and keeps them to a low total with a brilliant bowling display, he deserves to be mentioned in this list. Mitchell McClenaghan took four wickets for a miserly 20 runs on debut against South Africa at Paarl on January 19. South Africa’s innings folded for 208 in 46.2 overs thanks to the left-handed McClenaghan. He took top and lower order wickets. His first wicket was Graeme Smith, out leg-before. His second was AB de Villiers also leg-before. Then he came back to wrap up the innings by dismissing Robin Peterson, again a leg-before. He then bowled Dale Steyn. New Zealand won the match by one wicket.
Other remarkable performances:
(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)
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