Year-ender 2018: Kuldeep, Chahal spin their way into ODI’s top spells
Some fresh faces, some old in our ODI spells of the year.

India’s wrist-spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav stamped their authority in the 50-over format, while Lasith Malinga marked a successful return to cricket when many believed he was done. Imran Tahir secured a hat-trick while taking back-to-back five-wicket-hauls and Trent Boult’s fiery spell had Pakistan in danger of being bowled out for the lowest total in history. Here’s a look at some of 2018’s most captivating and incisive bowling spells.

1. Trent Boult 5/17 against Pakistan, Dunedin

Pakistan, on their visit to New Zealand in January of 2017 endured a 0-5 sweep in the ODIs. After New Zealand romped home in the first two games, Pakistan had an opportunity to stay alive. But any semblance of a contest was blown to pieces by an incisive spell from Boult. Chasing 258 to win, Boult wrecked Pakistan with figures of 5 for 17. He removed the top order, at one stage, leaving Pakistan 32 for 8, in danger of being bowled out for the lowest-ever ODI total. However, lower order contributions from Pakistan got them to 74 before Boult returned to pick up the pieces.

2. Yuzvendra Chahal 5/22 against South Africa, Centurion

Chahal picked up his maiden ODI five-wicket as India beat South Africa by nine wickets in the second of the six-match ODI series at Centurion in February. South Africa were found wanting in the first ODI and failed to show any improvement in the second game either. Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock had put on 39 runs for the opening wicket before Chahal broke the stand, getting the left-hander out. In the absence of Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers, Chahal ran through the middle order, dismissing JP Duminy, Khaya Zondo, Morne Morkel, and finally Chris Morris to pick up his fifth. South Africa were bundled out for 118, their lowest ODI total at home and second-lowest against India.

3. Kuldeep Yadav 6/25 against England, Nottingham

If Chahal troubled oppositions with his wrist spin, his partner Yadav wasn’t far behind. India lost the ODI series in England 1-2, with the win arriving in the first match. While Rohit Sharma struck a fine unbeaten 137, it was Kuldeep who had laid the foundation with career-best figures of 6 for 25. While the rest of the bowlers conceded runs, the chinaman bowler was exceptional in giving away runs at just over two an over. He picked up five of the first England wickets to fall, and these included some big names – Openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, allrounder Ben Stokes (50), and the hard-hitting Jos Buttler (53). Without him, England would have easily marched on to post a total touching 350. It was a dreamy spell from young Kuldeep which tangled the batsmen and restricted the total.

4. Tom Curran 5/35 against Australia, Perth

A sensational spell of reverse swing bowling from Curran shattered Australia’s hopes of chasing down 260 and handed England a 4-1 finish in the five-match series in January. Curran had removed David Warner for his first wicket before Australia consolidated through Marcus Stoinis’ 87. But just as it seemed they would canter through, Morgan brought Curran into the attack. Turning the tables with ease, Curran removed a well-set Glenn Maxwell and Tim Paine for 34 each and followed with the wickets of Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa to bowl Australia 12 short of the target.

5. Lasith Malinga 5/44 vs England, Dambulla

Malinga continued his fine comeback to international cricket, picking up his eighth ODI five-wicket haul for Sri Lanka, against England in Dambulla. Malinga finished with 5 for 44 and affected the dismissal of skipper Eoin Morgan, England’s top scorer, before triggering a lower order collapse. Malinga took four balls to help Sri Lanka draw first blood, removing opener Jason Roy for a duck. Morgan’s 92 had set things nicely for England before Malinga unlocked his magic again. After foxing the England captain with a slower one, Malinga produced a series of yorker masterclass which reduced England from 218 for 4 to 254 for nine, with Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Liam Dawson falling cheaply. Dawson struck a boundary but that remained his only scoring shot before Malinga produced another yorker to pick up his fifth.

6. Imran Tahir 6/24 vs Zimbabwe, Bloemfontein

Tahir’s six wickets, including a hat-trick, that stole the spotlight in South Africa’s 120-run win over Zimbabwe at Bloemfontein that saw the hosts take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. Chasing 199, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi reduced Zimbabwe to 49 for 4, before Tahir claimed responsibility of the remaining six wickets. In the process, the legspinner also picked a hat-trick in the 20th over. Tahir had Peter Moor, Brandon Mavuta and Kyle Jarvis to accomplish the feat. Zimbabwe were bundled out for 78, with Tahir claiming the last wicket of Chatara.

7. Moeen Ali 3/36 v New Zealand, Wellington

Moeen Ali starred in this thrilling encounter as New Zealand fell agonisingly short of England’s 234 by four runs. And this, when skipper Kane Williamson had scored a gallant unbeaten century in the chase. He and Colin Munro forged a 68-run stand before New Zealand, from 80 for 1, slumped to 103 for 6. And at the forefront of this collapse was Moeen, who picked up three crucial wickets in one spell to derail New Zealand’s chase. Aided by Adil Rashid, who held things from his end, Moeen scalped Mark Chapman, Tom Latham – off successive deliveries – and Colin de Grandhomme two overs later. Despite a 96-run partnership with Mitchell Santner, Williamson could not put the finishing touches.

8. Mustafizur Rahman 4/43 v Pakistan, Abu Dhabi

Bangladesh sent Pakistan packing from the Asia Cup to book themselves a place in the final. After Mushfiqur Rahim’s valuable 99 had formed the spine of Bangladesh’s 239, Mustafizur Rahman strangled the Pakistan innings and kept them to 202 for 9. Pakistan were reeling at 18 for three, with Babar Azam and Sarfraz Ahmed falling to the left-armer and back inside four overs. The experienced Shoaib Malik put on 67 runs for the fourth wicket with Imam Ul Haq, who top scored with 83, but once he perished, it shut the door on Pakistan’s chances. Mustafizur returned to pick up two more, but the scenario of knocking off 41 off the last two overs was out of Pakistan’s reach.

9. Lockie Ferguson 5/45 vs Pakistan, Dubai

The third and final ODI of the three-match series between Pakistan and New Zealand came to an anti-climactic end with rain forcing the match to be called-off. Rain halted the play with New Zealand 35/1 in 6.5 overs after Pakistan had given themselves a bright chance of sealing a series win with Babar Azam’s 92 guiding them to a challenging 279/8 in Dubai. Lockie Ferguson was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers, finishing with his maiden five-wicket haul. His first wicket was that of Mohammed Hafeez, who, promoted up the order after Imam was rested, was out hit-wicket. Ferguson then broke a 108-run stand, removing Haris Sohail in the 41st over. Pakistan could have scored more had it not been for Ferguson’s brilliance in the death overs. He took three wickets in innings final over that included the scalps of Faheem Ashraf (5), Asif Ali (9) and Hasan Ali (2) and while allowing just four runs in it.

10. Andrew Tye 5/46 vs England, Perth

In his maiden ODI series, Andrew Tye picked up his maiden five-wicket haul against England even though Australia ended up losing the contest, and the series 1-4. Using his vast array of variations, Tye broke England’s opening stand of 71 by dismissing Jason Roy before foxing Jos Buttler later in the innings. Joe Root fought till the end despite wickets falling around him but he too fell to Tye’s subtle change in pace. In his last two overs, Tye saw off David Willey, and Root and Jake Ball in the same over to bowl England out in 47.4 overs. Australia fell short of England’s 259 by 12 runs.