Since its advent in 2003, Twenty20 cricket has been ruled mostly by batsmen. Hitting sky-rocketing sixes all over the park and scoring runs with unorthodox batting style has become the mainstay of this 20-over format. A batsman comes to the crease with a mindset of hitting the ball from the word go and score as many runs for his team. In short, come, hit or perish.
But what about the bowlers? The introduction of powerplay, free-hits (no balls for overstepping or above the waist) and fielding restrictions in the format have made the life of a bowler nothing more than a nightmare. In their allotted four overs, the pressure of maintaining the economy as well as taking wickets is clearly seen on their faces. But many of them have been pretty successful in the shortest format of the game.
While many batsmen signed off the tournament on a high, a few bowlers too impressed everyone with their majestic spells in the just concluded ICC World Twenty20 2016.
Cricket Next takes a look at the five best spells by the bowlers:
New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner – 4 for 11 vs India:
Favourites India kicked off their World T20 campaign against New Zealand at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium in Nagpur. New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss but India’s brilliant bowling and fielding helped them restrict the Kiwis to a meagre 126 in 20 overs.
If someone to be given credit for spoiling India’s party, it should be New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner.
The left-arm spinner made full use of the spinning Nagpur track and claimed four wickets, conceding just 11 runs in his allotted four overs. He helped the Kiwis restrict Dhoni & Co. to just 79 and register a resounding 47-run victory. The Man-of-the-Match Santner dismissed Rohit Sharma (5), Suresh Raina (1), Dhoni (30) and Hardik Pandya (1) in his match-winning spell.
Bangladesh’s Mustafizur Rahman – 5 for 22 v New Zealand
Bangladesh crashed out of the mega tournament without a single win, but one spell with always remain in their fans’ hearts is Mustafizur Rahman’s five-for against New Zealand.
Mustafizur recorded the magnificent figures of 5 for 22 in four overs as Bangladesh restricted in-form New Zealand to 145. He claimed the wickets of Henry Nicholls (7), Kane Williamson (42), Grant Elliott (9), Mitchell Santner (3) and Nathan McCullum (duck) to register a five-wicket haul.
In reply, Bangladesh were wrapped up for 70 in just 15.4 overs, thanks to three wickets apiece by Elliot and Ish Sodhi.
Though Kiwis won the match by 75 runs, Mustafizur’s spell will always be in the list of top bowling performances in a T20 match.
Australia’s James Faulkner – 5/27 vs Pakistan
After Bangladesh’s Mustafizur’s fiery five-wicket haul, Australia allrounder James Faulkner is the second player who took five wickets in the tournament.
After an unbeaten knocks of 61 off 43 from Steve Smith and 44 off 21 from Shane Watson guided Australia to a mammoth 193 in Mohali, it was James Faulkner who left the Pakistan batsmen reeling. Faulkner dismissed the dangerous Sharjeel Khan (30) and Khalid, and then clipped Pakistan’s tail by sending Latif (46), Imad Wasim (duck), Sarfaraz Ahmed (2) and Wahab Riaz (duck) back to the pavilion to hand Australia a 21-run win.
England’s Chris Jordan – 4/28 vs Sri Lanka
Eoin Morgan’s England faced Angelo Mathew’s Sri Lanka at the Firoz Shah Kotla. After winning the toss, Sri Lanka put England in to bat. A win was enough for England to secure their semi-finals berth and it was perfectly assured by their pacer Chris Jordan.
Jos Buttler’s 66 not out off 37 balls and then a 27-ball 30 runs knock powered England to 171 for 4 in 20 overs.
In reply, Sri Lanka were off to a terrible start as they lost four wickets at a score of 15 runs. Then, Angelo Mathews steadied the Sri Lankan innings with his unbeaten 73 off 54 balls and tried to snatch the game away from England but a fiery spell from Jordan saw the Sri Lankan lower order crumble. Jordon, after dismissing Dinesh Chandimal (1) early, removed Thisara Perera(20), Dasun Shanaka (15) and Rangana Herath (1) in quick succession to give England a 10-run win.
West Indies’ Carlos Brathwaite – 3/23 vs England
Carlos Brathwaite etched his name in the history books in the final of 2016 World T20 against England. Needing 19 off the last over, Brathwaite dispatched every ball he faced from Ben Stokes into the stands of Eden Gardens to give West Indies a historic title victory.
Before his onslaught by bat, Brathwaite shone with the ball too.
After his captain Darren Sammy won the toss and opted to field at the jam-packed Kolkata Stadium, Brathwaite delivered a brilliant spell, claiming three wickets conceding only 23 runs in his four-over spell at an economy of 5.75 and helped Windies limit England to 155.