10 times an unfancied bowler tore through a top batting side


A good bowler is always expected to make a dent in the batting lineup of the opposition and usually can deliver when the team expects him to. But there have been numerous occasions in the past, where a bowler, following the real life example of David and Goliath has rattled a quality batting side, even when the odds were stacked heavily against the former.

Here’s a look at 10 such top moments:

10. Ken MacLeay vs India

A talented seamer, MacLeay’s career was a surprisingly short one

Ken MacLeay was the reverse of the norm - an Australian who was born in England. A tall, wiry right-arm seamer and a useful middle-order batsman, he was perfectly suited to the one-day format. Unfortunately, he only played 16 ODIs. Despite being a potential talent, Macleay was never viewed as much of a threat in his time, by batsmen around the world.

At state level he was prolific with both bat and ball, and on 13th Jun, 1983 came the high-point of his career, when he took 6 wickets for 39 runs against the would-be champions India at the World Cup, at Trent Bridge. Despite this, he was never seriously considered for the Test team. He finished his days playing only two seasons with Somerset.

9. Murali Kartik vs Australia

Murali Kartik’s six scalps included those of Andrew Symonds and Brad Haddin

A left-arm spinner straight from the classical mould, Murali Kartik had long been on the fringes of the national team without sealing a regular spot on the squad. He has a high arm action straight from the off spinner's textbook, and possesses several weapons in his armoury.

But he hasn't always had the breaks and was always less preferred to Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh for most of his career. However, 17th Oct, 2007 is a day that Kartik would remember for a long time. His remarkable figures of 6-27 in 10 overs against a legendary Australian batting lineup ensures him a place on this list.

8. Sanath Jayasuriya vs England

Jayasuriya was quite valuable to Sri Lanka as a bowler too

Think of Sanath Jayasuriya, and the first thing that comes to mind is the sweet sound off a cricket bat, sending the ball out of the park. Remembered as a man who could score equally briskly in every form of the game, by slashing his way through bowling attacks, it's hard to believe the Sri Lankan began his career as a spinner who could “bat a bit.”

Despite being called an all-rounder, one has to agree that Sanath was unfancied while facing the imposing English batting lineup in 1993. However, it was the bowler that came out winning this particular contest on the 20th March, 1993, with figures of 6-29 in 9.5 overs.

7, Alex Cusack vs Sri Lanka

Cusack’s nagging medium pace bowling has proved useful in crunch situations for Ireland

Alex Cusack, a Brisbane-born carpenter, qualified for Ireland through residency and has been a vital cog of this associate nation ever since moving there. He combines nagging medium-pace bowling with sensible batting, and has been known to surprise batsmen with his variations.

Despite his many good international showings, his 4-18 in just 3 overs against Sri Lanka in the 2009 T20 World Cup was a standout performance, and came as a pleasant surprise to cricket fans all over the globe who’d written off the Irish team quite easily.

6. Lendl Simmons vs Sri Lanka

Lendl Simmons’s four for against Sri Lanka has been his bowling career’s lone bright spot

Another cricketer one might not expect to see on a list of bowlers, Lendl Simmons is the opener, and occasional right-arm medium fast bowler for the West Indian side in the shorter formats of the game.

From a total of six wickets in T20 Internationals, four of Simmons’ wickets came in a single match against current T20 Champions Sri Lanka, in the T20 World Cup 2009, for just 19 runs in 3 overs. This was a performance that came as a real surprise to the West Indies, who at that point lacked a genuine all-rounder.

5. Abdur Razzak vs South Africa

Abdur Razzak won the Man of the Match award, despite his side losing the match

5th November 2008 was a day on which Abdur Razzak made Bangladesh proud, with amazing figures of 4-16 in 3 overs against South Africa in a T20 International at the Wanderer’s Stadium. Despite being a full-time bowler for his national side, Razzak wasn’t really expected to make much of a dent in the mighty South African batting order.

However, he silenced naysayers, with the wickets of AB de Villiers and Justin Ontong among his four scalps. The match, shortened due to rain, was won by the South Africans by 12 runs, but Razzak won the Man of The 2.award, for his astounding performance with the ball.

4. Alex Cusack vs West Indies

Cusack makes the list a second time for mowing down the defending T20 World Champions

The Irish all rounder has made the cut again for yet another spellbinding bowling performance, this time against the almighty West Indian T20 side.

His 4 wickets in as many overs, for a measly 11 runs against the defending champions from the Caribbean, simply can’t be ignored and surely goes down as one of the better performances by an unfancied bowler against a top-class batting lineup. This stunning show of bowling came on the 21st Feb, 2014 at the ICC T20 World Cup, and will remain in the memory of Irish fans for a long time to come.

3. Jasubhai Patel vs Australia

Jasubhai’s effort was unparalleled in India for a long time

With a Test career comprising just 7 matches, Jasubhai Patel couldn’t have been more underestimated, as he came out to bowl against the all-powerful Australian side in just his eighth Test match and third Test series overall. However, the tables were turned quite spectacularly on the 9th of December in 1959, as the right-arm off break bowler rattled the Aussie batting like ninepins and returned with marvelous figures of 14-124.

His 9 for 69 in the first innings was the best bowling performance by an Indian until it was overtaken by Anil Kumble nearly 40 years later. That was Patel's last series; his success was not replicated in the other six matches he played.

2. Rubel Hossain vs New Zealand

Rubel Hossain can trouble even top-quality batsmen when at his best

Not known widely for his bowling prowess, Rubel was obviously not expected to do much against a New Zealand batting order which was just beginning to find its feet after a transition period.

The final outcome left the Kiwis struggling for breath, as Rubel’s supreme spell shattered the Blackcaps’ batting order. It was a day of celebration for the Bangladesh side, as the medium pacer’s 6-26 led Bangladesh to a 43-run win over New Zealand by the D/L method in a rain-affected ODI.

1. Henry Olonga vs England

henry olonga england
Henry Olonga could have tasted more success if not for an injury-riddled career

The youngest-ever player to represent Zimbabwe at the international level, Henry Olonga came back from being called for throwing in a Test in early 1995 and rebuilt his action completely. At full pace, he was rated as the fastest bowler in the country but also as one of the least accurate, with a tendency to bowl more no-balls and wides than most.

He also had several injury-related issues. In an ODI between Zimbabwe and batting stronghold England in the year 2000, Olonga struck gold, taking six wickets and giving away just 19 runs in 8.2 overs. This phenomenal effort came at a time when he was not taken seriously, owing to his injury problems, and hence grabs the top spot on this list.

Edited by Staff Editor


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