5 best ODI spells by Associate country bowlers
On 22nd June of 2017, the International Cricket Council welcomed Afghanistan and Ireland into the Test arena. The two developing teams joined the ten traditional sides in ICC's list of Full Members.
It will be a travesty that the 2019 World Cup will not feature Zimbabwe and Ireland. The ten-team edition will witness the first instance of not one but two Full Members missing from the game's premier tournament.
Aside from South Africa's Apartheid-enforced suspension during the first four editions, the World Cup has not evoked such blatant prejudice. Considering such debilitating circumstances, the plight of Associate teams appears even worse. The non-Full Members have also provided us with numerous memorable moments in ODI history.
Extra Cover: 5 best knocks by Associate country batsmen
In this segment, let us pay homage to the five best ODI spells delivered by bowlers belonging to teams with Associate memberships at that point in time. Not surprisingly, all but one of the five most impactful spells have come in various editions of the World Cup.
#5 Andre Botha - 2/5 from 8 overs against Pakistan at Jamaica (2007)
The 2007 edition of the World Cup would turn out to have massive ramifications on the game's ensuing nature. The flagship tournament included as many as 16 teams divided into four groups. Asian powerhouses India and Pakistan failed to progress past their respective groups. Since then, the custodians of the game have unabashedly conspired to prevent such 'upsets' by altering the format.
Pakistan had begun their campaign with a 54-run defeat to hosts West Indies. With the game between Ireland and Zimbabwe ending in a tie, the former appeared considerably buoyant whilst heading into the next clash. On a green-tinged track under murky clouds, Ireland won a vital toss and decided to bowl first. What followed was scarcely believable as Pakistan were shot out for a mere 132 runs from 45.4 overs.
Medium pacer Andre Botha produced one of the most astonishing bowling performances ever seen in ODIs. He sent down eight overs and conceded just five runs. Aside from bowling four maiden overs, the right-armer also had Imran Nazir and skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq edging fuller deliveries to first slip. The parsimonious spell, which set up a famous Irish victory, remains the joint-third most (minimum of five overs) economical effort in World Cup history.