5 most expensive bowling spells in ODIs ft. Bas de Leede

India Cricket WCup
Bas de Leede was taken to the cleaners by Australia.

The advent of T20 cricket has led to batters evolving drastically and adding an array of strokes over the past decade like never seen before.

Improved technology has meant thicker and longer willows over time, resulting in the bat mostly dominating over the ball. Also to be noted is the change in mindset of the cricketers of this generation to an ultra-aggressive mode, leading to them clearing the boundaries at will.

All this has meant the bowlers are constantly ducking for cover and resorting to numerous methods to survive on flat pitches and small boundaries in T20s and ODIs.

England have been the pioneers in ODIs since 2015 by featuring long batting lineups and attacking the bowlers from the word go. Witnessing their success in winning the ODI World Cup in 2019 and the T20 World Cup last year, other teams have begun adopting a similar batting approach.

With the transformative approach in batting, the increasing T20 leagues, and several other advancements favoring batters, the bowlers have been at the receiving end of the stick.

Here, we look at the five most expensive spells in ODIs, which may be a revelation on the figures coinciding with the T20 era in cricket and England's revolutionary batting.


#1 Bas de Leede vs Australia, World Cup 2023

India Cricket WCup
India Cricket WCup

Netherlands all-rounder Bas de Leede etched his name on top of the unwanted list of most expensive bowling figures in ODI history in the ongoing 2023 World Cup clash against Australia.

While the 23-year-old was expensive right from the get-go, it appeared as if he would escape making an appearance on the list. However, entering his final over with figures of 2/87, De Leede bore the brunt of Glenn Maxwell’s onslaught. The belligerent batter smoked the medium pacer for 28 runs off his final over, the penultimate of the innings.

It meant that the Dutch bowler finished with 2/115 in his ten over, much to the delight of the Australians, who endured the top two bowlers on the dismal list before today.

Nevertheless, Bas de Leede has performed admirably in the World Cup, with a half-century with the bat and nine wickets with the ball in five games. He would look to erase this one-off outing and rebound without any major mental scars in the upcoming games.


#2 Adam Zampa vs South Africa, 2023

Heinrich Klaasen took a liking to Adam Zampa's floaty leg-spinners and googlies.
Heinrich Klaasen took a liking to Adam Zampa's floaty leg-spinners and googlies.

One of the world's best white-ball bowlers, Adam Zampa, shockingly comes second in this dubious list for the most expensive figures in 50-over cricket. Despite being among the top-ranked bowlers in the world in ODIs, the 31-year-old was treated with utter disdain in the ongoing fourth ODI against South Africa in Centurion.

The leg-spinner paid homage to the venue's name by claiming the second-worst ODI bowing of 0/113 in his 10 overs. Zampa was smashed for an unbelievable nine sixes and eight boundaries in his 60 deliveries.

Wicketkeeper-batter Heinrich Klaasen, revered as arguably the best stroke-maker against spin bowling pounded Zampa all around the park. He scored a breathtaking 174 off 83 deliveries and was particularly severe on the leggie.

Top order Rassie van der Dussen and big hitter David Miller also had their share of fun at Zampa's expense.


#3 Mick Lewis vs South Africa, 2006

Mick Lewis held the unwanted record on his own for over 17 years.
Mick Lewis held the unwanted record on his own for over 17 years.

For all the pain the Australians have caused the Proteas in World Cups, the South Africans have returned the favor by ensuring Australian bowers occupy two of the top three spots of this unwanted list.

While Zampa and Bas de Leede may have offered company for misery, former pacer Mick Lewis held the record by himself since 2006. The match in question needs no introduction, as it is arguably the best ODI game ever played.

With the South Africa-Australia rivalry at its pinnacle, the sides faced each other in a five-match series in 2006. The Proteas won the first two games, but the defending world champions, unwilling to give in, nodded the series at two apiece and set up a mouthwatering decider at Johanessburg.

In the deciding ODI, the Aussies flexed their muscles and posted the then-world record score of 434/4 in 50 overs, with skipper Ricky Ponting scoring a breathtaking 164 off 105 deliveries.

With the result seemingly a foregone conclusion, the hosts displayed incredible fortitude to pull off the greatest run-chase to date. Led by the effervescent Herschelle Gibbs, South Africa ran down the Australian score in the penultimate delivery with a wicket to spare.

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Mick Lewis suffered a hammering of the highest order as all the batters, especially Gibbs, smashed him to every corner of the Wanderers. He conceded 113 in his 10 overs without picking up a single wicket and broke a 23-year-old record to claim the most expensive figures.

Unfortunately for Lewis, with the match being among the most memorable in cricket history, his name is forever remembered for the uncherished record.


#4 Rashid Khan vs England, 2019

Rashid Khan was inches away from holding the record for the worst figures.
Rashid Khan was inches away from holding the record for the worst figures.

Who would have ever thought Rashid Khan would be part of such a list? Such is the volatility and unpredictability of white-ball cricket that even the best of bowlers can be carted around by batters on their day.

In this case, the demolition act was courtesy of former English skipper Eoin Morgan in the 2019 World Cup, who smashed a majestic 148 off 71 deliveries. During his knock, he targeted Afghanistan's trump card, Rashid Khan, who conceded the third-most runs in an ODI with 110 runs in nine overs.

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The 24-year-old boasts the worst economy rate on this list, but fortunately, he was put out of his misery after bowling nine overs. The usually reliable Rashid was at the receiving end of a rampaging England side that won the World Cup while playing an attacking brand of batting.

Nevertheless, the ace spinner is the World's No.1 ranked T20I bowler and eighth in 50-over cricket.


#5 Wahab Riaz vs England, 2016

Wahab Riaz was at the receiving end of a resurgent English batting.
Wahab Riaz was at the receiving end of a resurgent English batting.

The recently retired Pakistan seamer Wahab Riaz bore the brunt of England's transformative style of batting in ODIs in the 2016 bilateral series.

Renowned as a wicket-taker who tended to be expensive, the left-arm pacer's frailties were exploited to the fullest on this particular day. Coming in with a 2-0 series lead, England rampaged their way to a massive 444/3 in their 50 overs.

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Opener Alex Hales scored a scintillating 171 off 122 balls, with Jos Buttler adding a 51-ball 90 and skipper Eoin Morgan smashing 57 off 27 deliveries. The English batters were particularly severe on Wahab as the pacer was torn apart for the then second-worst bowling figures.

He conceded a woefully dismal 110 off his ten overs, including 12 fours and four sixes.

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Edited by Ankush Das
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