After the fading of ‘White Lightning’ Allan Donald, there were three genuine fast bowlers on the international scene - Shoaib Akhtar, Brett Lee and Shane Bond. There was a cloud over the action of the first two, but Bond’s action was smooth and high with the proverbial back bent.
It was an exhilarating sight as he delivered the ball at a lively pace, bringing the ball in sharply to the right-handers, firing in the yorkers, troubling the best of batsmen. However, agonizingly, Bond was consistently hit by injuries that resulted in him spending more time on the sidelines than on the field.
He retired in 2009 with his fans wondering what might have been had he not been dogged by physical problems. In the limited time that he had on the field, Bond built up a great record, not in terms of quantity but by way of quality, a fraction of what would have been had there been a bit more steel in his frame.
As New Zealand met Sri Lanka in the 2003 World Cup, Bond - born on the day the premier event began in 1975 - dismissed opener Marvan Atapattu, but Sanath Jayasuriya and Hashan Tillakaratne got together in a tremendous 170-run second-wicket partnership.
Bond later bowled Russel Arnold to finish with two for 44 in his 10 overs. The New Zealand innings fell by the wayside to such an extent that Scott Styris’ superb, valiant century never looked like pulling them through.
There was a course correction by the Kiwis in the faceoff with the West Indies, but Bond went wicketless. Another match of two brilliant hundreds followed, and this time the South African opener Herschelle Gibbs was in fine form.
Bond was yet again ineffective, capturing just the wicket of Graeme Smith while conceding 73 runs. Stephen Fleming returned the compliment in a brilliant rain-interrupted century that swept in a nine-wicket triumph for New Zealand when the Duckworth-Lewis system was invoked.
The walkover to Kenya was followed by a cakewalk against Bangladesh. Bond took three for 33 as Bangladesh finished with just 198/7 from 50 overs. Craig McMillan scored a vital 75 as New Zealand got across the line for the loss of three wickets.
Against Canada, even as John Davison fired a 25-ball fifty, Bond bagged three Canadian scalps for 29 runs off 10 overs from which three were maiden overs. It was an easy five-wicket win courtesy of a quick-fire half-century from Scott Styris.
Zimbabwe put up a vital 252-7 in the super stage as Bond went wicketless, but did well to stem the flow of runs, giving away 37 runs in his 10 overs including one maiden. New Zealand, this time, registered a comfortable six-wicket victory at the back of an unbeaten 102 from Nathan Astle.
Bond shines with 6/23 against Australia
Until the game against Australia, Bond's successes had come against the relatively weaker sides. There could not have been a tougher clash as they ran into the rampaging Australians. The match turned into a scorcher, literally, as Bond bowled with fire from the very start.
He had Matthew Hayden caught behind by Brendon McCullum for 1, and soon trapped Adam Gilchrist leg-before-wicket for 18. He then had Ricky Ponting edging into the hands of Fleming at first slip after scoring just 6. The great Australian side had slumped to 31 for three off 8.4 overs. Bond was rested after his tremendous opening burst of six overs from which he captured three wickets for 20 runs.
He returned for the middle overs when he had Damien Martyn snapped up by McCullum for 31. Brad Hogg came in, and Bond trapped him leg-before first ball. In the following over, he bowled Harvey for two. Australia were now 84/7 and Bond finished his 10-over stint with a brilliant return of 6/23 with two maidens. It was the best analysis for New Zealand in the World Cup, and the fifth-best ever jointly with Ashish Nehra.
With Bond having completed his quota, Michael Bevan and Andy Bichel staged a 97-run partnership to help Australia reach 208/9 from their 50 overs. Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath then wrecked New Zealand, bowling them out for 112 in 30.1 overs. Bond was still awarded the man-of-the-match award for his efforts.
In the next encounter against India, the Men in Blue were in the midst of a golden run and they skittled out the Kiwis for just 146 runs. Bond created a flutter, having Virender Sehwag snapped up by Styris for one, and then knocking over Sourav Ganguly’s timber for three. India were 9/2 in the fourth over, but recovered to win by 7 wickets. Bond took 2/23 off 8 overs.
New Zealand could not make it to the semi-finals but Bond had had a fine tournament, bagging 17 wickets in 9 matches with outstanding average of 17.94 as well as economy-rate of 3.91.
2007 World Cup
The pacer was bang on target in the 2007 clash with England. He conceded just 10 runs from his opening spell of six overs. He returned in the 36th over and immediately sent back the two big guns of England.
Off the third delivery, he got Kevin Pietersen to hole out to James Franklin at long on for 60. Three balls later he deceived Andrew Flintoff with a slower one, resulting in a simple catch to Styris at extra-cover. The burly allrounder was gone for a duck.
With two more wickets falling on either side of Bond’s dismissals, England slumped from 133/3 to 138/7 in a matter of 3.3 overs. Bond gave away nine runs off his last four overs, finishing with figures of 2/19 and a maiden. New Zealand attained the target of 210 with ease.
The Kiwis took a heavy toll of the Kenyan attack in the succeeding game, piling up 331/7. Kenya failed to come into the chase at any time and Bond continued to be right on target, returning with figures of 8-2-19-1. However, he missed New Zealand's last 'Group C' game against Canada.
New Zealand then met the West Indies in the first super-eight encounter. Generating express speed, Bond swung one away late from the left-handed Shivnarine Chanderpaul and had him caught by Styris at second slip. He conceded just 13 runs in his first spell of five overs.
He was handed the ball again in the 34th over, and moved the very first delivery just enough to have Dwayne Bravo nicking into the gloves of McCullum. At the end of his second spell, Bond had given away 30 runs off eight overs. He returned later and his fourth delivery crashed into the middle stump of last man Corey Collymore.
West Indies were bowled out for 177, Bond bagged 3/31 in 8.4 overs. New Zealand sailed to an easy seven-wicket victory.
Bangladesh offered hardly any resistance as the Black Caps faced them in their next game . Again, Bond was on fire as he picked up figures of 2/15 from 10 overs with four maidens. A target of 175 hardly tested the Kiwis, and skipper Fleming hit a superb century to close out the match inside 30 overs. Yet, Shane Bond was the man-of-the-match for his spell.
At the back of a comfortable win against Bangladesh, New Zealand posted 263/8 and Bond struck early as he had Jeremy Bray caught behind and the other opener William Porterfield top-edging a short ball for Styris to run back from slip and clutch it. Ireland were reeling at 22 for two, and eventually folded up for 134. Bond finished with 2/18 off five overs.
The Kiwis could muster only 219/7 against Sri Lanka despite a fighting hundred from Styris in their next game. Bond was thrifty again conceding only 26 runs off 8 overs but could not effect a breakthrough, though he took two catches. The Lankans brought up an easy six-wicket win.
In his very first over of the next match, Bond had the South African captain Graeme Smith driving uppishly towards cover-point where Jacob Oram flung himself to his right and held on to the ball. In the next over, Franklin trapped AB de Villiers leg-before for a duck.
The Proteas slumped to 3/2. Later Jacques Kallis skied Vettori towards cover where Bond took a fine catch. South Africa were now 52/3. Towards the end, Bond dismissed Andrew Hall to wind up with figures of 2/26 off his 10 overs. South Africa posted 193, which the Kiwis overhauled without much difficulty.
Bond missed the last super-eight match against the unstoppable Aussies. He was back for the semi-final but the Sri Lankans applied themselves extremely well. They reached 289/5 as Bond finished with 1/59 in his 10 overs, ending a positive run from the 2007 World Cup.
He bowled with fire, hostility and accuracy. He struck regularly and was rarely collared. His 13 wickets in 7 matches with an average of 16.38 and economy-rate of 3.05 tell an eloquent tale.
Overall, Shane Bond’s 30 wickets in 16 World Cup matches with an average of 17.26, economy-rate of 3.50 and a best of 6/23 speaks volumes of his skill that was on display during the World Cup.
It was a misfortune of the cricketing world that recurring injuries kept Bond away from the field. One of the finest fast bowlers of recent times was not able to express himself for any length of time at a stretch and Bond’s absence could not have been felt more in an age when genuine fast bowlers have virtually disappeared from the scene.