Three years ago, on this very day, the best spell by an Indian in ODI cricket was delivered and it wasn’t Kapil Dev or Zaheer Khan or Anil Kumble or even Harbhajan Singh who bowled that spell but instead, the lesser-known Stuart Binny.
Binny, who was far from replicating his legendary father Roger’s stint with the Indian cricket team, was included in a second-string side that toured Bangladesh following IPL 2014. The team was captained by Suresh Raina with several big names like MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Rohit Sharma absent.
India won the first of three ODIs at Mirpur by seven wickets and Binny was selected to play the second ODI.
India’s disastrous batting and Taskin Ahmed’s dream debut
Bangladesh won the toss and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim opted to field first. The Men in Blue were off to a horrible start as Mashrafe Mortaza bowled a brilliant in-swinger to trap Ajinkya Rahane in front off only the second ball of the match. Following Rahane’s dismissal, Cheteshwar Pujara came in to join Robin Uthappa at the crease.
Uthappa hit a few boundaries while Pujara deployed his typical defensive game as the duo looked to build a steady partnership to give India some momentum. However, young debutant Taskin Ahmed came in and dismissed 2014 IPL Orange Cap winner Uthappa, who top-edged a shortish delivery straight to mid-off where Ziaur Rahman took a simple catch.
Taskin then trapped Ambati Rayudu lbw for 1 and India were tottering at 28/3. Skipper Suresh Raina came in and played steadily, hitting a few boundaries as well. While Raina was trying to stabilise the innings, Taskin Ahmed was wreaking havoc at the other end as he dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara for 11 before getting rid of the dangerous-looking Raina himself.
The remainder of the Indian batting could not contribute much except for Umesh Yadav, whose 13-ball 17 helped India cross the three-figure mark. India were eventually bowled out for a paltry 105 and Taskin Ahmed bowled his best spell in ODI cricket, picking up 5/28. Taskin’s spell was also the best spell by a Bangladesh bowler on ODI debut and the fifth-best spell by any bowler on ODI debut.
During the innings break, everyone expected an easy Bangladesh win as 104 was impossible to defend even against the likes of Kenya and Bermuda and this was a first-string Bangladesh side comprising the likes of Tamim Iqbal, Shakib-al-Hasan, and Mushfiqur Rahim amongst others.
Binny shocks the Bangladesh dressing room
However, Mohit Sharma had different plans in his mind. The Purple Cap holder of IPL 2014 sent both the Bangladesh openers packing within the first three overs. Mohammad Mithun and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim then began to bat with composure to keep the scoreboard ticking. Umesh Yadav was going at above six an over so Suresh Raina decided to introduce Stuart Binny into the attack.
After bowling a maiden in his opening over, the 30-year-old broke the 31-run partnership between Rahim and Mithun by dismissing the former and claiming his maiden ODI wicket. Shortly after, the Karnataka all-rounder dismissed Mithun and Mahmudullah off consecutive deliveries to leave Bangladesh stuttering at 50/5. Things took a turn for the worse for the Tigers when Mohit Sharma took his third and fourth wickets of the match by dismissing Shakib-al-Hasan and Ziaur Rahman to reduce Bangladesh to 52/7.
Binny then took the final three wickets to finish the match for India. The Bangladesh dressing room could not believe their eyes as a second-string Indian team had dismissed their full-strength side for just 58 to win the match and seal the series with a game to spare.
Binny ended with figures of 6/4 in 4.4 overs, two maidens and an economy rate of just 0.85. In the process, the all-rounder broke Anil Kumble’s record (6/12) for the best bowling figures by an Indian in ODI cricket. Binny was awarded the Man of the Match for this jaw-dropping spell of his. 104 was the third-lowest total to be defended in ODIs.
Binny’s magic did come against a relatively weak nation but his spell suggested that even in an era where scores of 300+ are considered routine in ODIs, paltry totals can also be defended.