1. Mark Gillespie (New Zealand, 4-7 v Kenya, September 12, 2007)
When given the right conditions, Mark Gillespie can trouble the best of batsmen. Against Kenya, who was struggling to come to grips with top-flight opposition in 2007, Gillespie had a dream run at Kingsmead in Durban. On a well-grassed pitch, Shane Bond did the early damage, roughing up Kenya’s top order, setting things up perfectly for Gillespie. Combining pace with swing Gillespie, shot out three of his four wickets for ducks. Bowled out for 73, Kenya were mere spectators as New Zealand romped home.
2. Mohammad Asif (Pakistan, 4-18 v India, September 14, 2007)
In one of the most dramatic matches in the history of the ICC World Twenty20, India pipped Pakistan in a bowl-out after scores were level at the end of play. Mohammad Asif, making the ball dart around off the pitch with extreme skill and control, winkled out both Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag early. India recovered through Robin Uthappa, but Asif was back in business when Yuvraj Singh tried to play a forcing shot. Dinesh Karthik became Asif’s fourth victim and India ended up with 141, a score that Pakistan matched. In the bowl-out, however, Pakistan’s accuracy deserted them, and India sailed through.
3. Morne Morkel (South Africa, 4-17 v New Zealand, September 19, 2007)
A combination of raw pace and awkward bounce from Morne Morkel proved to be a bit much for New Zealand. Brendon McCullum had begun well enough, after being put in, and his rasping drives pushed South Africa’s bowlers onto the back foot. In the ninth over of the game, however, Morkel grabbed the game by the scruff of its neck. McCullum’s attempted drive ended in a sharp catch for Mark Boucher, and the keeper was back in business later in the over when Ross Taylor’s attempted cut resulted in a nick. Scott Styris and Jacob Oram could not resist Morkel, and his 4-17 kept New Zealand down to 153, a target that was chased down.
4. RP Singh (India, 4-13 v South Africa, September 20, 2007)
It’s not often that South Africa is beaten by pace and swing at home. But that was exactly what happened at Durban when RP Singh got his act together. After India’s batsmen had posted 153, thanks to a late charge from Rohit Sharma and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, RP Singh waded into the South African batting. Herschelle Gibbs was trapped in front and soon after Graeme Smith was caught behind, ensuring that India had the early wickets they needed. Returning late in the innings, he added two more to his kitty to finish with 4-13 and give India victory by 37 runs.
5. Shahid Afridi (Pakistan, 4-11 v Netherlands, June 9, 2009)
Shahid Afridi’s batting style should make him an ideal cricketer for the shortest version of the game. However, in recent times, Afridi has reinvented himself as a bowler who occasionally contributes with the bat. This has made him a dependable player, someone his captain can turn to when the brakes need to be applied. Afridi’s brisk legspin is a handful for the best of teams, and an inexperienced Netherlands team found him too hot to handle in pursuit of a stiff target. Set 176 for victory, Netherlands crumbled to 93 all out, with Afridi reaping 4-11.
6. Umar Gul (Pakistan, 5-6 v New Zealand, June 13, 2009)
Pakistan’s bowlers swung the ball so prodigiously at The Oval that New Zealand even wondered aloud whether the ball was being tampered with. While nothing to this effect was proven, what did happen was that Umar Gul picked up the first five-for in T20 internationals. Bowling full and straight, he got the ball to do enough to mop up New Zealand’s tail, returning the unreal figures of 3-0-6-5. Rolled over for only 99, New Zealand could do little to stop Pakistan waltzing to a six-wicket win with plenty to spare.
7. Priyanka Roy (India, 5-16 v Pakistan, June 13, 2009)
The leg-spin of Priyanka Roy powered India to victory against Pakistan at Taunton. Roy’s effort of 5-16 was the only five-wicket haul in the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2009, and ensured that Pakistan were kept down to a mere 75. Pakistan’s decision to bat first did not pay dividends, but even with a small target to chase, India stuttered. A steady hand from the experienced Anjum Chopra eventually took India home, but not before five wickets were lost.
8. Wayne Parnell (South Africa, 4-13 v West Indies, June 13, 2009)
Chris Gayle took the bold decision to chase at The Oval, and it backfired on the West Indies. Having just beaten India, the West Indies was perhaps stretched when they took the field, and breezy innings from Jacques Kallis and Herschelle Gibbs helped set a stiff target. Needing 184, West Indies had to go hard at South Africa’s bowlers and Wayne Parnell profited handsomely. Bowling full and straight and allowing the ball to do its thing, Parnell removed the openers and then came back to mop up the tail to end with 4-13 as South Africa won by 20 runs.
9. Alex Cusack (Ireland, 4-18 v Sri Lanka, June 14, 2009)
Sri Lanka was given an almighty scare by Ireland at Lord’s, and only the calming influence of Mahela Jayawardene ensured that an upset was averted. After choosing to bat, Sri Lanka was in early trouble as Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan fell. Jayawardene, who made 78 even as wickets tumbled at the other end, gave the innings a semblance of normalcy. Alex Cusack got rid of Jayawardene and then polished off the tail, picking up 4-18. It was not be Ireland’s day, though, as it found it difficult to attack spin, and fell short by nine runs.
10. Charl Langeveldt (South Africa, 4-19 v Pakistan, May 10, 2010)
The Beausejour Stadium in Gros Islet, St. Lucia, is hardly a seamer’s delight. Yet Charl Langeveldt showed that a bit of cunning bowling was all it took to keep batsmen in check. A special effort at the death from Langeveldt ensured that Pakistan did not run away with the game. Langeveldt’s 4-19 restricted Pakistan to 148, but it would prove to be in vain. Pakistan’s spinners choked South Africa, and sealed victory by 11 runs, knocking South Africa out of the tournament in the process.