Former Sri Lankan pace bowler Ashantha de Mel, who turned 59 yesterday, is one of only five bowlers to take two five-wicket hauls at the World Cup. So far, in 11 editions of the World Cup, there have been 54 five-wicket hauls by 49 bowlers. Here is a look at the list of bowlers who have achieved this feat twice.
Gary Gilmour (Australia)
Left-armer Gilmour swung his way to sensational figures of 6/14 against England at Headingley in the semifinal of the 1975 World Cup. As if this was not enough, he top-scored with 28* from number eight to steer Australia, who were chasing 94, from 39/6 to a four-wicket win. Gilmour’s return was the first six-wicket haul in ODI cricket, and the best figures in the World Cup until 1983.
Three days later, in the final at Lord’s, Gilmour added another World Cup five-wicket haul to his name. He was, by far, the best Australian bowler on display, taking 5/48 as the West Indies piled up 291/8. His scalps included those of Clive Lloyd, Rohan Kanhai and Viv Richards. It was not enough though, as the West Indies edged home by 17 runs.
Ashantha de Mel (Sri Lanka)
De Mel, who had the privilege of playing in Sri Lanka’s first Test match in 1981-82, was the joint second highest wicket-taker at the 1983 World Cup in England, with a tally of 17 wickets at 15.58. The first of his two five-wicket hauls came against Pakistan at Headingley, where he took a career-best 5/32 in Sri Lanka’s narrow defeat by 11 runs.
In his next game two days later, against New Zealand at Derby, de Mel was at it again, finishing with 5/32 to help bowl the Kiwis out for 181. This time, his effort did not go in vain, as Sri Lanka’s batsmen survived a few anxious moments before securing a three-wicket victory. This was Sri Lanka’s only win from six games in the tournament.
Glenn McGrath (Australia)
McGrath is the only bowler to have taken five-wicket hauls in two different editions of the World Cup. The first of them, a return of 5/14, came against the West Indies at Old Trafford in 1999, in what was a do-or-die encounter for Australia. McGrath’s early burst reduced the West Indies to 20/3, after which they could not recover and subsided to 110. Australia comfortably won by six wickets.
Four years later, in the 2003 edition, McGrath bettered his figures by taking 7/15 against Namibia at Potchefstroom. After Australia posted 301/8, the lanky paceman cut through the Namibian batting to record the best bowling analysis at the World Cup. Namibia were shot out for 45, and Australia’s victory margin of 256 runs was then an ODI record.
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi celebrates after bowling Canada’s Harvir Baidwan, en route to figures of 5/23, at the 2011 World Cup (source – gettyimages/Michael Steele)
Vasbert Drakes (West Indies)
The West Indies’ 2003 World Cup game against Canada at Centurion is largely remembered for John Davison’s 67-ball century. But after Davison fell (thanks to a stunning catch by Drakes), the Barbadian fast bowler hastened Canada’s meltdown from 156/2 to 202 all out with a haul of 5/44, which ultimately paved the way for a seven-wicket West Indian win.
Nine days later, Drakes dismantled Kenya at Kimberley with his second five-wicket haul. The Kenyans, who slumped to 43/6 in pursuit of 247, lost by 104 runs thanks to Drakes’ 5/33. Despite this result, the West Indies failed to qualify for the super six round. As was the case with Gilmour and de Mel, these two were Drakes’ only five-wicket hauls in ODIs.
Shahid Afridi (Pakistan)
Afridi is the latest bowler to take two World Cup five-wicket hauls. The mercurial leg-spinning all-rounder, who captained Pakistan at the 2011 World Cup, made short work of Kenya’s batting in his team’s opening game at Hambantota. Faced with a target of 318, the Kenyans caved in to Afridi, who returned figures of 5/16, and crashed to a 205-run defeat.
Afridi’s second five-wicket haul, at Colombo eight days later, came in more challenging circumstances. Underdogs Canada were in a good position to cause an upset, having bowled Pakistan out for 184 and then moving along to 104/3 in reply. But Afridi, who had taken one wicket at that stage, quickly added four more wickets to his kitty to finish with 5/23, and ensure a 46-run win for his team.