Ranajeet Soman

While ODI cricket is largely considered a batsman’s game, there have been more than a few bowling performances that have swung the pendulum completely the other way. As we head closer to the ICC World Cup 2015, here’s a look at the five greatest World Cup bowling performances:

Gary Gilmour: 6/14, Australia vs England, World Cup semis 1975, Headingley, Leeds
Gilmour played just 5 ODIs for Australia but produced one of the greatest bowling performances in the World Cup in the semi-final against England. The tall left arm pacer was an unknown quantity and with Lillee and Thommo in the side, his name was hardly one to raise concern. With the conditions helping the quicks in the morning, Gilmour swung the ball in effectively to the right handers, trapping 4 batsmen leg before. England were 7 down before the score reached 50 of which 6 were Gilmour victims, ultimately being bowled out for 93.

Winston Davis 7/51, West Indies vs Australia, Group match World Cup 1983, Headingley, Leeds
Again a lesser known fast bowler from the side that had Holding and Roberts came to the fore. Davis was a typical West Indies fast bowler: tall, wiry and seriously fast. He had a short run-up but produced quick, skidding deliveries which the batsmen did not expect. His bowling performance left Australia a good 100 runs short of the target and the West Indies cruised to victory.

Ashish Nehra 6/23, India vs England, Group match World Cup 2003, Kingsmead, Durban
This is one of the rare matches which Indians remember because of a bowling performance (apart from Tendulkar’s six off Caddick). Nehra bowled, without question, the best he has in his career on that night. He came in as the first change and took 3 quick wickets. He then did the same with his second spell between 25-30 overs just when England were putting together some resistance and won the game comfortably for the Indian side which needed the win to confirm qualification.

Shane Bond 6/23, New Zealand vs Australia, Group match World Cup 2003, Port Elizabeth
This is one of the most ruthless displays of express bowling in modern times by a man who loved playing against Australia. With the pace rarely dropping below 145 kph after the ball was released from Bond’s hands and with movement off the surface, he made short work of the Aussie top order after New Zealand chose to field. Australia dug deep with Bevan and a surprise 50 from Andy Bichel to hobble past 200 and ultimately win the match. Bond’s effort which won him Man of the Match, however, was outstanding and remains the best bowling performance ever on the losing side in a World Cup and second best overall in ODIs.

Shane Warne 4/29, Australia vs South Africa, World Cup Semis 1999, Birmingham
Warne showed in this legendary semi-final why he is to many the greatest spinner of all time. With Australia defending a modest 213, Warne bowled with extraordinary precision, given the ball even before the field restrictions were off. He got Gibbs, Kirsten and Cronje out early and when Kallis looked like he would take SA home, Warne came to the rescue in the 45th over. Four maidens in 10 overs by a spinner in modern ODIs is unheard of and it kept the pressure on South Africa. Warne ended the game with figures of 10-4-29-4.

This year when cricket’s biggest event rolls up be where the action is! Plan a trip to Australia and New Zealand with Eventraveler’s ICC World Cup page.

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