The 5 Best Bowling Performances in T20 World Cup History

In a game dominated by batters, it’s surreal to come on top as a bowler. Over the years, bowlers have made batter’s lives hell, exploiting the favourable conditions to the best. 

A few of them have done this in the T20 World Cup, delivering some breathtaking bowling spells.

This article delves into the 5 best bowling performances in T20 World Cup history.

Mitchell Santner | 4/11 vs India, 2016

On a spinning track in Nagpur, India failed to chase New Zealand’s below-par total of 126. The reason? Mitchell Santner strangled India’s batting lineup with his left-arm spin.

Santner came to bowl in the third over and dismissed Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina. Then, in the 10th over, he got Hardik Pandya LBW out and hit the nail in the coffin by dismissing MS Dhoni at the right time.

Santner’s 4 for 11 helped New Zealand start their campaign with a dominating win over India by 47 runs.

Anrich Nortje | 4/7 vs Sri Lanka, 2024

During the 2024 T20 World Cup, South Africa and Sri Lanka clashed at New York’s Nassau County International Cricket Stadium. With a newly laid drop-in pitch, no one knew how the wicket would behave.

Despite that, Sri Lanka chose to bat first, but it turned out to be a massive blunder as the pitch was tough to bat on. With a bit of movement and an uneven bounce, South African bowlers wreaked havoc on Sri Lankan batters.

Anrich Nortje was the chief destructor, as he scalped 4 wickets for just 7 runs. He dismissed Kamindu Mendis, Kusal Mendi, and Charith Asalanka in 3 back-to-back overs. Then the pacer completed his four-wicket haul by removing Angelo Mathews.

Umar Gul | 5/6 vs New Zealand, 2009

New Zealand faced off against Pakistan in the 2009 T20 World Cup at the Oval. New Zealand’s skipper, Daniel Vettori, won the toss and elected to bat first.

The Kiwis were hoping to put up a challenging total but Pakistan reduced them to 37 for 3. Once the floodgates were thrown open, Umar Gul ran through New Zealand’s batting lineup.

He first got Scott Styris caught out, and on the next delivery, he sent Peter McGlashan back to the pavilion. Then, in the 16th over, Gul cleaned up Nathan McCullum.

And in his next over, Gul dismissed James Franklin and Kyle Mills on consecutive deliveries to bag the T20 World Cup’s first five-wicket haul.

Rangana Herath | 5/3 vs New Zealand, 2014

Another remarkable performance against New Zealand and another low-scoring encounter. Batting first, Sri Lanka could muster only 119 runs.

The target seemed to be easily chasable, however, it wasn’t to be. Sri Lanka’s ace spinner choked New Zealand early on in their chase.

Herath opened the wickets account for Sri Lanka, albeit with a run out. But that unsettled the Kiwis, and Herath went on to dismiss 3 batters on ducks within his first 2 overs.

He returned to bowl in the 8th over and got rid of Luke Ronchi. Herath finished the proceedings and grabbed his fifth wicket by dismissing Trent Boult on 60.

His dominating bowling helped Sri Lanka rout New Zealand by 59 runs. Eventually, Herath bowled an economical spell, conceding only 3 runs and affecting 2 run outs.

Ajantha Mendis | 6/8 vs Zimbabwe, 2012

Ajantha Mendis delivered a once-in-a-lifetime spell against Zimbabwe in the 2012 T20 World Cup. The Sri Lankan mystery spinner was on song and dismissed 6 batters by conceding a mere 8 runs.

Zimbabwe were chasing a challenging target of 183 runs and were slowly building an opening partnership. Then Mendis came to bowl in the 6th over and struck twice on back-to-back deliveries.

In his next 2 overs, he got rid of Hamilton Masakadza and Elton Chigumbura. Mendis completed his five-for with Prosper Utseya’s wicket and rounded off his spell by dismissing Kyle Jarvis.

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