With the warm-up matches in full swing, the World Cup is just around the corner. Warming up to the features that we plan to bring you, here is another one in the series. Today’s column lists the worst bowling performances by a player in a WC match in each of the previous 5 World Cups. We have considered players who have bowled a minimum of 7 overs (good enough number to have an impact!) and taken a maximum of 1 wicket (less enough to have a positive impact) and belong to the top 8 test playing nations (Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa and West Indies). Read the bowling figures as Overs-Maidens-Runs-Wickets.
- 2007 World Cup : LE Plunkett ‘s ( 7-0-71-1 Econ. 10.14) performance against West Indies in the Super Eights is worth taking note of. In this particular match WI managed to score 300 with good support from Plunkett and England managed to narrowly get past the target on the penultimate ball of the match, courtesy a 91 ball hundred from Kevin Pietersen. The credit for the win should go to Plunkett, who refused to bowl after being hit for 24 runs in the 35th over of the innings and instead asked his captain, Michael Vaughan to finish his spell who returned with an impressive figure of 10-0-39-3.
- 2003 World Cup : Zaheer Khan ‘s (7-0-67-0 Econ. 9.67) performance against Australia in the final of 2003 World Cup was an “off-day”, so was India’s performance, as put by then captain Sourav Ganguly . None of the Indians can forget that final of 2003 when Zak started off by conceding 15 runs in the first over. Other Indian seamers gave him a good run for his money for this spot, Srinath finished with a career ending figure of 10-0-87-0 and Nehra (10-0-57-0) was marginally better than his pace colleagues . To India’s concern and to others’ delight two of the three seamers feature in the current World cup squad.
- 1999 World Cup: WPUJC Vaas (10-0-84-1 Econ. 8.4) had his worst figures in his 14 year long career in a Group A match against India at Taunton during 1999 World Cup. It was probably India’s revenge against the Lankans for the loss in semi-final of 1996 World Cup. Though none of the Lankan bowlers were spared by the duo of Ganguly (183) and Dravid(145), Vaas managed to edge past the others.
- 1996 World Cup: RK Ilingworth( 10-1-72-1 Econ 7.2) played the last ODI of his career against the mighty Lankans in the 1st QF of 1996 World Cup. Jayasuriya scored a blistering 82 off just 44 balls to guide his team through. Ilingworth’s performance was nearly matched up by the pace duo of Waqar Younis ( 10-1-67-2) and Aqib Javed(10-1-67-1) in another QF match (India vs Pakistan). Ilingworth is the only slow bowler to find a mention in our list. He just managed to play 25 ODIs in his career.
- 1992 World Cup: Chris Harris returned with the figures of 10-0-72-1 (worst figure of his career as well) in a do-or-die SF match against Pakistan in Auckland. It was not a jaw dropping performance by today’s standard but certainly when there were no powerplays and batsmen looked to set themselves up before starting to get runs, it was really a poor one. Read our article Changing face of ODI Cricket-What is a good score? to get more insights. Chris Harris was the pick of the bowlers for New Zealand before this match, taking 15 wickets with an economy of around 4 runs per over. Other players who conceded with an economy of more than 7 in the 1992 WC were from minnows Zimbabwe (4 to be precise).