For any captain, one of the most perplexing tasks is to make wise and judicious use of the bowlers at his disposal. The quality of bowlers, the batting strength of opponents, condition of the pitch and what situation demands at a particular moment – all of these factors play an equally important role in deciding the over-quota for a bowler.
The task gets even more obscure when it comes to white-ball cricket. Unlike the traditional format of the game, where a bowler can bowl as long his team wants him to, the limited-overs format, as the name suggests, comes with certain limitations. When it comes to One-Day Internationals (ODIs), the bowler can’t deliver more than ten overs irrespective of how good and lethal he is on a particular day. The restrictions add extra pressure to the fielding side, and the batting side gets an opportunity to plan the attack accordingly — see of the most productive bowlers of the day and compensate it by attacking other bowlers.
However, there are instances when the team don’t hesitate to use their opening bowlers to deliver ten overs on the trot, especially when the bowler is mercilessly ripping apart the batting unit. The fielding-captain prefers not to make a change and rides on the bowler’s momentum to keep the opponent on backfoot.
Here are the five instances when opening bowlers delivered ten overs on the trot:
1.) Trent Boult
In the 4th ODI against India in 2019, Trent Boult put on a fiery display in Hamilton that saw the visitors succumbing for a paltry score of 92. The New Zealand speedster made excellent use of bowler-friendly pitch as he completed his full ten overs in a single spell.
Boult finished the match with figures of 5/21 including four maidens. Further, this was the fifth occasion Boult completed the five-wicket haul, also equalling Richard Hadlee’s record of most five-fors for the Blackcaps in ODI cricket.
2.) Shaun Pollock
As a part of the preparations for ICC World Cup 2007, Pakistan toured South Africa for a five-match ODI series which they eventually lost by 3-1.
Although Shaun Pollock was nearly unplayable for the whole series, it was in the fifth ODI at the Wanderers where he ran through Pakistan’s top-order in a single spell. Pollock finished his ten overs unchanged from one end and yielded match-defining figures of 5 for 23. Pakistan was dismissed for 153.
In reply, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers combined 155 runs for the second wicket partnership to guide their team towards a comfortable victory.
3.) Farveez Maharoof
Farveez Maharoof, making his debut for Sri Lanka at just 19, was one of the most skilful all-rounders who failed to materialise his talent at an international level.
However, Maharoof produced too many memorable, match-defining performances in his career spanning over a decade.
One such performance was against West Indies in the Indian Oil Cup 2005. The all-rounder bowled with impeccable accuracy, making the Windies batsman dance to his tune. He completed his 10 overs in a single spell, finishing the match with a spectacular figure of 3 for 9, including five maidens.
4.) Phil Simmons
The Caribbean speedster Phil Simmons produced one of the most miserly spells against Pakistan in the Benson & Hedges World Series 1992-93.
While the crowd at Sydney Cricket Ground expected some fierce display from Curtly Ambrose or Patrick Patterson, Simmons came out of syllabus.
He bowled for ten overs straight, conceding just 3 runs, getting 4 wickets and guiding West Indies to an improbable win.
5.) Mohammad Asif
In his heydays, Mohammad Asif was one of the most dreadful pacers who made the ball swing at his will. It is nothing less than a travesty that the former Pakistani, instead of excellent bowling skill, is known across the cricketing world for all sorts of wrong reasons.
In a match against South Africa at Durban, Asif masterminded an incredible spell to demolish the African batting unit. He bowled his 10 overs unchanged, returning magnificent figures of 2 for 29.
This was the lone victory for Pakistan in a series that they lost by a margin of 3-1.