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The best bowling figures on T20I debut

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T20I_debut_best_bowling_figures_CricketKenyan pacer Emmanuel Bundi enjoyed a memorable T20I debut on October 27, as he took 4/18 in a fine spell against Papua New Guinea at the T20 World Cup Qualifier. Though his effort ultimately went in vain – Papua New Guinea came back from 19/6 to win by 45 runs – he had the satisfaction of recording the eighth-best bowling figures by a T20I debutant. On that note, here is a look at the ten best bowling figures on debut in men’s T20Is (as on November 7, 2019).

5/6 by Ankush Nanda (Luxembourg) v Turkey, Ilfov County, 2019

This match of the five-nation Romania Cup was the first T20I for both teams. It was 33-year-old medium pacer Ankush Nanda who stole the show, as he rattled the Turkish batting line-up to finish with 5/6 in 2.3 overs. This was only the second instance of a bowler taking a fifer on T20I debut, and broke the record for the best bowling figures on debut that had stood for seven years. Turkey were shot out for a mere 28 – then a record low – and were duly beaten by eight wickets.

5/13 by Elias Sunny (Bangladesh) v Ireland, Belfast, 2012

Before Nanda joined him in the club, Bangladeshi left-arm spinner Elias Sunny was the only man to have taken five wickets on T20I debut. He achieved the feat in the first of a three-match series in Ireland, in which the Tigers subdued the hosts by 71 runs. After Bangladesh had put up 190/5 on the board, Sunny wrought havoc with a return of 5/13 in four overs, including the key scalps of Ed Joyce and Niall O’Brien, as the score slid from 56/2 to 72/8 in the span of six overs.  

4/10 by Barinder Sran (India) v Zimbabwe, Harare, 2016

Left-arm paceman Barinder Sran, who had made his ODI debut in Australia a few months earlier, starred on his T20I debut to help India thump Zimbabwe in this second of three T20Is. Sran captured the first four wickets to fall to leave Zimbabwe tottering at 28/4 after five overs, and finished with 4/10 from four overs. India’s openers overhauled the target of 100 in just 13.1 overs, with the win enabling the visitors to level the series after a two-run loss in the first match.  

4/12 by Bilal Zalmai (Austria) v Romania, Ilfov County, 2019

This was not only the first game of the Romania Cup, but also the maiden T20I for both teams. Off-spinning all-rounder Bilal Zalmai impressed after the hosts were inserted, taking 4/12 from four overs to reduce the score to 75/4. However, his display was in vain, as Austria folded for 106 in reply to Romania’s 137/7. Opening the innings, Zalmai scored only four runs. But he dazzled with the bat in the final against the Czech Republic, hitting 111* in Austria’s 30-run win.

4/15 by Ajantha Mendis (Sri Lanka) v Zimbabwe, King City, 2008-09

A few months earlier, off-spinner Ajantha Mendis had astonished the cricketing world with six wickets in the Asia Cup final against India, followed by 26 wickets in his first Test series against the same opposition. He continued in the same vein in T20Is, taking 4/15 in the first match of a quadrangular series in Canada. In a rain-reduced 17-over fixture, Mendis dented Zimbabwe’s middle and lower order, restricting them to 106/8. Sri Lanka went on to triumph by five wickets.

4/15 by Michael Ross (Italy) v Germany, Utrecht, 2019

Italy marked their T20I debut with a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over Germany in the first of two matches at the Sportpark Maarschalkerweered in Utrecht. The Germans succumbed to pace and spin alike, and were skittled out for 53 in 16 overs, then the fourth lowest T20I total. Off-spinner Michael Ross, who was the third-change bowler, mopped off the last four wickets to fall to finish with figures of 4/15. Italy’s batsmen completed the formalities with 68 balls left.

4/17 by Devendra Bishoo (West Indies) v Pakistan, Gros Islet, 2011

Responding to the West Indies’ 150/7 in this one-off T20I, Pakistan were 49/2 in the seventh over when Guyanese leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo accounted for a dangerous-looking Asad Shafiq off his fourth delivery. The very next ball saw Misbah-ul-Haq get out hit wicket, and Pakistan were in trouble. Bishoo soon tightened the screws by dismissing captain Shahid Afridi , and proceeded to collect a haul of 4/17 that was instrumental in the West Indies’ seven-run win.

4/18 by Emmanuel Bundi (Kenya) v Papua New Guinea, Dubai, 2019-20

Coming into this last-round T20 World Cup Qualifier match, Kenya were in need of a massive win to have even a faint chance of sneaking into the 2020 T20 World Cup. Emmanuel Bundi rose to the occasion, taking four of the first six wickets en route to figures of 4/18 as Papua New Guinea crumbled to 19/6 after just four overs. However, the Barramundis staged a dramatic turnaround, first recovering with the bat to reach 118, and then bowling the Kenyans out for 73.

4/19 by Harvir Baidwan (Canada) v Netherlands, Belfast, 2008

Canadian medium pacer Harvir Baidwan became the first man to take four wickets in a T20I while conceding less than 20 runs when he returned figures of 4/19 in his team’s first ever T20I, against the Netherlands at the World T20 Qualifier in Ireland. Baidwan struck off his second ball to make the score 49/4, before taking three more wickets, including two in successive balls, to help condemn the Dutch to 97. Canada won by four wickets, stretching the chase to the last over.

4/19 by Kaushalya Weeraratne (Sri Lanka) v Pakistan, King City, 2008-09

A day after Mendis’ successful debut, another Sri Lankan bowler registered a four-wicket haul in his first T20I, albeit in defeat. With Sri Lanka defending a total of 137/9, all-rounder Kaushalya Weeraratne engineered a collapse with his medium-fast pace as he removed Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi to send Pakistan from 61/2 to 69/5. Weeraratne ended with 4/19, but Shoaib Malik and Fawad Alam kept their calm to steer Pakistan to a three-wicket win.



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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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