Recalling the five most expensive spells in men’s ODIs, when some of the format’s biggest names ended up with forgettable figures.
They say that the game is tilted in the batsmen’s favour – the following bowlers would readily agree, having been on the receiving end of some ferocious hitting on an off day. The five most expensive spells in ODIs have, rather unsurprisingly, all come at the turn of this century, where the advent of the T20 format helped lift ODI power-hitting to another level.
Nuwan Pradeep (10-0-106-0)
Sri Lanka v India, Mohali, 2017
Pradeep wasn’t in the Sri Lankan line-up when Rohit Sharma blasted a record-breaking 264 against the Lankans in 2014, but three years later, he copped his wrath in Rohit’s 208-run masterclass, ending with an economy rate of 10.6 and no wickets next to his name. He conceded nine fours and five sixes in all, and 67 – or 30 per cent – of Rohit’s runs that night.
It started slow – Pradeep gave just five runs off his first two overs but the subsequent spells weren’t as miserly. He ended up giving 51 runs off his last three overs, as Rohit jumped into third gear, completing his third double century of the format. It was three days after Pradeep had bowled four maidens in his spell of 2-37 in Dharamsala.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (10-0-106-1)
India v South Africa, Mumbai, 2015
Usually associated with thrifty figures and early breakthroughs, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was at the receiving end of a stunning assault from South Africa’s big three. On a day when Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers all scored centuries, Bhuvneshwar bagged a ‘hundred’ of his own, conceding 12 four and six sixes by himself. The yorkers went missing, the short balls were dispatched, and the slower ones were devoid of any sting, as the South Africa batsmen, bit by bit, dismantled the Indian attack beyond repair. He captured the consolation wicket of de Villiers, but by then, it was already the 47th over, and the total was well beyond India’s reach.
Rashid Khan (9-0-110-0)
Afghanistan v England, Manchester, 2019
The No.1-ranked T20I bowler, Rashid Khan is all about measly spells that are punctuated with frequent wickets, but Afghanistan’s World Cup clash against England was a spectacular aberration. Rashid ran into a red-hot Eoin Morgan, who clanked seven of his 17 sixes that day off his leg-breaks.
Afghanistan’s spearhead ended with the most ODI expensive spell in a World Cup game ever, getting ransacked for 11 sixes and three fours in all. The next game, Rashid was back in his element with a spell of 1-38, but the scars of that Manchester game might not be forgotten easily.
Wahab Riaz (10-0-110-0)
Pakistan v England, Nottingham, 2016
A formidable white-ball bowler on his day, Riaz tends to go for runs aplenty when things aren’t going his way. In his 89 ODIs, Riaz has conceded more than 85 runs as many as four times, but the most he went for in an ODI was during England’s record-breaking run feast in Nottingham, where they blasted 444 in 50 overs in 2016.
Riaz gave away more than 40 per cent of those runs, conceding 12 fours and four sixes in a forgettable spell. Off his final over, the 48th of England’s innings, Riaz went for 24 runs, 18 off which came in just sixes.
Mick Lewis (10-0-113-0)
Australia v South Africa, Johannesburg, 2006
Not like the other bowlers weren’t, but Mick Lewis was the most unfortunate victim of the Johannesburg carnage, sending down his full quota only to end with an economy of 11.3 (to put things in perspective, his List A economy stands at 4.91). Surprisingly, his dot ball count of 21 was the second-best among the six Australian bowlers that day, but the remaining 39 deliveries were carted for 113 runs, including 13 fours and four sixes. As it turned out, within two months of the incredible game, he lost his Cricket Australia contract — and the fateful match turned out to be the last time he wore the yellow and green jersey.