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Super spells from India vs West Indies


West_Indies_India_CricketWith India and the West Indies locked in battle in the Caribbean, it is a good time to revisit the five best bowling figures in One-Day Internationals between the two teams over the years. It makes for an interesting list with perhaps a couple of unexpected names – neither Courtney Walsh nor Kapil Dev, the leading wicket-takers in this contest for their respective teams, feature in it.

1) Anil Kumble, 6/12 at Calcutta, 1993-94

Leg-spin legend Anil Kumble lit up the Eden Gardens in the final of the Hero Cup, a tournament played to commemorate the Cricket Association of Bengal’s diamond jubilee, with a sensational spell. Having squeezed into the final by virtue of a two-run win in the semifinal against South Africa, India ended their 50 overs at 225/7 after being put in to bat. The Windies went from 57/1 to 63/4 in reply, before Carl Hooper and Roland Holder took the score to 101/4.

This proved to be a false dawn though, as Kumble completely took over from here on. He began by castling Holder – who became the first to be given out bowled by a TV umpire - and then had Jimmy Adams caught at cover. Hooper was eighth out at 122, leg-before, by which time his team was in tatters. Kumble made short work of the tail and guided India to a 102-run victory. He took six for four in 26 balls, and his return remained the best ODI figures by an Indian until 2014.

2) Patrick Patterson, 6/29 at Nagpur, 1987-88

The tearaway Jamaican paceman Patrick Patterson enjoyed bowling in ODIs, as 90 wickets at 24.51 attest. His best moment came in this first ODI of a seven-match series at the VCA Ground. The West Indies were limited to 203/8 in 50 overs, but Patterson crushed India’s hopes of a solid start to the chase by getting rid of the top three – Arun Lal, Anshuman Gaekwad and Kris Srikkanth - in his opening spell to leave the hosts reeling at 18/3.

India further collapsed to 31/5 before Kapil Dev cracked 87 off 64 balls, sharing in a sixth-wicket stand of 113 with Ravi Shastri. However, Patterson could do no wrong on this day, and he duly removed Kapil and Shastri in quick succession on his return to the attack. India faltered to 155/9, but another twist remained as Kiran More and Maninder Singh stitched together 38 for the final wicket. In the 45th over, Patterson fittingly removed More to seal a ten-run win for his side.

3) Viv Richards, 6/41 at Delhi, 1988-89

The West Indies came into this Nehru Cup match at the Feroz Shah Kotla on the back of five consecutive defeats, including those against Sri Lanka and Australia earlier in the six-nation tournament, which was held to celebrate the birth centenary of India’s first Prime Minister. In what was a 45-over affair, the Windies were wobbling at 65/3 when captain Viv Richards came out and smote 44 in 42 balls. In spite of this effort, the final total was kept to 196/9.

India were going well at 91/2 with Raman Lamba and Mohinder Amarnath in the middle, when Richards, trusting his off-breaks, brought himself on and had the latter caught at cover. At 143/4, he had caught Mohammad Azharuddin off his own bowling before conjuring a triple strike in the 38th over; Shastri holed out while skying, Kapil was caught at square leg and More struck on the pads as 158/5 became 160/8. Richards’ sixth victim was Arshad Ayub, last out with the score at 176.

4) Nikhil Chopra, 5/21 at Toronto, 1999

This was the deciding ODI of a three-match series played at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club. Rahul Dravid hit a vital 77 to rescue India from 61/3 and helped them recover to 225/7. Mervyn Dillon collected five wickets, though he was taken for 51 runs. India’s pace duo of Debasis Mohanty and Venkatesh Prasad then rattled the West Indian top order, reducing the score to an abysmal 20/4 by the tenth over. Off-spinner Nikhil Chopra soon joined the party too.

With the score at 49/4, Chopra sent Jimmy Adams back, the ball finding its way into the safe hands of Dravid. In his following over, Chopra gobbled the big one, Brian Lara, again caught by Dravid, and then cleaned up Dillon off the next ball. The West Indies were now staring down the barrel at 52/7. Ricardo Powell threatened for a while with an entertaining 76, but Chopra removed him and Corey Collymore to complete his fifer and India’s 88-run win in the 35th over.

5) Sanjeev Sharma, 5/26 at Sharjah, 1988-89

Medium pacer Sanjeev Sharma was one of the heroes of India’s 23-run win in the opening game of the tri-nation Champions Trophy, also involving Pakistan, at Sharjah. Kris Srikkanth’s belligerent 112, combined with captain Dilip Vengsarkar’s measured 76*, pushed India to 238/5 after a very slow start. In reply, Sharma dismissed Gordon Greenidge with the score at 42, but at 134/1 with Desmond Haynes and Richie Richardson looking good, India were losing steam.

It was leg-spinner Narendra Hirwani (4/50) who bamboozled the middle order, and his variations dented the West Indian batsmen’s confidence. The game was in the balance at 208/5 when Sharma came back on and bowled Roger Harper for his second wicket. The end was quick – five wickets fell for just seven runs, Sharma taking the last three, as the West Indies were bowled out for 215 in the 49th over.


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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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