Asia Cup: Top 5 bowling performances in the tournament

Over the years several top bowlers have left their mark on the tournament. We take a look at the top five bowling performances in the history of Asia Cup

cricket Updated: Sep 14, 2018 13:01 IST
Manish K Pathak
Manish K Pathak
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Asia Cup,Asia Cup 2018,Ajantha Mendis
File photo of Aquib Javed celebrating a wicket during the cricket tournament.(Getty Images)

After the England series, the focus now shifts to the upcoming Asia Cup where the top teams from the sub-continent will battle it out to assert their dominance. India go into the tournament as the defending champions but are without their captain Virat Kohli. Rohit Sharma will lead the side and this adds a different texture to the scenario.

Pakistan is a team in form after having had a bumper series in Zimbabwe, and look fairly settled. They are a team confident of winning in familiar conditions.

And then there is enigmatic Sri Lanka, a mercurial Bangladesh and an exciting Afghanistan. We also have Hong Kong in the fray which will make the entire tournament an intriguing watch.

The conditions should generally be favourable to the batsmen, but the top teams boast of well-rounded bowling attacks and here we take a look at the top five bowling performances in the history of Asia Cup.

Ajantha Mendis, 6 for 13 against India, Karachi 2008

2008 Asia Cup will forever be associated with Ajantha Mendis and his mastery over the mystery spin. He bagged 27 wickets in the tournament and reserved his best for the finals against India.

The Sri Lankan had an assortment of deliveries, he bowled off-breaks, carrom balls, top spinners and googlies, which had the batsmen tied up in strings. In the finals, he took the field and wreaked havoc against a much-vaunted Indian batting line-up.

Sri Lankan cricketer Ajantha Mendis (R) celebrates after taking the wicket of Indian batsman Suresh Raina during The Asia Cup final between India and Sri Lanka at The National Cricket Stadium in Karachi on July 6, 2008. (AFP/Getty Images)

The Indians decided to attack him, they failed, they decided to play him out, they failed, they decided to see him off, they failed. They were chasing down a target of 274 and were never really in the contest as soon as Mendis was introduced into the attack. From 76 for 1, the Sri Lankans reduced India to 97 for 5. The writing was on the wall as India caved in 39.3 overs and Mendis walked away with 6 wickets for only 13 runs.

ALSO READ: History of India-Pakistan matches in the tournament

Aaqib Javed, 5 for 21, Pakistan vs India, Sharjah 1995

Another fast bowler from the hinterland in Pakistan, Aaqib Javed, was a match-winner on his day and he gave an example of his prowess against India in Sharjah, back in 1995.

Pakistan batted first and posted 266. However, India never got going in their chase after a solid start and stumbled against the seam and then reverse swing of Javed who ended with 5 wickets in his kitty as Pakistan won the match by 97 runs.

Arshad Ayub, 5 for 21, India vs Pakistan, Dhaka 1988

Back in October 1988, a relatively young off-spinner Arshad Ayub shot into recognition with his inspired bowling spell against Pakistan in Dhaka.

Arshad Ayub bowling for India against the West Indies during the Champions Trophy match at Sharjah Stadium in the United Arab Emirates on 13th October 1989. (Popperfoto/Getty Images)

The Hyderabad-player was an off-spinner in the traditional mould and with his variations in pace and length, he accounted for 5 Pakistani wickets as India restricted the arch rivals for only 142 runs. Although India did make heavy weather of the chase, they won the match by 4 wickets in the end.

Ajantha Mendis, 5 for 22 against UAE, Lahore 2008

It was an edition for the spinners and Sri Lanka with their variety of tweakers ruled the roost. Mendis, who was the find of the season, announced his arrival at the world stage with a memorable spell against UAE.

With his unique style of flicking the ball out of his fingers, Mendis cast a spell on the relatively inexperienced UAE batting order. He collected 5 wickets and gave away just 22 runs in only 6.3 overs.

Chasing 291 to win, UAE caved in for only 148 runs and conceded the match.

Muttiah Muralitharan, 5 for 31, against Bangladesh, Karachi 2008

Another master of the trade, Muralitharan spun a web against Bangladesh in 2008 in Karachi.

Chasing a target of 329, Bangladesh were never in the game as they were bundled out in only 38 overs and 3 balls, just scoring 174 runs.

Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara had put together a 200-run stand earlier in the game, but Murali was a mystery which Bangladesh could never solve in their chase.

First Published: Sep 14, 2018 12:55 IST