With the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup just days away, we build up to the mega event by looking back at some fantastic bowling performances in the tournament over the years. In the first part, we look at Andy Bichel’s brilliant 7 for 20 for Australia against England during a group match of the 2003 World Cup at Port Elizabeth on March 2, 2003.
Australia: A Gilchrist, M Hayden, R Ponting, D Martyn, D Lehmann, M Bevan, A Symonds, B Hogg, B Lee, A Bichel and G McGrath
England: M Trescothick, N Knight, M Vaughan, N Hussain, A Stewart, P Collingwood, A Flintoff, C White, A Giles, A Caddick and J Anderson
Toss: England won and chose to bat
The setting: This was the 37th match of the lengthy 2003 World Cup in South Africa. As in the Ashes, Australia have often outplayed England in the shorter versions as well. Thus, the Aussies began firm favourites to clinch this match, as they were to win the series. Having decided to bat first after winning the toss, England got off to a roaring start, with their openers Marcus Trescothick and Nick Knight adding 66 for the first wicket. They looked set to post a competitive score. This was before Andy Bichel took over.
The great bowling performance: Bichel was unlucky to have been playing in the same era as Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee. But, on that day at Port Elizabeth, he outshone both his more illustrations compatriots. Bichel broke the opening stand by dismissing Knight for 30 from 33 balls. He put England in further trouble as he sent back Michael Vaughan and skipper Naseer Hussain for single-figure scores. 74 for 3, and soon to 74 for 4 as McGrath got rid of Trescothick for 37 from 36 balls. Bichel added the scalp of Paul Collingwood for 10 as England lost half their side for 87.
The experienced duo of Alec Stewart and Andrew Flintoff then featured in a partnership that helped England recover to an extent. But, the reintroduction of Bichel once again swung the momentum in Australia's favour. Following a 90-run partnership, Bichel had Flintoff caught behind for 45 from 80 balls, an innings which included only three fours and one six. The body blow to England was dealt when Bichel clean bowled Stewart for 46. The veteran batsman faced 92 balls, but hit only one four. Bichel added the scalp of Ashley Giles to his kitty to finish with magical figures of 7 for 20. Incredibly, England lost eight wickets in the innings, which means McGrath was the only other wicket-taker.
The result: In spite of Bichel's heroics, Australia found themselves in all sorts of trouble at 48 for 4, as Andrew Caddick sent back Gilchrist, Hayden, Martyn and Ponting in quick succession. Darren Lehmann and Michael Bevan steadied the ship for Australia, but when Craig White dismissed Lehmann for 37 from 62 deliveries, the match was back in the balance at 111 for 5. Giles put England on top by sending back Andrew Symonds and Brad Hogg for single figure scores. But, this was Bichel's day. He came in and smashed an unbeaten 34 from 36 balls with three fours and one six, to aid Bevan (74 not out) in taking Australia home.
--By A Cricket Analyst