Wahab Riaz Fiery Spell – Video
Wahab Riaz bowled his heart out in the quarter-final against Australia at Adelaide Oval in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. It was one of the most hostile demonstrations of fast bowling in the entire tournament (on a track that supported batsmen), but he ended up being on the losing side. His figures, 9-0-54-2, hardly tell the tale — more so because of the two dropped catches.
In the post-match presentation, Misbah-ul-Haq mentioned that he had never seen anyone bowl like that, while Michael Clarke lauded his bowling and aggression. Wahab was as fast as any bowler in the tournament; he got uncanny lift from a length, hurrying batsmen into defence, making them jump about in the crease, only to come back empty-handed after a hard day’s work.
Here, then, is a list of seven balls from Wahab’s spell from hell:
1. Fourth ball, second over, Michael Clarke falls prey: Wahab and Rahat Ali kept holding back the length, forcing Clarke shuffled to go back; was desperate to get a run as he played a ball to point; and when the ball finally grew on Clarke, all he could do was to fend it to a diving Sohail Maqsood. A perfect plan, well executed, resulting in the wicket of the captain.
2. Second ball, third over, Shane Watson is almost decapitated: Wahab’s second ball to Watson was a screamer that made him duck; Wahab’s completed his follow-through, finishing next to Watson. It was the last ball of his second over. Two balls into the next Wahab unleashed one that almost took Watson’s head away; it was a matter of a millisecond.
3. Sixth ball, third over, Shane Watson survives: Four balls later Wahab unleashed perhaps his best ball of the day. The ball had everything a bowler could dream of: it was exceptionally fast, bounced off a length, darted in from an angle, and changed direction abruptly, aiming for Watson’s gloves. Watson did exceptionally well to drop his hands at the last moment. Wahab’s figures read 3-0-12-2 at this stage.
4. Fourth ball, fourth over, Shane Watson hurried again: By the time he was in his fourth over, it seemed Wahab may cause major problems to Australia. His third ball not only bounced, but it also gained speed as it grew on Watson. There was also a short-leg, and Watson had to take a hand off to ensure the ball did not fly for a catch.
5. Sixth ball, fourth over, flies over third-man: Two balls after the previous delivery Wahab unleashed another peach. It thudded into the shoulder of Watson’s bat, and came so fast that Watson could not take his hand away. Fortunately for him, the ball took the shoulder of the bat and soared over third-man…
6. First ball, fifth over, Rahat Ali “drops the World Cup?” Wahab had clocked 145 (even 150) kmph throughout his fourth over, pitching just short of a length. Watson, perhaps out of desperation, tried to hook one. Misbah and Wahab had planned it out: the ball flew to Rahat, who was placed at deep fine-leg — only to grass the easiest of chances. Wahab was not amused.
7. Fifth ball, fifth over, Shane Watson survives again: Watson had got off strike when Rahat dropped him. Steve Smith took a run three balls later, followed by a close call for a wide. A fuming Wahab steamed in. He bent his back that extra bit, the ball took off from a length, and the ball — once again — fell short of short-leg. Misbah had probably placed the man a bit behind.