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Great bowlers endure swansongs to forget
Ed Osmond in Johannesburg |
March 05, 2003 10:52 IST
Shane Warne did not bowl a single ball; Wasim Akram enjoyed one golden moment before packing his bags and Allan Donald was overlooked before his career almost certainly ended in the cruellest of circumstances.
Three of the greatest bowlers in the history of one-day international cricket, with 1,065 wickets between them, had World Cups to forget, their thunder stolen by unheralded names such as Andy Bichel, Ashish Nehra and James Anderson.
Bichel, the perennial reserve of Australian cricket, grabbed his limited chances with both hands.
He claimed 12 wickets in three matches at an average of 2.75, completing figures of seven for 20 in two inspired spells against England, the second best figures in World Cup history.
India's Nehra shook off the effects of a badly swollen ankle to rout England's middle order in a match-winning spell of six for 23.
Anderson's impact was even more unexpected. The 20-year-old Englishman, playing club cricket last year, ripped out four prime Pakistan wickets, including Inzamam-ul-haq and Yousuf Youhana, with successive balls, to set up a victory for his side.
Pace bowlers Glenn McGrath and Chaminda Vaas did produce performances to justify their lofty status in the world game, while Sachin Tendulkar, one-day cricket's leading run-scorer has been a model of consistency in India's campaign.
Australian McGrath completed World Cup best figures of seven for 15 against Namibia, and Vaas took a hat-trick with the first three balls of Sri Lanka's game against Bangladesh on the way to a tournament-high of 16 first-round wickets.
Wasim became the first bowler in history to reach the milestone of 500 one-day international victims when he bowled Dutchman Nick Statham, but the 36-year-old did not enjoy the swanson he wanted as Pakistan's talented but inconsistent side failed to make the second round.
The same could certainly be said for Warne and Donald.
Warne was sent home before Australia's first match after failing a drugs test, and Donald was forced to watch from the stands as his team suffered another cruel twist of fate to be eliminated after a tied game.
The 36-year-old, who played in three of his side's six games, took one wicket in 24.5 overs for 133 runs.
His selection became a national debate and when he was omitted from the side for South Africa's must-win Group B match against Sri Lanka he must have feared that the writing was on the wall.
Still Donald would have hoped for the chance to redeem himself in the tournament's latter stages. But when the rain came down and the Duckworth/Lewis score sheets condemned South Africa to an early exit the man known in his prime as ‘white lighting' was heading for the most ignominious of farewells.
Other leading players were also heading home early.
World record-breaking batsman Brian Lara, Inzamam, the fourth highest one-day international run scorer in history, Pakistan captain Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar, the world's fastest bowler, will play no part in the business end of the sport's showpiece event.
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