Devendra Bishoo – 8/49 vs Pakistan (Dubai)
Not that Pakistan aren’t known to display contrasts of brilliance and disappointment, but what transpired in their first day-night Test against West Indies could’ve been among as extreme as they have been. After declaring their first innings on 579 for 3, at the back of Azhar Ali’s triple century, they were bundled out for 123 in their second innings. As much as there can be questions over Pakistan’s drastic drop in batting standards, there was little to take away from Devendra Bishoo’s brilliance. The legspinner bowled well and erred the batsmen into playing false strokes. He finished with figures of 8 for 49 in the second innings and bagged a 10-wicket match haul to set up the game that seemed to be heading nowhere. West Indies eventually went on to lose the match, but Bishoo’s spell stood out.
Kagiso Rabada 6-32 & 7-122 vs England (Centurion)
With England winning two of the first three Tests and one ending in a draw, South Africa had little to play for going into the final match of the series at Centurion. Electing to bat after winning the toss, South Africa posted 475 at the back of centuries from Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock. England began their charge well, but South Africa’s young pace sensation Kagiso Rabada kept picking wickets at regular intervals. He returned with seven wickets in the first innings to help his side take a 133-run lead.
However, it was efforts in the second innings that helped South Africa salvage some pride and finish the series with a 1-2 scoreline. Having set England a target of 382 to chase with more than three sessions of play left, Rabada ran through the middle and the lower order with six wickets to bundle them out for 101 in less than 35 overs. His searing pace and movement proved too difficult for the English batsmen to handle even on the fifth day. He finished with match with figures of 13 for 144 and was adjudged the Man of the Match.
Stuart Broad 6-17 vs South Africa (Johannesburg)
In the third Test match of the same series in Johannesburg, by the end of the first two innings there was very little to separate England and South Africa. The visitors had taken a meagre 10-run lead. However, it was deadly spell of swing bowling that ruffled the hosts in the second essay. Stuart Broad wiped off the South African top-order with the scoreboard reading 45 for 6, all wickets to the credit of the tall and lanky pacer. They were eventually shot out for 83, before England chased down the target comfortably.
Mitchell Starc 6-50 vs Sri Lanka (Galle)
The Galle pitch was a spinner’s den. And, not surprisingly, despite the extremely hot conditions, the touring Australian batsmen weren’t feeling too warm there. They were bowled out for 106 and had conceded a lead of 175 runs. Then began the second innings, and then came Mitchell Starc into the attack. The left-arm pacer had bowled well throughout, despite unfavourable conditions for fast bowlers. However, his second innings effort at Galle remains the highlight. Not holding back on pace, he pitched the ball full and had the batsmen in trouble. His Sri Lanka tour’s bunny, Dimuth Karunaratne was dismissed for a duck, and five more were sent back to the pavilion by him. He finished with figures of 6 for 50. Nonetheless, Australia went on to lose the match and the series.
Mehedi Hasan 6-77 & 6-82 vs England (Dhaka)
Fresh out of age-group cricket, the 19-year old Mehdi Hasan had bagged a fifer in his debut match and nearly helped Bangladesh clinch a shock victory over England in Chittagong. But another batting collapse meant that Bangladesh had to hold their celebrations for a bit longer. Taking advantage of a line-up that had five left-handers in the top-six, Mehedi Hasan, who opened the attack, returned with six wickets in each innings to finish with match figures of 12 for 159 and help Bangladesh register a historic win in Dhaka, and draw the two-match series 1-1.
Yasir Shah 6-72 & 4-69 vs England (Lord’s)
Coming into the English series, a lot of talk revolved around Mohammad Amir, who was marking his return to Test cricket after the spot-fixing ban. Pakistan were never the favourites, but Misbah-ul-Haq’s century helped the tourists off to a good start. In reply, England got off to a good start with Alastair Cook and Joe Root putting on a 110-run stand for the second wicket, before Yasir Shah trapped the latter LBW. In conditions that weren’t too favourable for spin bowling, he spun a web around the English batsmen and ran through the middle order, bagging five more wickets and helping skittle out England for 272, 67 runs behind Pakistan’s first innings lead. He followed it up with four crucial wickets in the second essay to help Pakistan register a historic win at Lord’s.
Sunil Narine 6-27 vs South Africa (Providence)
In the opening match of the tri-series, hosts West Indies were the underdogs against South Africa. Even as the pitch was expected to be on the slower side and difficult for shot making, it wasn’t expected to be challenging to play the bowling. However, soon after South Africa got off to a steady start, Sunil Narine weaved his magic around and had the entire line-up in trouble with his mystery spin. He bagged six wickets as South Africa folded for 188 and West Indies managed to register a surprise four-wicket win.
John Hastings 6-45 vs Sri Lanka (Dambulla)
Coming into the ODIs, World No. 1 Australia had already lost the preceding Test series 3-0 to an inexperienced Sri Lankan outfit. Mid-way through the series, skipper Steve Smith left for Australia to take rest and the world champions were having serious trouble getting their act right. An ordinary Sri Lankan team were giving them a tough time. Against the run of play, with the ODI series on the line, John Hastings bowled a fine spell of fast bowling to bag six wickets. In conditions unsuitable for pacers, he used his cutters and slower balls extremely well to trouble the batsmen and help Australia in the match with six wickets in hand.
Imad Wasim 5-14 vs West Indies (Dubai)
Coming straight from the Caribbean Premier League, Imad Wasim knew the West Indian batsmen fairly well. Not surprisingly when he was handed the new ball in the opening T20I in Dubai, he sent back three inside two overs. He followed that up by also taking the scalps of the dangerous power-hitters Kieron Pollard and Carlos Brathwaite to finish with figures of 5 for 14 from his four overs and bowl out the world champions for 115.
Mitchell Santner 4-11 vs India (Nagpur)
It was meant to be a perfect pitch for the Indian spinners to decimate the New Zealanders and register their maiden win in World T20 win against the Kane Williamson-led side. However, it was the innocuous left-arm spin of Mitchell Santner which rattled the Indian top and middle order. He took four wickets – Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya – as the hosts were shot out for 79, chasing 127 for a win.