A couple of months ago Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan) produced a spell of 7 overs, 4 maidens, 2 wickets for 6 runs in a one-day international against Bangladesh. I wondered how often in recent times it has happened that a bowler has been so economical in ODIs, especially with the trend towards higher run-rates (2006 saw the first 400+ team score and now it has occurred ten times). I used CricInfo’s Statsguru to find out. It turns out that there have been 31 instances of a bowler bowling at least 7 overs with an economy rate less than 1 run per over, with a fair number of those occuring in the 2000s, though mostly against the weaker teams.
The list can be seen here.
The most economical was 4 wickets for 3 runs in 10 overs by Phil Simmons (WI) against Pakistan! Only two of the 31 performances have been five wicket hauls:
- Muralitharan against NZ at Sharjah in 2002 (10-3-9-5) (New Zealand still posted 218 and won the match!)
- Sunil Joshi against South Africa at Nairobi in 1999 (10-6-6-5)
Below are some other notable performances of “recent” times.
- Curtly Ambrose (West Indies) had 10-5-5-1 against Sri Lanka at Sharjah in 1999. His overs were bowled in a single spell.
- Andre Botha (Ireland) had 8-4-5-2 against Pakistan at Kingston in 2007 (during the World Cup), a game which Pakistan famously lost. This was the last time we saw such an economical bowling display in an ODI against a non-minnow (non-Irish to be more specific) side.
- Glenn McGrath (Australia) had 10-4-8-4 against India at Sydney in 2000. This was McGrath at the peak of his powers.
- Aasif Karim (Kenya) had 8.2-6-7-3 against Australia at Durbin in 2003 (during the World Cup Super Sixes stage as a 39 year-old). He had 5 taken off his last two balls so at one point his figures were 8-6-2-3!
- Trevor Gripper (Zim) had 7-4-6-0 against West Indies at Kandy in 2001. Interestingly he only played 8 ODIs.