Following on from our recent article on some of the top batting performances, let's have a look at some of the top bowling performances in non-test cricket. One can't really mention good bowling without mentioning Bart King, and this article will be no exception …
10-53 and 4-38 for Philadelphia v Ireland
Merion Cricket Club, Haverford, 17th-18th September 1909
The previous year, Philadelphia had toured England, where Bart King took 87 wickets at an average of 11.01, topping the bowling averages that season with a mark that wasn't beaten until the 1960s. He was still in good form when Ireland came over to the USA in September 1909.
On a cloudy day and with a moist pitch, conditions were perfect for King's swing bowling, which was amongst the finest in the world, and one of his deliveries had previously been given the rather terrifying name of the "Hellbender" by the American press. He pitched the ball up, bowling several yorkers and clean bowled seven batsman, had two more out LBW, and needing a fielder for just one dismissal to pick up all ten wickets in the innings. He even bowled not out batsman George Morrow with a no-ball. In addition, he also took a hat-trick amongst his four second innings wickets as Philadelphia won by an innings.
6-69 and 9-69 for Bermuda v Philadelphia
Merion Cricket Club, Haverford, 14th-15th July 1911
Less than two years after King took all ten against Ireland, the Merion Cricket Club was home to another remarkable bowling performance, this time against Phialdelphia by Bermuda's spin bowler Gerald Conyers. Conyers was one of Bermuda's best bowlers, and the year after this match he took eleven wickets in a match against Australia.
Bermuda had been bowled out for 164 in their first innings, but managed to get a first-innings lead when they bowled out their hosts for 129, Conyers taking 6-69. Bart King held the innings together with the bat by scoring 62, and then took 5-43 in the Bermuda second innings, bowling them out for 130 to set a target of 167 for Philadelphia. When the Americans had reached 157-4, with Conyers having taken 3-67, it looked like they were crusing to a simple victory. But Conyers then bowled two of the most remarkable overs in the history of cricket, taking two hat-tricks as he took the last six wickets for two runs, finishing with figures of 9-69.
9-26 and 3-34 for Ireland v Scotland
College Park, Dublin, 27th-29th July 1957
Ireland and Scotland have a history going back many years, and earlier this year played their 100th match against each other. The best innings bowling performance in the history of the fixture came at Dublin in July 1957. Frank Fee was playing just his fifth match for Ireland, but had already shown a liking for this ground, having taken seven wickets in each innings against the MCC here the previous September.
Scotland's David Livingstone had took 6-33 as Ireland were bowled out for 139 in their first innings, but thanks to Fee's bowling performance, they were able to get a first innings lead. Fee took the first nine wickets to fall for 26 runs, and was only stopped from taking all ten when Larry Warke took the final wicket in his fourth over. Fee also took three wickets in the Scotland second innings to guide Ireland to a 38 run win.
10-25 and 0-16 for Malaysia v Singapore
Tenaga National Sports Complex, Kuala Lumpur, 2nd-4th December 1983
The Saudara Cup has seen many fine bowling performances, including the two consecutive seven wicket innings hauls by Suresh Nabaratnam in 2004 and 2005, Arul Suppiah's hat-trick in 1999, and Mahesh Mehta's 8-8 for Singapore in 1979. But the best bowling in the history of the fixture came in 1983 when K Saker (first name not known) took all ten for Malaysia.
In his previous matches for Malaysia, Saker had not bowled brilliantly, taking five wickets in the 1982 match and none in the 1979 match, and taking just five wickets at 40.40 in his six ICC Trophy matches. But on the first day of this match he was unstoppable, taking all ten wickets for just 25 runs as Singapore were bowled out for 80. Saker went wicketless in the second innings, leaving most of the wicket-taking to Asgari Stevens (6-15) as Malaysia won the match by 10 wickets.
9-74 and 4-52
UAE v Nepal at Sharjah, 25th-27th March 2004
This match was part of a new era for associates cricket, as the top associates got the chance to play regular three-day, first-class cricket against each other for the first time in an organised tournament. The Intercontinental Cup, the brainchild of Bob Woolmer, has since become essentially the second division of Test cricket. The first match was played at Sharjah between the UAE and Nepal.
The UAE first innings saw the first century in the tournament as Arshad Ali scored 143, and the first five-wicket haul from Binod Das. But they were outshined by Ali Asad's bowling performance in the first UAE innings. Bowling 27 of the 76 overs, Asad took a remarkable 9-74. He added four more wickets in the second innings, but the match finished in a draw. His first innings figures remain the best in the tournament's short history, though they were nearly beaten later in the year by …
8-61 and 9-76 for Canada v USA
Brian Piccolo Park, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 28th-30th May 2004
Encounters between the Canadian and USA cricket teams have a long history. Indeed, USA v Canada at cricket was the world's first international sporting match way back in 1844. This match was the first time the teams met in a match given first-class status, and John Davison gave us a performance befitting the occasion.
The match didn't start too well for Davison. The heat in Florida got to him, and he had to retire in the Canadian first innings after vomiting on the pitch. He came back and went on to score 84 as Canada scored 221. USA bowler Nasir Javed had already shown that the pitch was taking spin early by taking 5-78, but Davison exceeded that when the Canadians bowled. On a rapidly deteriorating wicket, Davison was almost unplayable, taking 8-61 as the USA were bowled out for 136. Canada were then bowled out for 145, giving the Americans a target of 231.
If he was almost unplayable in the first innings, Davison was completely unplayable in the second. Taking the new ball, he destroyed the American batting line-up with 9-76, leaving him with 17 wickets for the match, the best first-class match bowling figures since Jim Laker's 19 wickets against Australia. The 17th wicket was also Davison's 100th in first-class cricket.
6-1 for Maldives v Brunei
Polo Club Ground, Bangkok, 4th February 2005
In the ACC Emerging Nations tournament in 2003, the Maldives were on the receiving end of a fine bowling performance when Nepal's Mehaboob Alam took 8-23 against them. But in 2005, they dished out their own fine bowling performance from Ahmed Neesham against Brunei.
After the Maldives had racked up a huge total of 486-5 from their 50 overs, built around Moosa Kaleem's 217, Neesham was pretty much unplayable. He bowled five and a half overs, taking six wickets along the way, but most remarkably, the first five of those overs were all maidens, only conceding a run in his sixth, leading his tean to a huge 443 run victory.
7-3 for Nepal v Myanmar
Kelab Aman, Kuala Lumpur, 20 August 2006
The 2006 ACC Trophy had more than its fair share of mismatches, but chief amongst them was Nepal's mauling of newcomers Myanmar on the final day of the group stages. Myanmar were thrashed in their previous three games, losing to Kuwait and Bhutan by nine wickets and to Hong Kong by 422 runs.
And things were no different for them against Nepal. Mehaboob Alam sliced through their batting order, taking seven wickets for just three runs. Binod Das took the other three wickets as Myanmar were bowled out for just ten, half that total coming in extras. Nepal knocked off the runs in five deliveries, three of which were wides.