3 Highest Impact T20 International Bowling performances (Tournament Context):
These performances are high impact for the timing of the performances – they all came in a knock-out game with the bowler’s team going on to win the tournament – in other words, these are all tournament-defining performances in varying degrees (some semis, some finals).
1) IK Pathan, 3-16 in 4 overs v Pakistan in Johannesburg (neutral venue), 2007 – Bowling IMPACT 6.12
The most significant T20 match in Indian history, and perhaps cricket history, as it led to the advent of the IPL. Pathan’s outstanding bowling in the middle overs won him the Man-of-the Match award – he strangled run-scoring and took wickets, including two in quick succession to send Pakistan in a tizzy during a crucial phase (Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi in a space of 1 run at 76-4). Later, he took another one with the last ball of his spell, as Pakistan looked out of it (104-7 at that stage). The comeback they made thereafter (off Harbhajan and Sreesanth) was further accentuated by Irfan Pathan’s absence from the bowling line-up thereafter.
2) S Sreesanth, 2-12 in 4 overs v Australia in Durban, 2007 – Bowling IMPACT 5.55
In the 2007 semi-final match rightly famous for Yuvraj Singh’s majestic 70 off 30 balls, no one perhaps remembers the impact Sreesanth’s bowling made. In a match where the average run-rate was 9 runs an over, Sreesanth averaged 3 an over. He also took the first two wickets to fall in the Australian innings (Gilchrist and Hayden, the second at a crucial juncture) and set up the match for India on the field.
3) Shahid Afridi, 2-16 in 4 overs v South Africa in Nottingham, 2009 – Bowling IMPACT 4.50
In the first semi-final of the 2009 World Cup, which Pakistan went on to win, South Africa were 40-1 when Afridi came on to bowl in the 7th over. He bowled out his 4 overs non-stop, and at the end of the 13th over, South Africa were 73-3, with Afridi having accounted for Gibbs and de Villiers, and completely strangled the batsmen. It would prove to be a match-winning effort with just the ball. If you combine this what he did with the bat earlier (51 off 34 balls – actually higher impact than even what he did with his bowling) – this would have to be have to be one of the highest impact performances in T20 cricket ever.