10Ashish Nehra’s 6 for 59
Little has been written about Nehra’s 18 years in Indian cricket, but his contribution remains one of utmost importance. He and Zahir Khan popped many a great batsman on the popping crease with their left arm swing bowling and gave India valuable breakthroughs in crucial games.
Indian Oil Cup 2005 was one such occasion where Nehra delivered the goodies in the final against Sri Lanka. After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Sri Lanka got into a steady start with Atapattu and Jayasuriya till Nehra started warming up. In the 6th over Nehra scalped Atapattu with a magical in-swinger and in the 8th over sent the pinch hitter Dilhara back to the hut. He then took the all important wicket of Sangakkara in the 14th over and finished his first spell in great style. After a 67 from Jayasuriya and a partnership of 125 between Jayawardene and Arnold for the 5th wicket, Sri Lanka recovered a collapse and were looking at a score beyond 325. Nehra was called in to do the honours again and he delivered as expected breaking the partnership and sending Jayawardene on his way back. Then he bowled Dilshan out and dismissed Chandana to clean up the tail. With a little cameo of 18 from Vaas, Sri Lanka managed to reach a competitive total of 281. With 3 wickets each in his two spells, Nehra made history and recorded his second best bowling performance in ODIs.Even though Sri Lanka won by a narrow margin of 18 runs after a closely fought battle, Nehra’s 6 for 59 gave India and honourable defeat.