Ultimately, cricket is a simple game to grasp. A bowler should deliver six legal deliveries in one over, and the team should then bowl as many overs are required, depending on the game’s structure.
If the opposition side is batting in the next innings, they must score as many runs as they can within these overs or chase their opponent’s score in the same number of balls. Isn’t it simple?
Now and again, we see a magnificent event on a cricket pitch. It might be a spectacular catch, a fantastic run-out, or a stunning stroke. We get some spectacular overs when bowlers effectively execute strategies against individual batters to perfection.
Greatest Overs Ever Bowled in Cricket History
There have been overs and periods throughout history that have already been known to alter the outcome of a match.
On the other hand, setting up a batter is really no ordinary skill. It takes a great deal of practice, perseverance, and professionalism on the bowler’s behalf.
On that point, now let us take a look at the most extraordinary overs ever bowled in cricket history, throughout all formats.
England vs Michael Holding (Barbados, 1981)
Michael Holding’s innings against Geoffrey Boycott in the 1981 Barbados Test was named the “Over of the Century” by many commentators, but it still sends shivers down the spine.
On the final delivery of the over, Holding had boycott attacked soundly, edged once, and ultimately pulled out the stumps.
Holding’s method of operation was ruthless and very precise. He looked to get more pace and bounce off the surface with each passing ball, and he seemed to bowl faster.
A few body punches put the boycott on the back foot before a quicker one sent his stumps cartwheeling.
South Africa vs Shoaib Akhtar (March 2000)
In 1999-2000, Pakistan’s Shoaib Akhtar delivered one of the best overs in cricket history during the triangular series.
South Africa got off to a terrific start, targeting a modest goal of 169 runs, with opener Herschelle Gibbs hitting strokes all over the ground. When Akhtar returned to the attack, the total had risen to 74 for one.
Akhtar increased the tempo in the second period by having Mark Boucher steal one behind Moin Khan’s opponent. However, Dale Benkenstein was bowled three balls later, and Lance Klusener was bowled off the final ball.
The Proteas lost the match by 67 runs, with Gibbs scoring an undefeated 59.
Australia vs Wasim Akram (2002)
Wasim Akram produced one of the worst opening overs in cricket history in Melbourne’s second innings of the 2002 bilateral series between Australia and Pakistan. The left-arm dismissed Adam Gilchrist with the opening ball of the match and Ricky Ponting to put the Australians on the back foot.
The severe swing was evident from the game’s first pitch, as the Australian top-order struggled to cope with the movement. Before seizing a straightforward caught and bowled opportunity presented by Ponting off the third delivery, Akram bowled with velocity and bounced the ball enough to get Gilchrist’s edge.
After losing the first ODI by seven wickets, Australia was knocked out for 167 before Pakistan pulled off a nail-biting two-wicket triumph to restore parity.
Australia vs Andrew Flintoff (The Ashes, 2005)
Ricky Ponting described Andrew Flintoff’s period in the 2005 Ashes series as the most ferocious he has ever experienced in his career. Flintoff’s performances with the bowl, bat, and field in that series were critical in England’s 2-1 Ashes victory.
Flintoff came on to deliver the 13th over in the second innings of the test series at Edgbaston, with the viewers’ scorecard showing 47 without loss. However, Flintoff was prevented by Justin Langer after completing a hat-trick earlier in the game after claiming the final two Australian wickets in as many deliveries in the first innings.
On the other hand, Flintoff pushed Langer to play away from the body on the following delivery, forcing the left-hander to hit on to his stumps. One of Ricky Ponting’s toughest tests was facing a pressurised Flintoff. And so it turned out.
After escaping two near LBW calls, the right-hander pushed one to the slips that did not carry. Ponting decided to leave the following ball alone, assuming he had withstood Flintoff’s testing. However, umpire Billy Bowden declared a no-ball, allowing Ponting to face another delivery from the huge all-rounder.
Flintoff accelerated the tempo with each delivery, luring Ponting to attack, only for the Australian skipper to nick one to the wicket-keeper.
Pakistan vs Irfan Pathan (Karachi, 2006)
Irfan Pathan was unstoppable during the height of his career. Pathan was nearly tough to control and score runs against because of his inswinging offerings against right-handers combined with his ferocious speed.
It occurred in the first over of the third match of India’s 2006 visit of Pakistan in Karachi. Pathan began the game by bowling to Salman Butt in gloomy weather. Then, the left arm discovered movement in the air and off the ground.
The left-hander left the successive two balls alone after defending the first. After that, Pathan’s confidence in the distances he could bowl on the surface grew. However, what happened next was most likely not what the left-arm had envisioned.
Butt hit a defensive shot off the fourth ball of the over, nicking one to the slips. With zero runs on the board, Pakistan was one down.
Captain Younis Khan made his way to the crease. First up, the right-hander got a snort of delivery. Then, khan was caught in front of a solid one that swung late and stretched as he played the wrong line. As a result, the visitors were down two runs with zero runs on the board.
It was just going to get worse. Pathan delivered a similar delivery to Mohammad Yousuf, another right-hander, on his way to becoming only the second Indian to own a Test hat-trick. The left-late arm bowler’s inswing shattered the stumps and broke Yousuf’s defences. Pathan joined Harbhajan Singh as the one and only Indian player to score a hat-trick in a Test match.
It was also the first time a hat-trick was scored in the opening over of a Test match.
Worst Longest Overs in Cricket History
However, the phrase ‘legal’ is utilised more often than you’d think in the preceding description; bowlers go on an inexplicable run of unlawful deliveries or extras, forcing them to bowl additional balls unless six ‘legal’ balls have been delivered in an over.
The following are the most extended overs in cricket history:
22 Balls By Bert Vance
Bert Vance of New Zealand bowled an insane over of 22 balls during a local cricket tournament, officially recognised as one of the worst over ever bowled in the game’s history.
During the 1989-90 season, he represented Wellington in the Final Shell Trophy against Canterbury. Vance’s over was the longest in cricket history, yielding a staggering 77 runs.
17 Balls By Mohammad Sami
Mohammad Sami, Pakistan’s bowling attack head, was feared as one of the world’s quickest bowlers during his heyday. But, on the other hand, Sami created a reputation for himself in 2004, although for the opposite reason.
Sami began bowling against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup. After bowling a magnificent maiden over, he produced a crazy 17-ball over that included four no-balls and seven wides for 22 runs in total.
15 Balls By Curtly Ambrose
Curtly Ambrose, the renowned bowler of the West Indies, has a record that he’d never be proud of or brag about.
Ambrose bowled a maximum of 15 deliveries in just one over during a Test match against Australia in Perth in 1997. It was the second-longest over in international Test cricket. The bowler provided six more no-balls during the next over after allowing as many as nine no-balls in the previous over.
14 Balls By Daryl Tuffey
The duty of starting the bowling for a side is assigned to some of the most experienced and reliable bowlers, particularly during limited-overs cricket, where the necessity to score runs quickly keeps the batsmen on their toes, aiming to smash huge shots as many times as possible.
Nobody expected Daryl Tuffey of New Zealand to recall how to bowl when he was entrusted to bring the new ball against Australia in a 2005 ODI.
Tuffey ended up pitching one of the worst opening overs in international cricket, having to give 14 balls in one go.
14 Balls By Scott Boswell
Leicestershire faced Somerset in the C&G Cup Finals at Lord’s Stadium in London, where medium-fast bowler Scott Boswell, who’d been reputedly Leicestershire’s greatest bowler, a game before, delivered 14 deliveries in an over during the semifinal.
The bad bowler’s out-of-form had such a negative impact on his career as a professional cricketer that it effectively ended it. He later acknowledged that it took him nearly ten years to forget the horrible experience.
Interesting right? We hope you have got the most information about cricket history’s daring and challenging overs.
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