T20 cricket is really all about the batters, but a productive spell of bowling can always swing the game. Here are the best bowling figures in T20 international cricket.
Who has the Best Bowling Figures in T20s?
The best bowling figures in T20 international cricket are 6/5 which were delivered by Nigeria’s Peter Aho.
Playing against Sierra Leone in Lagos in 2021, Aho’s figures came from three overs and four balls and he delivered one maiden.
Top 5 Bowling Figures in T20 International Cricket
We’ve just looked at the name at the top. Peter Aho is the current holder of the best figures in T20is with that return of 6/5.
Nigeria batted first in this game and were all out for 90, but Aho’s spell saw Sierra Leone dismissed for just 71 as Nigeria won by 19 runs. We still await the first seven-wicket haul in T20is. That may yet happen, but would any bowler ever conceded fewer runs than Peter Aho in this match?
Two separate bowlers have returned figures of 6/7 in T20 international matches. The first instance came via Deepak Chahar whose return came for India against Bangladesh in 2019.
The game was played at Nagpur and Chahar’s figures from 3.2 overs saw Bangladesh all out for 144, leaving India as winners by 30 runs. His list of victims included the dangerous Soumya Sarkar who was caught by Shivam Dube off the first ball he faced.
The second player in international T20 cricket to return figures of 6/7 was Dinesh Nakrani of Uganda. The fact that he returned these figures from a full four overs is slightly more impressive, compared to Deepak Chahar, but we have to factor into account that he was playing weaker opposition in Lesotho.
The game was played in Kigali in October 2021, and it saw Lesotho bundled out for just 26 as Uganda won by ten wickets. This was the second lowest team score in the history of T20 international cricket and that still stands at the time of writing in December 2022.
Sri Lanka’s Ajantha Mendis is next up. Playing against Zimbabwe in Hambantota in 2021, he returned the exceptional figures of 6/8.
Those figures came from a full four overs which included two maidens. Sri Lanka had earlier posted a sizeable total of 182/4 and Mendis’ display saw Zimbabwe crash to 100 all out, to lose the game by 82 runs.
It’s also worth mentioning that Ajantha Mendis is, at the time of writing, the only bowler to have taken six wickets in a T20i innings on two separate occasions. Playing against Australia at Pallekele in 2011, he delivered the outstanding figures of 6/16 in an 8-run win.
Namibian left arm seamer JJ Smit completes this list. Playing against Uganda at Windhoek in 2022, he finished the game with a stunning return of 6/10 from four overs with one maiden.
Namibia batted first in this game and posted a total of 185/7. Smit took a wicket with the third ball of Uganda’s reply and his performance helped to ensure a 52-run victory for his team.
JJ Smit also took two catches in an incredible display in the field, and he was rightly named as the Player of the Match.
The figures listed here would have been remarkable in any form of cricket. The fact that they have been returned in T20 international matches makes them even more remarkable. It’s a batter’s game here with fielding restrictions, shorter boundaries and bigger bats for hitting those fours and sixes.
To take six wickets in just four overs or fewer is also impressive, but the economy rates make the numbers really stand out. I’d also suggest that it’s no coincidence that each of the bowler’s mentioned helped their respective teams to go on and win the match.
Not surprisingly, each bowler here was presented with the Player of the Match award where such accolades were handed out. They may have contributed with runs and catches, but the trophy was primarily given for their bowling figures.
Yes, it is a batter’s game, but these outstanding figures prove that bowlers still have a part to play in cricket’s shortest format.