Although I’m a week late I couldn’t let the opportunity to blog about the remarkable achievement of spin bowler Arul Suppiah pass after he took six wickets for just five runs in Somerset’s Friends Life t20 victory over a startled Glamorgan in Cardiff.
As BBC Wales’ cricket correspondent Edward Bevan admits, the pitch turned far too much for a Twenty20 game, but as bowling figures go, these are going to be difficult – nigh on impossible – to beat. The previous best was 6-14 recorded by Sohail Tanvir in a match for Rajasthan against Chennai three years ago. It will have to take an extraordinary effort in extraordinary circumstances to even come close to break this particular record.
Suppiah, a slow left arm spin bowler who moved over toEngland from Kuala Lumpur when he was 13 years old, had never previously taken more than four wickets in a single innings for Somerset. His best Twenty20 figures before his astonishing performance last week was 3-22, recorded against Surrey a fortnight ago.
Let us not fool ourselves, however, that this was possibly the most spin-friendly wicket of the season. I’ve seen some unplayable spells over the years from seasoned bowlers on favourable pitches at international level – Umar Gul’s 5-6 in 2009’s ICC World Twenty20 competition was an outstanding effort and offers nice symmetry to Suppiah’s magical 3.4-over spell, but taking six wickets in the t20 format is something special simply because a bowler has a maximum of only 24 deliveries in each match to set up and trap their victims.
Suppiah, it has to be said, is a relative unknown on the county circuit. He’s hardly the most revered spin bowler and was clearly regarded as a back-up spinner by Somerset since he was only tossed the ball after five other teammates had had a bowl before him. What he achieved must have surprised even himself.
It won’t astonish you to learn that the six-wicket blitz changed the course of the game. Glamorgan were looking edgy at 72-4 before Suppiah’s slow left arm spin rattled through the rest of the order as the Welsh side slumped to 98 all out – their second lowest score in the tournament’s history. Somerset chased down the required 99 runs for the loss of five wickets with 18 balls to spare to win the match and keep them on course to make the last eight of the competition.