New Delhi: Ryan McLaren returned the second best figures in the history of Twenty20 International cricket and the best by a South African to bowl the Proteas’ Standard Bank Pro20 squad to a 13-run victory over the West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Wednesday.
This was the first of two Twenty20 Internationals with the second match scheduled to be played at the same venue on Thursday.
There had previously been only three five-wicket hauls in this format of international cricket and only Pakistan’s Umar Gul (5/6 against New Zealand at last year’s ICC World Twenty20 in England) has managed a better return than McLaren’s 5/19.
It was a significant performance by the Chevrolet Knights’ all-rounder who was not part of the Proteas’ squad for the recent ICC World Twenty20 and did not make the squad either for the recent ODI series in India.
However, he has now laid down his marker in no uncertain fashion. What was truly remarkable about his performance was that he had had no outdoors cricket since the Mumbai Indians’ semi-final in the Indian Premier League and has since then had only two indoors sessions in Bloemfontein and one outdoors practice in the Caribbean to prepare himself for action.
His five victims included the key wickets of Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard as the Proteas managed to defend a modest total of 136/7 on an admittedly difficult and unpredictable surface.