March 4, 2022. Cricket lost one of its greatest stalwarts in the form of Shane Warne. Warne, a genius leg-spinner, was a sportsman one of a kind. An exhilarating player on the field never did the Melbourne maestro fail to hog the limelight with the ball in hand. When the world currently mourns his untimely demise, let’s rewind to the times, when the legend was ruling the roost in cricket. Let’s look back to the Top 5 Best Bowling Spells by Shane Warne of all time.
#1. 8/71 vs England, Brisbane(Gabba), 1994
The arch-rivals were up against each other at Gabba for the Ashes opener. Warne was at his destructive picking up 11 wickets overall to demolish the strong English batting. His heroics with the ball denied the Englishmen a draw as his career-best figures of 8/71 steered the Aussies to colossal victory by 184 runs. In the 94-95 Ashes, Warne took 27 scalps including his sole hat-trick in the 2nd Test at the MCG. Warne’s best always came against England as this journey of sheer dominance began from Gabba 1994.
#2. 7/52 vs West Indies, Melbourne(MCG), 1992
Warne was playing his first Test at the iconic MCG. Incidentally, it was also his first Boxing Day Test. The young prodigy was making a comeback to the side after being dropped post the series against SL. Windies were chasing a mammoth score of 358 runs in the final innings. On a worn-out Day 5 track, Phil Simmons and Richie Richardson had stitched a century-run stand and pundits predicted the match to be drawn. But the Victorian lad had other plans. Warne spun a labyrinth of turn that left the Caribbean batters in an enigma. The West Indies batting collapsed as they lost 9 wickets for just 76 runs. Warne who was 4 Tests old, took his 1st 5-fer in first-class cricket. He ended with the match-winning figures of 23.2-8-52-7 and received the Man Of The Match award.
#3. 7/23 vs Pakistan, Brisbane(Gabba), 1995
Just a year after his stellar spell against England, Warne was back in Gabba facing Pakistan- a team full of batters who mastered the art of playing spin. But Warnie was a class apart. On a pitch that was a haven for seamers, the wizard thwarted the batting lineup, sending 7 batters back in the hut. Subsequently, he was also instrumental in restricting Pakistan for a paltry 2nd innings total of 240 and ended the match with 11 dismissals to his name.
#4. 4/46 vs West Indies, 1996 World Cup semi-final, Mohali
Windies were cruising to the finals as they chased a modest total of 208. Australia’s WC dreams were looking bleak. The stage was set for Warne and he did not disappoint. The Caribbean side fell like a pack of cards as Warne crushed the Windies with his plethora of variations. Moreover, his astounding figures of 4/46 earned him the Man Of the Match award in the semifinals.
#5. 4/21 vs Deccan Chargers, Nagpur, 2010
Warne made his presence felt even in the T20s. In the early days of the shortest format of the game, experts never felt that leg spinners will be effective for their team. But Warne had the old habit of proving the critics wrong. Not just as a player, IPL saw Warne in the boots of a skipper. He led a team that was described as young, inexperienced, and not in contention for the title. However, RR defeated all odds to clinch the inaugural edition of IPL.
Warne showed why he is noted as the best captain Australia never had. Despite quitting international cricket, the king of spin never got rusted. His best performance came against Deccan Chargers. In a contest, where both teams looked even, the captain bowled a fantastic spell of 4-21 to derail the Charger’s chase. No doubt, it was one of the best bowling spells by Shane Warne of all time in the twilight of his career. RR won the nail-biting thriller by only 2 runs and Warne was adjudged the Man Of The Match.
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