Wicket-taking is an understated skill in a format where controlling the rate of scoring is more important than ever. T20 internationals have evolved much slower than franchise leagues, yet we have witnessed some mind-blowing bowling spells in T20Is.
We reminisce five of the best.
Deepak Chahar - 6 for 7 vs Bangladesh - 2019
Deepak Chahar left Bangladesh reeling at Nagpur in the final T20I of the three-match series between them and India in 2019. Chahar picked up the wickets of Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar off successive balls in the third over.
He then returned in the death overs to pick up a hat-trick and complete a six-fer, the second such haul by an Indian in this format. The miserly Chahar gave just seven runs in his 3.2 overs.
Ajantha Mendis - 6 for 8 vs Zimbabwe - 2012
Ajantha Mendis is fondly remembered for his mystery spin bowling. The Lankan spinner has wreaked havoc on several opponents in his prime and in 2012, he bettered his own record to finish with the best spell ever in T20Is.
Mendis had Zimbabwe reeling after coming in as the first-change bowler. He bowled two maidens and picked up six wickets in four overs whilst conceding just eight runs. Mendis' incredible spell saw Zimbabwe bowled out for a meagre 100 chasing 183.
Ajantha Mendis - 6 for 16 vs Australia - 2011
A year before the demolition of Zimbabwe, Mendis had set the record for the best spell in T20Is when he demolished Australia at Pallekele in a spell where he picked up six wickets for just 16 runs. A destructive opening stand of 71 in 5.1 overs by Shane Watson and David Warner was broken by Mendis as he picked up the wicket of Watson (24-ball 57).
Mendis went on to dismiss Warner and Shaun Marsh in his next over. He came back in the death to seal the game by picking up two wickets apiece in the 16th and 18th over respectively.
Yuzvendra Chahal - 6 for 25 vs England - 2017
Yuzvendra Chahal snared the first six-wicket haul by an Indian in T20Is when he bamboozled England's batsmen at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, also his home ground in the IPL, while the visitors were chasing 203 for a win.
Chahal opened the attack alongside Ashish Nehra and picked up the wicket of Sam Billings in his first over. He came back after the powerplay and broke a crucial stand between Joe Root and Eoin Morgan by dismissing the two off successive balls. Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes and Chris Jordan were snared in his next as Chahal sealed the game with a haul of 6 for 25.
Rangana Herath - 5 for 3 vs New Zealand - 2014
In the T20 World Cup group stage game at Chattogram in 2014, Rangana Herath had New Zealand batsmen in a tangle with an outrageous spell of five for three. Chasing a paltry 120 to win on a slow deck, New Zealand had no answers to Herath's mind-blowing spell.
Three Kiwi batsmen - Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor and James Neesham - were dismissed for a duck inside the powerplays as Herath picked up three wickets. He finished his haul with the scalps of Luke Ronchi and Trent Boult to close the game for Sri Lanka. New Zealand were bowled out for just 60 with Kane Williamson (42) the only man to make double digits.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Punit Paranjpe