Few achievements are as satisfying for a bowler as a hat-trick. Nailing that perfect trifecta is one of the most challenging feats for a bowler to pull off and requires a very high level of consistent accuracy over a brief spell.
Those that do manage it are gifted with permanent residence in the annals of cricket lore, with their achievements often popping up in discussions amongst enthusiasts for decades.
However, there is an even more special place reserved for those who have managed to do it during cricket’s most prestigious tournament – the ICC Cricket World Cup.
With that in mind, and it being the anniversary of one such amazing display by Saqlain Mushtaq, we look back on five of the most memorable hat-tricks pulled off during the World Cup.
Saqlain Mushtaq (1999)
In a group game against Zimbabwe during the 1999 World Cup, Saqlain Mushtaq cleaned up the tail end of his opposition’s batting order with a nifty hat-trick. While it may be argued that his victims -- Henry Olonga, Adam Huckle, and Pommie Mbangwa -- weren’t the most stellar batsmen of the competition, it didn’t detract from his achievement.
Mushtaq’s first two wickets were assisted by Moin Khan at the stumps, while the third was a leg-before-wicket (LBW). This was only the second hat-trick in World Cup history after India’s Chetan Sharma pioneered it in the 1987 edition.
Brett Lee (2003)
One of the most fearsome bowlers in the game, Brett Lee’s guile and accuracy was everything needed of a pacer worth his salt. One of the occasions that this was most apparent was in a super-six game against Kenya during the 2003 World Cup in Durban, where he shattered their top-order line-up of Kennedy Otieno, Brijal Patel and David Obuya on the fourth over. While Otieno and Obuya were clean-bowled by Lee, Patel was caught by Ponting.
Four years later, Lee would go on to take another hat-trick, this time against Bangladesh in a World T20 match, making him the first bowler ever to achieve the feat in both One-day International and T20I formats.
JP Duminy (March 2015)
During the quarter-finals of the 2015 World Cup, South Africa’s JP Duminy became the first bowler from his nation to take a hat-trick at the event after he tore through the Sri Lankan middle-order.
The part-time off-spinner scalped Angelo Matthews, Nuwan Kulasekara and Tharindu Kaushal across two overs, sending the Lankans plummeting to 127/9 before an unexpected downpour ended play.
Mohammed Shami (2019)
At 213/7 in the final over with three balls to go, Afghanistan were tantalisingly close to chasing down the winning target of 225 against India. However, Mohammed Shami burst their bubble with a devastating hat-trick that wiped out their tail-end.
He started off with Mohammad Nabi, who was caught by Hardik Pandya. Nabi was India’s main threat at that point in the match, having consistently racked up 52 off 55. His dismissal sounded the death knell for Afghan hopes, as Shami made quick work of Aftab Alam and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, bowling both men for a duck.
Trent Boult (2019)
Trent Boult became the most-recent bowler to take a World Cup hat-trick, and second to do so after Shami in the 2019 edition of the tournament. Although his side could not secure victory in the group-stage match against Australia, his hat-trick was certainly one to remember.
Coming in the final over of Australia’s innings, Boult’s first victim was No. 3 batsman Usman Khawaja, bowled out just 12 runs short of a century. He followed that up by sending Mitchell Starc (bowled) and Jason Behrendorff (LBW) back to the pavilion for a duck.
Feature image courtesy: AFP