‘We could not even sight the ball’ – Sohaib Maqsood revisits Wahab Riaz’s iconic World Cup 2015 spell to Shane Watson
Riaz produced one of the most hostile spells of fast bowling against Shane Watson during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
Updated - May 26, 2021 5:31 pm
Pakistan speedster Wahab Riaz always made the ball talk rather than resorting to sledging and verbal abuse. The left-arm pacer was threatening with his line and length and often troubled the batters with his pace and bounce. Over the years, Riaz has had many such duels with batters from various countries and has managed to come on top a few occasions.
One such battle with Shane Watson had taken place during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 against Australia in a high-profile quarter-final match. Apparently, while batting Riaz was sledged by Mitchell Starc and was mocked by a few of the Australian players including Watson, who was fielding at slip. Riaz didn’t take the sledge lightly and wanted to seek revenge when he came out to bowl.
Chasing 213, Australia were under struggling at 59 for three when Watson had come into the middle. He was soon treated to one of the most hostile spells of fast bowling by Riaz who kept bowling bouncers in and around the batters head. Sohaib Maqsood, who had the best view while fielding at short leg, was simply stunned by the pacer’s brilliant bowling.
Sohaib Maqsood revisits Wahab Riaz’s iconic spell to Shane Watson
“During that Wahab’s spell, we were confident that we would win that game but the way Smith was playing at the other end, he was lowering our morale,” Sohaib Maqsood said, as reported in Cricwick.
Watson, who is known to be a good hooker and puller of the ball, found the going very tough against Riaz. The left-arm pacer would have had his man, had Rahat Ali not dropped a sitter at deep fine leg. “I was fielding at short leg, trust me Wahab was bowling so quick that you couldn’t sight it after it pitched. You just couldn’t see it; it was so quick,” added Maqsood.h
At the other end, Watson had Steven Smith for the company who looked in supreme touch and was not bothered about Riaz’s fiery spell.
“When Smith used to come on strike after a single, it seemed that Wahab was bowling 125 clicks. I don’t know either Wahab wasn’t going hard at Smith or Smith had a lot of time to play. I didn’t understand that.”
Pakistan eventfully lost the match and Australia went on to beat New Zealand in the finals to bag their fifth World Cup.