On September 24th, Pakistan’s pace bowler Umar Gul announced that he will retire from all forms of cricket after the conclusion of the upcoming National T20 Cup. Umar Gul has performed for Pakistan whenever he was needed. He was the no.1 T20I rank bowler and currently holds the record for the highest rating point in T20I bowling rankings with 857 rating points.
Let’s look back at some of Umar Gul’s finest performances in international cricket.
1. 5-6 against New Zealand, The Oval, Group stage, ICC World T20 2009
One of Umar Gul’s top performances in cricket came against New Zealand. Pakistan needed a win in order to stay alive in the tournament and to reach the semi-final. Gul came with a magnificent performance. By the end of New Zealand’s innings, his figures read 5-6 in three overs. He became the first bowler in Twent20 International to take a five-wicket haul. His bowling performance bowled out New Zealand for 99 and Pakistan comfortability chased the target down with six wickets to spare.
By the end of the tournament, Pakistan were the winners and Umar Gul was the leading wicket-taker with 13 wickets.
2. 5-6 against South Africa, Centurion, 2nd T20I, Pakistan tour of South Africa 2013
Pakistan was coming off from a difficult Test series, where they were whitewashed by the Proteas. Came the T20I series. The first T20I was washed out. Pakistan batted first in the second T20I match and powered their way to 195-7 with the then T20I captain Mohammad Hafeez top-scored with his personal best of 86.
Umar Gul then works his magic in the batting innings of South Africa. His figures? 5-6 in 2.2 overs. He unsettled the top order batsmen as he sends three of them for a duck. Pakistan eventually won by 95 runs with Hafeez rewarded as the player of the match, but Gul’s performances were noted as the T20 bowling performance of 2013.
3. 4-8 against Australia, Dubai, Only T20I, Pakistan vs Australia in UAE 2009
Before the 2009 World T20 began, Australia played a five ODI matches and a lone T20I match against Pakistan. Australia won the ODI series 3-2, but Pakistan had a laugh in the shortest format. Bowling first, it was Gul and Shahid Afridi show. Gul picked up 4-8 while Afridi 3-14. Though Gul’s wickets came of late, Afridi unsettled the top order which we was awarded the player of the match. However, that 4-8 by Gul did not went unnoticed by the experts.
4. 3-15 against New Zealand, Cape Town, Semi-Final, ICC World T20 2007
It was the semi final of the inaugural edition of the ICC World T20 2007 and Pakistan were up against a very good New Zealand side. The kiwis started off very well and were looking at the score of 160 and over. But the arrival of Umar Gul halt New Zealand’s strong start. He picked up 3-15 in his spell which restricted New Zealand to 143-8. Pakistan chased the target down with six wickets and seven balls to spare to meet India in the final.
5. 1-19 & 32 against South Africa, Colombo, Group Stage, ICC World T20 2012
It was a low score thriller and Umar Gul picked 1-19 in his two overs and he was the most expensive bowler that match. However, chasing South Africa’s 133, Umar Gul came to bat when Pakistan were limping at 76-7. What followed was a performance to remember. Gul smashed two 4s and three 6s on his way to 17 ball 32, making an important partnership with Umar Akmal. Pakistan won the match with two wickets and two balls to spare. Gul was adjusted as the player of the match.
6. 6-42 against England, The Oval, 3rd ODI, Pakistan tour of England 2010
Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt were caught at spot-fixing which brought the atmosphere in Pakistan camp dull. They had lost the Test series 3-1 and the T20I series 2-0. Pakistan were already two down in the first two ODIs and one more would have resulted in England series all three formats.
But Umar Gul had other plans against England. Chasing Pakistan’s 241 to seal the series, England were off to a trouble start. Captain Andrew Strauss scored a fine half century while the other batsmen didn’t do much around him. They were 103-5 when both Strauss and Eoin Morgan put a stand that threaten to take the match away from Pakistan. Gul had already taken two wickets and he broke the vital stand that saw a dramatic collapse. He picked four more wickets to bowled England out for 218. Gul ended with 6-42.
Few days later, he picked up 4-32 in Pakistan’s 38 runs victory at Lord’s to level the series 2-2.
7. 3-30 against Australia, Colombo, Group Stage, ICC Cricket World Cup 2011
Pakistan had a strong start to their campaign. They had only one loss against New Zealand. They had qualified for Quarter-finals. But to top the group, they were up against a strong Australian line-up, who had not lost a single World Cup match in the last 34 matches.
Australia were bowled out for 176. Umar Gul picked 3-30. One top order wicket and two tail enders. But the way he bowled in that match put pressured on Australia as the bowlers at the other end picked up wickets. His performance went a little unnoticed, but he played a key role in winning the match.
8. 4-57 against India, Dhaka, Final, Kitply cup 2008
It was the final of the Kitply Cup tri-series. Pakistan and India faced off in the final. But Pakistan powered their way to 315-3 with centuries from Salman Butt (129) and Younis Khan (108).
The Indian line-up start off with a struggle. They were 106-4. Gul had taken two of those. One vital wicket of Gautam Gambhir and the other of young and promising Rohit Sharma. Pakistan had fought their way in the match and picked wickets once the partnership was broken. Gul picked two of the last three wickets and returned the figures of 4-57. His bowling at the start and at the end help Pakistan clinch the Kitply Cup by 25 runs.
9. 5-65 & 4-99 against West Indies, Lahore, 1st Test, West Indies tour of Pakistan 2006
It was perhaps Gul’s finest Test series. The first test in particular, he picked up 9-164 in the match in Pakistan’s cruise to nine wickets victory.
Pakistan first bowled out West Indies for 206 with Gul taking 5-65 especially the key wicket of Brian Lara, who top-scored for West Indies with 61 in the first innings. Pakistan then put on 485, taking a massive lead of 279. West Indies did overtake Pakistan’s lead as they scored 291. Gul once again picked with wickets, with 4-99 this time. West Indies set Pakistan a target of 13, which Pakistan knocked off with nine wickets to spare.
Overall, Pakistan won the three match Test series 2-0 with Gul the leading wicket-taker of the series with 16 wickets.
10. 5-31 & 1-65 against India, Lahore, 2nd Test, India tour of Pakistan 2004
India toured Pakistan for three Test series in 2004. Pakistan had lost the first Test and were looking to make a comeback. In the second Test match, India batted first. They quickly found themselves at 147-7 with Umar Gul taking five of the. They ended up with 287 thanks to Yuvraj Singh’s 112. He was Pakistan’s best bowler in first innings. In reply, Pakistan ended with 489 with centuries from Inzimam ul-Haq and Imran Farhat. They took a lead of 202. India managed only 241 in their second innings as Gul picked one wicket that off VVS Laxman. Pakistan were asked to chased down 40 to win, which they did with nine wickets to spare. Umar Gul was rewarded the player of the match for his first innings spell.
These were the top ten performance of Umar Gul. They may be more. We thank Umar Gul for your services for the Pakistan Cricket Board especially your contribution in winning the World T20 2009.
Best of luck for the future!
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