A hole-in-one in golf. A 147 break in snooker. A nine-dart leg in darts.
Some sports have their moments of perfection; be it rare or more common, it’s the pinnacle of what can be achieved.
For a bowler in cricket, taking all ten wickets in an innings is perhaps as close to perfection as it gets. That said, taking six wickets in an over is pretty darn special too.
So step forward Gareth Morgan, not a household name around the world in cricket but one that has gained international acclaim after taking six wickets in an over for his local team in Australia, Mudgeeraba.
What makes the feat all the more impressive is that it was the final over of the game, with opponents Surfers Paradise only needing five runs to win the contest.
So Morgan set to work, having the first four batters of his over caught around the ground. With expectation reaching fever pitch, he clean bowled the next.
One ball left in the over. A wicket needed for a slice of unique cricketing history. A six needed for Surfers Paradise to win the game.
You can already guess what happened next. Morgan bowled the final batter to send his young teammates into delirium – never before, or likely ever again, will they see a slice of cricketing perfection like that.
“It’s funny, the umpire said to me at the start of the over that I needed to take a hat-trick or something to win the game,” he said.
“When it happened, he just sort of looked at me.”
Has any bowler ever replicated Morgan’s feat in the professional ranks?
Five of the Best
Despite there now having been more than a century of professional cricket played, nobody can match Morgan for that perfect six wickets in an over.
The best effort is five, which was achieved by New Zealand international Neil Wagner in a game for his club side Otago against Wellington back in 2011.
Bangladesh ace Al-Amin Hossain became the first player to take five wickets in a T20 game back in 2013, before Abhimanyu Mithun replicated the feat while representing Indian state team Karnataka in 2019 – all five of his victims were caught.
None of the trio, however, took all five wickets with consecutive balls….
What is the Most Wickets Taken in an Over of International Cricket?
At the time of writing, the most wickets a bowler has taken in an over of international cricket is four.
International Bowlers with Four Wickets in an Over
|2023||Mohammed Siraj||India||Sri Lanka||ODI|
|2007||Lasith Malinga||Sri Lanka||South Africa||ODI|
|2001||Andy Caddick||England||West Indies||Test|
|1990||Wasim Akram||Pakistan||West Indies||Test|
|1965||Fred Titmus||England||New Zealand||Test|
|1947||Ken Cranston||England||South Africa||Test|
|1929||Maurice Allom||England||New Zealand||Test|
In test cricket, five of the six triumphant bowlers have been English – Maurice Allom (1929 against New Zealand), Ken Cranston (1947 against South Africa) and Fred Titmus (1965 against New Zealand) the first to achieve the feat.
Chris Old did likewise against Pakistan in 1978 before Andy Caddick terrorised the West Indies batsmen in 2001. The other bowler to nab four wickets in an over in tests was the great Wasim Akram, who ran riot against the West Indies in 1990.
In limited overs cricket, Sri Lankan legend Lasith Malinga took four in four balls against South Africa in 2007, before the shot was on the other foot in the 2023 Asia Cup final when Mohammed Siraj demolished Sri Lanka with four wickets in a single over.
What is the Most Wickets Taken in Consecutive Balls?
There are reports of bowlers taking five wickets or more with consecutive deliveries – albeit in village or lower-grade cricket.
In fact, the record for most wickets consecutively is a staggering nine in nine balls – according to Cricinfo, a Mr P. Hugo first accomplished that in the 1930/31 season for Smithfield in South Africa, before a Stephen Fleming (not the former New Zealand captain) did likewise representing Marlborough College in 1967/68.
As far as first-class cricket is concerned, the most wickets taken with consecutive balls bowled is four, with a number of recognisable names achieving the feat.
At international level, Malinga takes the top accolade – he’s actually taken four in four twice. The first time he did it was against South Africa at the 2007 World Cup; the outstanding Jacques Kallis amongst his victims, before doing the same some 12 years later when demolishing New Zealand’s middle-order in a T20 international.
Also in 2019, Rashid Khan beguiled the Irish batsman with his expert spin bowling to rack up four wickets in as many balls, before an Irishman would be celebrating the same achievement two years later when Curtis Campher took a quad of victims in a game against the Netherlands.
The last member of the club is the West Indian, Jason Holder. He dismissed four Englishman – Sam Billings, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid and Saqib Mahmood – in as many balls in a T20 game in the Caribbean back in 2022.