A hat-trick in cricket can be a defining moment in a bowler’s career. Remembered forever and etched into the history books. In men’s ICC Cricket World Cup history there have been just 11 instances of a bowler achieving this feat. Here we take a brief look at each of those memorable occasions with our list of hat-tricks.
Chetan Sharma (1987 vs New Zealand, Nagpur)
The bowler to take the first hat-trick in men’s World Cup history was India’s Chetan Sharma, in what was the fourth edition of the competition back in 1987. Sharna bowled all three of his victims with three brutal consecutive deliveries, the only such instance of this happening in this list. His heroics restricted the Black Caps to 221 runs from their 50 overs, a total that India chased down in just 32 overs thanks to a century from Sunil Gavaskar.
Saqlain Mushtaq (1999 vs Zimbabwe, The Oval)
Neither the 1992 (39 games) nor the 1996 editions (37 games) of the Cricket World Cup saw any hat-tricks delivered. It wasn’t until 12 years later in 1999 that spinner Saqlain Mushtaq managed a treble, taking the wickets of Zimbabwe’s last three batsmen to secure a comfortable 148-run victory for Pakistan. As was the case with Sharma’s hat-trick performance, however, it was a batter who still picked up the player of the match award; on this occasion, Saeed Anwar’s century stole the limelight.
Chaminda Vaas (2003 vs Bangladesh, Pietermaritzburg)
The next hat-trick in this list is one of the most historic; Sri Lanka’s Chaminda Vaas became the first bowler to claim a hat-trick with the first three balls of a men’s ODI. Hannan Sarkar, Mohammad Ashraful and Ehsanul Haque were his victims and this time it was enough to pick up the player of the match award as Bangladesh were skittled for just 124, which Sri Lanka chased down without losing a wicket. Vaas went on to record figures of 6/25, the best by a Sri Lankan in a World Cup match.
Brett Lee (2003 vs Kenya, Durban)
It was just an 11-day wait for the next hat-trick to be added to the list. Brett Lee produced an unplayable spell to leave Kenya 3/3 after just four overs in Durban, while nudging the speedometer up towards the 100mph mark. Somewhat surprisingly, it was a Kenyan bowler who picked up the player of the match gong, though. Aasif Karim registered remarkable figures of 3/7 from 8.2 overs in what was ultimately nothing more than a brave effort in defeat.
Lasith Malinga (2007 vs South Africa, Guyana)
Lasith Malinga is the only bowler to register more than two men’s ODI hat-tricks, and two of his came in World Cup matches (also a record). The first of these came in 2007 against South Africa and actually saw him take a remarkable four wickets in four balls – the only time this has ever happened in a men’s ODI. This hat-trick was spread across two overs but incredibly it wasn’t enough to deny South Africa a famous victory. With just four runs needed with five wickets in hand, Malinga’s spell almost derailed the Proteas but an edge through the slips from Robin Peterson saw them home by one wicket.
Kemar Roach (2011 vs Netherlands, Delhi)
The first West Indian player to record a men’s CWC hat-trick was Kemar Roach in 2011. The speedster took the final three wickets of the Netherlands’ underwhelming chase, securing victory by 215 runs. His match figures of 6/27 are the second-best ever recorded by a West Indies bowler in a World Cup match, behind only Winston Davis’ 7/51 v Australia in 1983, when the matches were 60-overs apiece.
Lasith Malinga (2011 vs Kenya, Colombo)
The second of Malinga’s hat-tricks came just a day after Roach recorded his. Although it was slightly less dramatic than his first, it was similar in that the wickets were spread across two overs. This time he took the eighth, ninth and 10th wickets of Kenya’s innings to limit them to 142, a target Sri Lanka chased with ease inside 18 overs.
Steven Finn (2015 vs Australia, Melbourne)
The only England bowler to record a men’s World Cup hat-trick is Steven Finn, doing so against Australia at the MCG in 2015. It did, however, come in a chastening defeat for England, with his wickets coming at the tailend of the Aussies’ innings when they’d already racked up 342 runs. After Malinga’s four-in-four in 2007, this was just the second occasion a bowler had ended up on the losing side after recording a World Cup hat-trick; one more was to come in 2019 – more on that below.
JP Duminy (2015 vs Sri Lanka, Sydney)
This next hat-trick came in a quarter-final of the 2015 edition, as South Africa pummelled Sri Lanka by nine wickets. Imran Tahir contributed player-of-the-match figures of 4/26, but spinner JP Duminy stole the headlines with a hat-trick that started with Sri Lanka on 114/4 and left them in dire straits. It was again spread across two overs but remains the only hat-trick by a South African in a men’s World Cup match.
Mohammed Shami (2019 vs Afghanistan, Southampton)
Just when it looked like Afghanistan might secure a famous victory over India at the Rose Bowl in 2019, Mohammed Shami came along and ruined the party. Shami’s last-over hat-trick finished off the hopes of the underdogs and left them 11 runs short of glory. Defending 16 runs in the 50th over, Shami conceded a boundary off the first ball but turned things around with the key scalp of Mohammad Nabi before then skittling Aftab Alam and Mujeeb Ur Rahman with perfect yorkers. It meant the 32-year wait for India’s second men’s CWC hat-trick, after Chetan Sharma had recorded the first, was over.
Trent Boult (2019 vs Australia, Lord’s)
The most recent hat-trick in the men’s Cricket World Cup came courtesy of Trent Boult, the first recorded for New Zealand in the competition. With Australia batting first, Boult cleaned up Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Starc and Jason Behrendorff with consecutive deliveries to finish off their innings. His efforts were in vain, though, as New Zealand failed to mount a decent chase and fell 86 runs shy of completing a perfect day for Boult.
Each of the last three editions of the men’s ICC Cricket World Cup have seen two hat-tricks recorded; will international cricket see more fireworks in 2023?