Seldom we an individual blend dedication and grit, eventually epitomizing the facet named perfection in the most beautiful way possible. Whenever the Sri Lankan speedster Chaminda Vaas stepped on to the cricket field, it felt that national crest is imbibed on his chest. Having snarled over 750 International wickets, Vaas has surely been the best speedster Sri Lanka soil has ever produced.
Even when he is not the tallest, not the one with scary pace, and certainly not the one with the athletic body, Vaas over the several years has been spearheading the Lankan bowling attack and scared the opposition with his skills and variations.
In his 14 year career, Chaminda Vaas has had a lot of good days, but the date ‘14th February’ will always remain close to him, if not the closest. Today, exactly 16 years back, Vaas scalped four wickets in a single over in the World Cup game against Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh batsmen got a taste of Vaas’ deceptive bowling that completely tore their hopes apart. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh faced off in the 10th game of the 2003 World Cup and the result was an obvious conclusion. However, little did anyone imagine that Sri Lanka would get one with things in a jiffy and that Vaas would set a new benchmark? In the very first over of the game, Vaas snared four Bangladeshi batsmen – three of them off the first three deliveries. Never had one-day cricket seen a hat-trick off the first three balls of the game.
Sri Lanka won the toss and put Bangladesh in to bat at the picturesque City Oval at Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Hannan Sarkar walked in to take the first ball and commence the Bangladeshi challenge. Vaas got it to pitch around off-stump and it swung back into Sarkar. The batsman was trying to play an aggressive shot through the covers, but the ball sneaked through between bat and pad to disturb the woodwork. The Lankans were off and running.
In came young and fearless Mohammad Ashraful, who had scored hundred against the same opposition on his Test debut. However, the scenario was a little different now. Sri Lanka’s spearhead was in the mood and was roaring to go. On his second delivery, Vaas made a slight change in his speed, just lowering down a little. In response, Ashraful was a little early in his shot. The bat tilted in Ashraful’s hand as the ball lobbed back to the bowler. As soon as Ashraful must have realized, it was a little too late. All he could do is head down and walk back towards the pavilion.
Now Bangla Tigers were two down without having a single run on board and the spectators who had arrived to watch this game were literally on their feet. Ehsanul Haque, who was Bangladesh’s number four, came early to what he would have expected. With body shivering, and buzz around the park, there was a little more pressure on the young lad. To pitch at the moment, skipper Sanath Jayasuriya made tinker with his field. For the third and the most important delivery, there were three slips, gully, and the man at forwarding short-leg waiting for the possible opportunity. The scenario got over the emotions of Ehsanul Haque. Following this, Chaminda Vaas bowled an unplayable delivery to which Haque tried to defend. Unfortunately for him, the ball did a little movement as there was just a slight nip through to third slip.
In the heartbreaking situation, Sanwar Hossain walked to the middle, hoping to get things back on track for Bangladesh. On the fourth delivery, Hossain smashed Vaas for a cracking boundary. High on confidence, Hossain tried to replicate the last ball but Vaas pitched the ball just a little left to the leg stump and Hossain missed it completely. Half shout towards the umpire and he raised his finger.
Hossain’s wicket created ecstasy in Sri Lankan camp and agony in Bangladesh. Four wickets for mere four runs, the men-in-green were in serious trouble.
Post this, the team never really got going as Muttiah Muralitharan and Dilhara Fernando dented the lower order to wrap Bangladesh's innings for just 124 runs.
In reply, the Sri Lankan openers completed the formality in mere 22 overs to register a 10 wickets win. In the end, the day belonged to great Chaminda Vaas which the fans relish even now.
Thank You, Vaas.
Hannan Sarkar ☝️— ICC (@ICC) February 14, 2019
Mohammad Ashraful ☝️
Ehsanul Haque ☝️#OnThisDay in 2003, @chaminda_vaas made history with a hat-trick with the first three balls of the match against Bangladesh at the @cricketworldcup! 🎩 pic.twitter.com/wbg1SJ70A0