Sanath Jayasuriya picked up just 7 wickets in the 1996 World Cup at 33 apiece. He was at number 19 on the wickets-tally list, yet emerged as the highest impact bowler of the tournament.

The reason for this is simple: Jayasuriya was the only bowler in the tournament to give a tournament-defining (TD) performance for Sri Lanka.

He was a big-match player who rose to the occasion and delivered – a fact which can be seen from the 12 TDs he earned in his career – the joint second-highest (along with Tendulkar), only after Adam Gilchrist (13).

Even the likes of Muralitharan and Vaas did not deliver a very high impact performance in the knock-out stages and thus did not get a TD.

Jayasuriya made up for his failure with the bat with a brilliant display with the ball in the semi-final against India at the Eden Gardens where he perpetuated an Indian collapse after getting Tendulkar stumped for 65. His 3-12 in 7 overs was instrumental in India crumbling from 98 for 1 to 120 for 8.

He also displayed the maximum propensity to pick up wickets for Sri Lanka and interestingly, was a higher impact bowler than batsman in the tournament.



Nikhil Narain

NOTE: This piece is up-to-date as of August 2016