James Faulkner recovered from a bout of gastro to deliver, statistically speaking, the greatest Twenty20 bowling performance by an Australian.
Faulkner was restricted to walking laps at Australia’s training session on Thursday because he was ill.
The allrounder was feeling much better on Friday, when he was named man of the match in Australia’s crucial World T20 clash with Pakistan at Mohali.
Faulkner was twice on a hat-trick as he stormed to figures of 5-27, piloting his side to a 21-run win.
Never before has an Australian claimed a five-wicket haul in a T20 international.
Faulkner played down the feat, noting four of his wickets came in his final two overs, when the run-rate required had become ridiculous and Pakistan were swinging at everything.
“I got pretty lucky. I just got a couple at the end this evening so I am not too worried about that,” the Tasmanian said.
“I was lucky there at the end.”
Faulkner was tight-lipped when asked how close he was to missing the crucial match.
“I was alright today so that was the main thing,” he said.
The 25-year-old has become one of the most important players in Australia’s limited-overs XI on account of both his batting and bowling.
Faulkner’s back-of-the-hand slower balls have taken a stack of wickets and are incredibly hard to score off.
“It is pretty basic for all bowlers in T20 cricket,” he said.
“Variations and change of pace.
“A good yorker and bouncer.
“If you can execute them, you can make it hard for the batsmen.
“But at the same time you can still execute and travel around the park.”
Paceman Josh Hazlewood, playing his first match of the tournament, legspinner Adam Zampa and offspinning allrounder Glenn Maxwell also impressed with the ball during the match.
“Glenn bowled well. I think as a group we bowled well,” Faulkner said.
“We knew they were going to come hard against us. It was about holding our nerve and holding our length against them.”
Zampa struck when the match was in the balance, removing dangermen Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi.
“Zampa has bowled beautifully,” skipper Steve Smith said in the post-match ceremony.
“He reads the batsmen well and is really smart, which is great for Australia.”
BEST T20 INTERNATIONAL FIGURES BY AN AUSTRALIAN
*5-27: James Faulkner v Pakistan in 2016
*4-15: Shane Watson v England in 2011
*4-18: Dirk Nannes v Bangladesh in 2010
*4-20: Stuart Clark v Sri Lanka in 2007.