Hong Kong bowler Ehsan Khan delivers to Nepal batsman Areif Sheikh during the last match of their Group B, ICC World Cup Qualifier at BAC in Bulawayo, Mar 12 2018 - Image by ICC OMZ @ICC (Twitter)

Associate member country bowlers are true gems. Quite often (most of the times), they are the ones setting up the games for their respective countries in the 50-overs format. Not to take the shine away from the contributions made by the batsmen, but in modern times, where there is a scarcity of 50-overs format matches for Associate members beyond the Full members, the bowling department quite often holds the key to success.

For instance, when we look at all the World Cricket League Divisions played in 2018 in Namibia, Malaysia and Oman, apart from some class innings played by the batters, it was mostly down to how the bowlers handled the pressure for most of the Associate members involved in those matches.

Even in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers, where the top Associate members were involved, it was pretty evident that most of them were banking heavily on their bowling department to set up the game and let the batsmen do the rest.

All this, after the continued trend of lack of enough 50-overs competitions back home for most of the Associate member countries (International or Domestic). Associate member bowlers are largely exposed in the T20 formats in modern times and while that is not that bad a thing for them to learn more about the craft of bowling different things at different situations of a game, a 4-over burst is not what showcases a bowlers entire arsenal.

However, give the same bolwers a lengthy 10-over spells in a 50-overs format game and they do display that they can adapt themselves to the match situations and operate accordingly to the needs of their team (whether to attack to look for wickets or to contain to increase the pressure).

There were lots of 50-overs format matches played out in 2018. The WCL divisions, World Cup Qualifiers, Asia Cup Qualifiers, USA and Canada’s participation in West Indies Regional 50-overs tournament and the odd one-off matches and few bi-lateral tours (few examples would be Hong Kong and PNG’s respective tours of each other, Singapore and Malaysia’s annual series, Saudi Arabia’s tour of Uganda and Uganda’s tour of Qatar).

And there were some really good performances by the bowlers in the format in 2018 and below we list the top 25, that impressed the most among many contenders for the year.

Top 25 Associate Member Bowling Performances in 50-overs format in 2018:

1) Romesh Eranga Don (Canada) – 6/21 in 10 overs against Windward Islands in 2018 Windies Regional Super50 on 13th Oct 2018

2) Ahmed Raza (UAE) – 6/20 in 8.4 overs against Singapore in 2018 Asia Cup Qualifiers on 29th Aug 2018

3) Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal) – 5/27 in 10 overs against Hong Kong in 2018 Asia Cup Qualifiers on 04th Sep 2018

4) Mohammed Irfan (Uganda) – 6/23 in 10 overs against Bermuda in 2018 ICC WCL Division 4 on 30th Apr 2018

5) Frank Nsubuga (Uganda) – 4/20 in 10 overs against Jersey in 2018 ICC WCL Division 4 on 06th May 2018

6) Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal) – 5/20 in 10 overs against Kenya in 2018 ICC WCL Division 2 on 12th Feb 2018

7) Bilal Khan (Oman) – 5/33 in 10 overs against Namibia in 2018 ICC WCL Division 2 on 11th Feb 2018

8) Bernard Scholtz (Namibia) – 4/15 in 10 overs against Kenya in 2018 ICC WCL Division 2 on 13th Feb 2018

9) Nosthush Kenjige (USA) – 4/38 in 8 overs against Leeward Islands in 2017/2018 Windies Regional Super50 on 10th Feb 2018

10) Romesh Eranga Don (Canada) – 5/31 in 8 overs against West Indies “B” in 2018/2019 Windies Regional Super50 on 03rd Oct 2018

11) Elmore Hutchinson (USA) – 5/42 in 10 overs against Combined Campuses & Colleges in 2018/2019 Windies Regional Super50 on 06th Oct 2018

12) Ehsan Khan (Hong Kong) – 4/15 in 7.5 overs against Nepal in 2018 Asia Cup Qualifiers on 04th Sep 2018

13) Fayyaz Butt (Oman) – 5/22 in 7 overs against Uganda in 2018 ICC WCL Division 3 on 18th Nov 2018

14) Kaleemullah (Oman) – 4/26 in 10 overs against Kenya in 2018 ICC WCL Division 3 on 09th Nov 2018

15) Ehsan Khan (Hong Kong) – 4/33 in 9 overs against Afghanistan in 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifiers on 08th Mar 2018

16) Rohan Mustafa (UAE) – 5/26 in 9.3 overs against Netherlands in 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifiers on 08th Mar 2018

17) Safyaan Sharif (Scotland) – 5/33 in 8.4 overs against Zimbabwe in 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifiers on 12th Mar 2018

18) Tom Sole (Scotland) – 4/15 in 10 overs against Hong Kong in 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifiers on 06th Mar 2018

19) Roelof van der Merwe (Netherlands) – 4/18 in 7 overs against Hong Kong in 2018 ICC World Cup on 15th Mar 2018

20) Sompal Kami (Nepal) – 4/24 in 10 overs against Netherlands in 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifiers on 17th Mar 2018

21) Ben Stevens (Jersey) – 4/22 in 8 overs against Uganda in 2018 ICC WCL Division 4 on 06th May 2018

22) Abdul Rashid (Malaysia) – 4/30 in 10 overs against Oman in 2018 Asia Cup Qualifiers on 30th Aug 2018

23) Timil Patel (USA) – 4/28 in 10 overs against Denmark in 2018 ICC WCL Division 3 on 15th Nov 2018

24) Mark Watt (Scotland) – 3/55 in 10 overs against England in a one-off ODI on 10th Jun 2018

25) Charles Amini Jr (PNG) – 4/33 in 10 overs against Hong Kong in 2018 South China Cup on 29th Oct 2018

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