Lasith Malinga, Rashid Khan and Curtis Campher, T20 legends past, present and future?
Until today, Ireland’s Campher had probably not heard his name spoken alongside two greats of the game but now he joins them, the only three men to have taken four wickets in four balls in a T20I.
The fact that Campher did so against the Netherlands in the opening game of Group A in an ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is as much of a surprise to the 22-year-old as anyone.
He admitted after his heroics that he hadn’t been feeling great prior to his second spell-binding over after he had gone for 12 from his first six balls.
His second spell started with a wide and then a dot but nothing could have prepared the Dutch for what was to come.
Colin Ackermann was Campher’s first victim, but Ireland had to wait to confirm it, Ackermann given out on a review with the replays showing he had gloved it behind to Neil Rock.
Dutch legend Ryan ten Doeschate was next to get out, dismissed leg before wicket with the Netherlands on 51 for four and Campher on a hat-trick.
He would duly get that, again delayed by a review, as Scott Edwards was shown to be out lbw. In three balls, Campher had doubled his tally of T20I wickets and he wasn’t done yet.
Looking to show attacking intent, Roelof van der Merwe instead dragged the ball back onto his stumps as Campher wheeled away in joyous celebration, no review was needed to confirm what had just happened.
The Johannesburg-born medium-fast bowler had just written his name into the history books and derailed the Netherlands’ World Cup campaign.
He would finish the over conceding one run to captain Pieter Seelaar to have four wickets from 14 runs and conceded 12 more in his third and fourth overs as the five-fer eluded him but career-best figures of four for 26 were firmly in his grasp.
Campher had only ever played four T20Is before, and even went wicketless against Zimbabwe and twice against the UAE. But in between them, there may have been a sign of what to come.
In the first match of Ireland’s series against the UAE earlier this month, he took three for 19 in another player of the match performance.
And he took three UAE wickets in a row, the first and second coming in the same maiden over however he would have to wait 11 balls for the third.
Despite Campher’s underwhelming first over against the Netherlands, he explained he was given free reins by captain Andrew Balbirnie, who encouraged him to ‘crack the game open’. It is fair to say he did so.
Another name Campher will forever be placed alongside is Brett Lee, as Campher is now only the second man to take a hat-trick in an ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, with the Australian doing so in the inaugural competition in 2007.
His incredible performance helped Ireland to a seven-wicket victory over the Dutch and puts them in a strong position to reach the knockout stages for the first time since 2009.