In cricket, a hat-trick occurs when a bowler takes three wickets with consecutive deliveries. The deliveries may be interrupted by an over bowled by another bowler from the other end of the pitch or the other team's innings, but must be three consecutive deliveries by the individual bowler in the same match. Only wickets attributed to the bowler count towards a hat-trick; run outs do not count.
Hat-tricks are rare, and as such are treasured by bowlers.
The term is also sometimes used to mean winning the same competition three times in a row. For example, Australia winning the Cricket World Cup in 1999, 2003 and 2007,and Lancashire winning the County Championship in 1926, 1927 and 1928.
In Test cricket history there have been just 44 hat-tricks, the first achieved by Fred Spofforth for Australia against England in 1879. In 1912, Australian Jimmy Matthews achieved the feat twice in one game against South Africa. The only other players to achieve two hat-tricks are Australia's Hugh Trumble, against England in 1902 and 1904, Pakistan's Wasim Akram, in separate games against Sri Lanka in 1999, and England's Stuart Broad.
Nuwan Zoysa of Sri Lanka is the only bowler to achieve a hat-trick with his first three balls in a Test, against Zimbabwe in 1999.In 2006, Irfan Pathan of India achieved a hat-trick in the first over of a Test match against Pakistan.
Australian fast bowler Peter Siddle took a hat-trick in an Ashes test match against England on 25 November 2010, Siddle’s 26th birthday. The event became a well-renowned part of Australian cricket culture, being known as "Siddle’s hat-trick on his birthday", subsequently achieving cult status and being referred to by some as an internet meme.
In One Day International cricket there have been 49 hat-tricks, the first by Jalal-ud-Din for Pakistan against Australia in 1982, and the most recent player to achieve this feat is Kuldeep Yadav of India against West Indies in the 2019 Three match ODI series during the West Indies tour of India.
Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga is the only bowler to take three hat-tricks in a single form of international cricket with his three in ODIs. Four players have taken at least two ODI hat-tricks in their careers: Wasim Akram and Saqlain Mushtaq of Pakistan, Chaminda Vaas of Sri Lanka and Kuldeep Yadav of India. (Akram therefore has four international hat-tricks in total).
Chaminda Vaas is the only player to achieve a hat-trick with the first three deliveries in a One Day International, against Bangladesh in the tenth match of 2003 ICC World Cup at City Oval, Pietermaritzburg. He also took a fourth wicket with the fifth ball of the same over, just missing the double-hat-trick.
Some hat-tricks are particularly extraordinary. On 2 December 1988, Merv Hughes, playing for Australia, dismissed Curtly Ambrose with the last ball of his penultimate over and Patrick Patterson with the first ball of his next over, wrapping up the West Indies first innings. When Hughes returned to bowl in the West Indies second innings, he trapped Gordon Greenidge lbw with his first ball, completing a hat-trick over two different innings and becoming the only player in Test cricket history to achieve the three wickets of a hat-trick in three different overs.
In 1844, underarm bowler William Clarke, playing for "England" against Kent, achieved a hat-trick spread over two innings, dismissing Kent batsman John Fagge twice within the hat-trick. Fagge batted at number 11 in the first innings and at number 3 in the second. This event is believed to be unique in first-class cricket.
The most involved hat-trick was perhaps when Melbourne club cricketer Stephen Hickman, playing for Power House in March 2002, achieved a hat-trick spread over three overs, two days, two innings, involving the same batsman twice, and observed by the same non-striker, with the hat-trick ball being bowled from the opposite end to the first two. In the Mercantile Cricket Association C Grade semi-final at Fawkner Park, South Yarra, Gunbower United Cricket Club were 8 for 109 when Hickman came on to bowl his off spin. He took a wicket with the last ball of his third over and then bowled number 11 batsman Richard Higgins with the first ball of his next over to complete the Gunbower innings, leaving Chris Taylor the not out batsman. Power House scored 361, putting the game out of reach of Gunbower. In the second innings opener Taylor was joined by Higgins at the fall of the fourth wicket as Hickman returned to the attack. With his first ball, observed by an incredulous Taylor at the non-striker's end, he clean bowled Higgins, leaving Higgins with a pair of golden ducks.
The feat of taking four wickets in four balls has occurred only once in One Day International cricket, in the 2007 World Cup, when Lasith Malinga managed the feat against South Africa. Malinga then repeated this triumph in a T20I against New Zealand during their tour of Sri Lanka. It has also occurred on other occasions in first-class cricket. Kevan James of Hampshire took four wickets in four balls and scored a century in the same county game against India in 1996. The Cricinfo report on the game claimed that this was unique in cricket.
Albert Trott and Joginder Rao are the only two bowlers credited with two hat-tricks in the same innings in first-class cricket. One of Trott's two hat-tricks, for Middlesex against Somerset at Lords in 1907, was a four in four.
For Gloucestershire against Yorkshire in 1922, Charlie Parker had a hat-trick that was nearly five wickets in five balls: he actually struck the stumps with five successive deliveries, but the second was a no-ball.
Five wickets in five balls was achieved by Scott Babot of Wainuiomata Cricket Club playing in the Senior 3 competition in New Zealand in 2008; it happened across two innings and separated by seven days, as the match took place on consecutive Saturdays.
During Brazil's national T20 in 2017, the spectators witnessed a triple hat trick when Carioca Cricket Club's off spinner, Rafi ur Rahman claimed 5 wickets with 5 consecutive balls. The feat came against Brasilia Federal District when the unorthodox off spinner claimed a leg before, two players clean bowled and two caught. The moment was declared "Best of the year" in the 2017 national awards by the club.
A 'perfect over' of 6 wickets taken with 6 consecutive balls was achieved by Australian Aled Carey on 21 January 2017 while bowling for Golden Point Cricket Club against East Ballarat Cricket Club in the Ballarat Cricket Association competition. This very rare feat consisted of 2 catches, an LBW and 3 bowled.
Taking two wickets in two consecutive deliveries is occasionally known as a brace, or (more commonly, especially until the next delivery has been made) being on a hat-trick. In Australia, four wickets in four balls is sometimes referred to as a double hat-trick on the basis that there are two ways of compiling the three-in-three sequence (i.e. wickets 1,2 and 3 or wickets 2,3 and 4).
There are very few cases of a fielder or wicket keeper taking a hat-trick of dismissals off consecutive deliveries in first-class cricket, and none in international cricket. The first such instance is the only known hat-trick of stumpings by a wicket keeper: WH Brain for Gloucestershire against Somerset in 1893, all off the bowling of CL Townend. There has never been a first-class wicket-keeping hat-trick that mixes catches and stumpings, but four other wicket-keepers have taken a hat-trick of catches: KR Meherhomji for Railways vs Freelooters at Secunderabad (the only instance outside England) in 1931, GO Dawkes for Derbyshire vs Worcestershire at Kidderminster in 1958, RC Russell for Gloucestershire against Surrey at The Oval in 1986, and T Frost for Warwickshire against Surrey at Edgbaston in 2003. (In Russell and Frost's cases, no bowler took a hat-trick since their catches were taken off different bowlers in successive overs: Meherhomji's and Dawkes's feats were hat-tricks for the bowlers as well, L Ramji and HL Jackson.) There are only two recorded cases of a hat-trick of catches being recorded by a non-wicket-keeper, both of which were also hat-tricks for the bowler as well: GJ Thompson, for Northants against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in 2014 (all off SG Smith), and Marcus Trescothick for Somerset against Notts in 2018 at Trent Bridge (all off Craig Overton). Trescothick - though more famous as a batsman and only an occasional bowler - has also taken a hat-trick as a bowler, in 1995 against the Young Australians.
Separamadu Lasith Malinga is a former Sri Lankan cricketer. He captained the Sri Lankan 2014 T20 World Cup winning side. He was considered as one of the best bowlers of his time. He is the only bowler to have taken 4 wickets in 4 consecutive balls in international cricket. He is a right-arm fast bowler that is commonly used as a specialist death bowler, and is well known for his distinctive round-arm action, sometimes referred to as a sling action, which leads to his nicknames, 'Slinga Malinga'.
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By the time he was done, he had made the fifth century - and the highest score - in a World Cup final, and had put Australia firmly on the road to a hat-trick of World Cup triumphs.
Still, there was enough brass to enable Lancashire to become the first county to win a hat-trick of titles in two formats, by bringing in overseas players to make the difference. The first was Ted Macdonald, who spearheaded Lancashire’s hat-trick of championship wins from 1926 to 1928.