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Five moments to remember from ODI cricket in 2019


ODI_Cricket_moments_2019India’s home series against the West Indies was the last we saw of men’s ODI cricket in 2019, bringing the number of ODIs played in the year to 150. The 12th edition of the Cricket World Cup, which culminated in a classic final at Lord’s, was the highlight of the year. Besides, there was a much-needed expansion of the number of teams, and the start of a new structure for the 50-over game. Here is a look back at five special ODI moments from the year that will be remembered for long.

March – Australia overcome the Indian challenge

Still devoid of the banned duo of Steven Smith and David Warner, Australia were expected to struggle in India in early March. They scored a modest 236/7 in the first ODI at Hyderabad, and despite showing fight, lost by six wickets. In the second game at Nagpur, they faltered in a 251-run chase to lose by eight runs, before pulling their socks up at Ranchi to win by 32 runs. Openers Finch (93) and Usman Khawaja (104) added 193, leading to an eventual total of 313/5.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli scored 123, but pacemen Pat Cummins and Kane Richardson, and leg-spinner Adam Zampa took three wickets each to ensure a 32-run win for Australia in the 49th over. The fourth ODI at Mohali saw the visitors make history, as they notched their highest successful ODI chase. Boosted by Shikhar Dhawan (143) and Rohit Sharma (95), India posted a daunting 358/9, even as Cummins took 5/70. In response, Australia fell to 12/2 within four overs.

However, Khawaja (91) and Peter Handscomb (117) turned the tide with a third-wicket stand of 204, after which Ashton Turner (84* in 43 balls) dealt the finishing blows to spur Australia to a four-wicket win with 13 balls left. Three days later, Australia clinched the decider at Delhi by 35 runs – Khawaja, named Man of the Series for his 383 runs at 76.60, compiled 100 in a total of 272/9. This was the fifth time that a team won an ODI series after losses in the first two matches.

April – The ODI club expands

The six-team World Cricket League Division Two in Namibia was the last WCL tournament, due to the confirmation of the overhaul of the 50-over structure for Associates in the form of two new tournaments, namely the Cricket World Cup League Two (ODI) and the Cricket World Cup Challenge League (List A). The top four teams would join Nepal, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates in the League Two, which meant an increase in the number of ODI sides from 16 to 20.

It was Namibia who prevailed on home soil, defeating Oman by 145 runs in the final. This ensured an ODI comeback for the African team after 16 years, while Oman gained ODI status for the first time. Papua New Guinea and the United States came in third and fourth respectively – the former regained the ODI status they had lost in March 2018 thanks to a 145-run win against Oman in the final round, while the latter marked a return to the ODI circuit after nearly 15 years.

May – A record opening partnership

The first match of the Ireland tri-series between the hosts and the West Indies in Dublin saw a new record for the highest opening stand in ODIs. The left-handed John Campbell (179) and the right-handed Shai Hope (170) raised 365 for the first wicket – the second highest ODI stand for any wicket – to lay the base for the Windies’ 196-run win. The earlier first-wicket record was 304, set by Pakistan’s Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 2018.

June – A humdinger at Old Trafford

New Zealand and the West Indies produced a World Cup thriller at Old Trafford that ebbed and flowed throughout. After the Black Caps were inserted, Sheldon Cottrell removed openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro for golden ducks in the first over to leave the score at 7/2. For the Windies, who were in need of a win to stay afloat, this was a dream start. But captain Kane Williamson struck a fine 148, and his third-wicket stand of 160 with Ross Taylor (69) steered New Zealand to 291/8.

Trent Boult (4/30) then reduced the West Indies to 20/2, before Chris Gayle (87) and Shimron Hetmyer (54) added a rollicking 122 for the third wicket in less than 16 overs. However, the score nosedived from 142/2 to 164/7 in 27 balls, and the Windies’ hopes now rested on Carlos Brathwaite. Brathwaite rallied with the tail en route to an incredible 101, but with six needed in seven balls, he was caught by Boult at long-on to give New Zealand a pulsating five-run victory.

July – A World Cup final for the ages

To say that the 2019 World Cup final at Lord’s was a surreal spectacle would probably be an understatement. Considering that the summit clash of the most prestigious limited-overs tournament produced an incredible climax, it was arguably the greatest ODI of all time. No one could have possibly foreseen the day’s happenings when Williamson, buoyed by New Zealand’s memorable 18-run triumph over fancied India in the semifinal, won the toss and decided to bat.

Just like New Zealand, who were the runners-up in the 2015 edition, England, led by Eoin Morgan, too were gunning for a maiden World Cup title. Opener Henry Nicholls (55) and Williamson added a steady 74 for the second wicket, before Tom Latham (47) ensured that the Black Caps saw off a middle-order wobble to finish with a middling 241/8. Having cruised to an eight-wicket win over Australia in the semifinal, England looked favourites at the innings break.

But the hard-hitting English batting line-up was reined in by New Zealand’s seamers, and at 86/4 in the 23rd over, the hosts were in need of a rescue act. Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler (59) stood up, joining forces for a fifth-wicket stand of 112, before the latter’s dismissal in the 45th over tipped the scales towards New Zealand again. Stokes kept his cool even as wickets fell at the other end, and when Boult began the final over, England still required 15 runs with two wickets remaining.

After two dots, Stokes hit the third ball for six over mid-wicket to bring the equation to nine from three. The fourth ball led to bizarre scenes, as Martin Guptill’s throw from deep mid-wicket was inadvertently ricocheted off Stokes’ bat to the boundary. With the batsmen having crossed for two, the umpires awarded a total of six runs, which suddenly reduced the target to three off two balls. The last two balls saw two runs and as many run-outs, terminating the innings at 241.

For the first time, the Super Over was used in an ODI. Stokes, who finished with 84*, teamed up with Buttler again in the tie-breaker, and the duo took 15 runs off Boult. Jimmy Neesham and Guptill faced Jofra Archer in the final act, and with two to win off the last ball, Guptill was run out while going for the second. The Super Over was also tied, but England became champions by the thinnest and unlikeliest margin – they hit 26 boundaries in all, as against New Zealand’s 17.

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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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