The world of cricket in 2018 witnessed several highs, but was also rocked by major lows. A year that saw some of the greats in the sport draw curtains on their illustrious career, also saw the emergence of young and promising talent.
From the highs and lows of cricket in the last year, here’s a look-back at the top 10 moments.
10. Dhoni’s ‘Dad’s Army’ Win IPL on Comeback
On their return to the league after serving a two-year ban, MS Dhoni and his ‘army of dads’ in yellow lifted Chennai Super Kings’ third IPL trophy on 27 May.
The same reason why most people had written CSK off ahead of the season became the secret behind their success. With a core team comprising Dhoni (36), Ambati Rayudu (32), Suresh Raina (31), Dwayne Bravo (34), Shane Watson (37) and Harbhajan Singh (37), the average age of the squad was 34 and a half years.
CSK defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by 8 wickets in their seventh final to become the joint-most successful team in the league, with Mumbai Indians.
9. Gautam Gambhir Walks Away
Part of India’s title-winning teams at both the 2007 World T20 and the 2011 World Cup, Gautam Gambhir announced his decision to call time on his cricket career on 4 December.
In his final match before walking away from all formats of the game, the 37-year-old scored 112 in Delhi’s first innings against Andhra Pradesh during a RanjiTrophy match at his home ground Feroz Shah Kotla.
8. Prithvi Shaw’s Remarkable Debut
With his impressive knocks in local and first-class cricket, Prithvi Shaw was no stranger to cricket fans before he entered the Indian dressing-room.
At 18, Shaw earned his maiden call-up for India’s Test series against West Indies, and was included in the playing eleven for the first match. While his opening partner KL Rahul got out for a duck, Shaw went onto score a century, becoming the second-youngest Indian – after Sachin Tendulkar – to score a Test hundred for India. At 18 years and 329 days, Shaw became the fourth-youngest debutant to score a Test hundred. He reached the milestone off just 99 balls – the third-fastest century on Test debut. Eventually, he was dismissed after scoring 134 off 154 balls.
7. Corruption Allegations Hit Intl Cricket
International cricket was hit by major allegations of match-fixing by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, who in a report claimed that there have been around two dozen instances of spot-fixing in 15 matches from 2011 to 2012.
The evidence, uncovered by the Emirates-based news organisation, not only reveal corruption at the highest level of the game but also highlight the involvement of handful of players from England, who allegedly carried out spot-fixing in seven matches; Australian players in five matches and Pakistan players in three matches.
6. Dinesh Karthik’s Last-Ball Six
Dinesh Karthik pulled a Javed Miandad with a last-ball six as India pulled off an incredible chase beating Bangladesh by four wickets in the Nidahas Trophy T20 Tr-series final in Colombo on 18 March.
Karthik scored 22 runs in the 19th over against seamer Rubel Hossain.
India needed 12 off the last over and Vijay Shankar was dismissed on the fifth delivery, leaving India to score five runs off a single delivery to win. Karthik smashed Soumya Sarkar over extra cover to secure what would certainly be one of India’s most famous last ball sixes.
5. Legends Retire
Two legends of the sport, Alastair Cook and AB de Villiers, drew the curtains on their respective illustrious careers this year.
In shocking news for the cricket fraternity and his fans, South Africa’s former captain in all formats AB de Villiers announced retirement from all forms of cricket in May.
England’s fifth and final Test against India at the Oval marked former English captain of the ODI and Test teams Alastair Cook’s final game in international cricket. The hosts won the match by 118 runs and clinched the series 4-1, giving a fitting farewell to the batting great on 11 September.
4. England’s Record-Breaking Totals
England extended its own record in one-day international cricket by 37 runs after smashing the highest-ever total of 481-6 as it beat Australia by 242 runs in the third ODI on 19 June.
Alex Hales (147 off 92) and opener Jonny Bairstow (139 off 92) plundered Australian bowlers all around the park as England bettered their previous world’s highest total of 444/3 set in 2016 against Pakistan.
What’s interesting is that the very next day, the England women’s team smashed a 250 for 3 against South Africa, setting the record for the highest total in Women’s T20 Internationals.
3. Another Virat High
Adding another feather to his over-crowded hat, India’s captain in all formats Virat Kohli surpassed Sachin Tendulkar to became the fastest cricketer to cross the 10,000-run mark in the One Day Internationals (ODIs). The India captain reached the milestone in just 205 innings – 54 innings less than the now second-fastest, Tendulkar.
Kohli became the 13th cricketer and fifth Indian to achieve the feat during India’s second ODI against the West Indies at Visakhapatnam. Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and MS Dhoni are the only other Indian cricketers to have reached this milestone in their careers.
2. Afghanistan, Ireland Played Their First Tests
After being confirmed as ‘Full Members’ of ICC, Afghanistan and Ireland played their first-ever Tests this year.
Afghanistan in their Test debut suffered a massive loss by an innings and 262 runs against Ajinkya Rahane-led India, in a match that wrapped-up in just two days in Bengaluru. Ireland on the other hand, lost by 5 wickets to Pakistan on the final day of their maiden Test in Dublin.
1. Not One, Two Cases of Ball-Tampering
In one of the biggest controversies to hit the sport, Australian captain Steve Smith, along with cricketers David Warner and Cameron Bancroft received bans for their role in ball-tampering. The incident took place during their third Test against South Africa at Cape Town, when Bancroft was caught using sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball. An investigation by Cricket Australia had revealed that Warner came up with the plan in the dressing room during a break in play.
Warner was banned from playing for Australia for 12 months and can never hold a leadership role in the team again. Smith was also banned for 12 months and Bancroft banned for nine months.
This however, wasn’t the only instance of ball-tampering this year. Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal was also found guilty of the same in June, and received a one-Test ban by the ICC for the same.
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