REVIEW – 2014 Limited-overs cricket recap

  In the year 2014, a total of 121 One-day Internationals and 61 Twenty20 Internationals were played – most of them admittedly having little relevance. As the year drew to an end, the frequency of one-day cricket across the world rose as every team sought to fine-tune its combination for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

  Here is a look at the highlights and records from limited-overs cricket in 2014:-

One Day Internationals

– Among teams to have played at least ten matches, Australia were the most successful with 13 wins and 5 defeats from their 18 games, a winning percentage of 72.22. Sri Lanka played the most matches (32).

– Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara led the run charts with a tally of 1256 in 28 matches. The leading wicket-takers were Ajantha Mendis of Sri Lanka and Mohammed Shami of India, with 38 apiece from 17 and 16 matches respectively.

– India’s Rohit Sharma created a new record for the highest individual ODI score when he scored 264 off 173 balls against Sri Lanka at Kolkata. He broke his compatriot Virender Sehwag’s record of 219. He also became the first man to score two ODI double hundreds.

– New Zealand’s Corey Anderson scored the fastest ever ODI century against the West Indies at Queenstown. He took only 36 balls, going past Pakistani Shahid Afridi’s eighteen-year record of 37 balls. He eventually made 131 from just 47 balls.

zimnh     The Zimbabwean team celebrate after upsetting Australia at Harare, only their second ODI win over them in 30 attempts (source – ndtv.com)

– Zimbabwe achieved only their second win in 30 ODIs against Australia when they won by three wickets at Harare. Zimbabwe’s only other win over Australia came in their very first ODI back in the 1983 World Cup.

– The twelfth edition of the Asia Cup was played in Bangladesh, with Sri Lanka defeating Pakistan in the final to win their fifth title. Afghanistan featured in the tournament for the first time, and managed to defeat Bangladesh.

– Scotland and United Arab Emirates became the two final teams to qualify for the 2015 World Cup. Scotland defeated UAE in the final of the World Cup Qualifiers played in New Zealand. These two nations, along with Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea, attained ODI status for the next four years.

– Papua New Guinea became the first nation to win their first two ODIs. The 23rd nation to play ODI cricket, PNG defeated Hong Kong by four wickets and three wickets respectively in their two matches at Townsville in Australia.

– The West Indies achieved their highest ODI total, scoring 363/4 against New Zealand at Hamilton. Their previous highest was 360/4 against Sri Lanka in 1987-88. Also, their victory margin of 203 runs was their highest against a full member.

– Bangladesh were bowled out for just 58 – their joint lowest total – in reply to India’s 105 at Dhaka. India’s total became the lowest ever defended successfully in a full ODI, beating their own 125 against Pakistan in 1984-85.

– In the above-mentioned match, Stuart Binny’s figures of 6/4 became the best by an Indian in ODIs, bettering Anil Kumble’s 6/12 against the West Indies in 1993-94. In the same match, Bangladeshi Taskin Ahmed became the ninth bowler to take five wickets on debut. Later, Ireland’s Craig Young became the tenth to do so against Scotland at Dublin.

– Two hat-tricks were recorded in the year – Zimbabwe’s Prosper Utseya against South Africa at Harare and Bangladesh’s Tajiul Islam against Zimbabwe at Dhaka. Islam became the first bowler to take a hat-trick on debut.

– A new record for the highest third-wicket partnership was created as Darren Bravo and Denesh Ramdin put on 258 for the West Indies against Bangladesh at Basseterre. The previous record was 238 by South Africans Hashim Amla and A.B de Villiers against Pakistan in 2012-13.

– South African all-round great Jacques Kallis retired from ODIs after a career spanning 18 years. He played 328 matches in all, scoring 11579 runs at 44.36 and taking 273 wickets at 31.79.

Twenty20 Internationals

– The fifth edition of the ICC World Twenty20 was played in Bangladesh. Sri Lanka won their first title, defeating India in the final at Dhaka by six wickets. In the semi-finals, Sri Lanka and India defeated the West Indies and South Africa respectively.

zsad      Sri Lanka defeated India by six wickets to win the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 held in Bangladesh (source – indiatvnews.com)

– Sri Lanka were the most successful team, winning 8 out of 9 games with a win percentage of 88.88. The West Indies played the most matches (15).

– In the World Twenty20, Hong Kong, Nepal and the United Arab Emirates made their first appearances in T20I cricket. Nepal went on to win their first match, defeating Hong Kong by 80 runs at Chittagong. They later defeated Afghanistan too, by nine runs at the same venue.

– Netherlands were bowled out for just 39 in 10.3 overs against Sri Lanka at Chittagong in the World Twenty20 – the lowest ever T20I total. Kenya’s 56 against Afghanistan last year was the previous record. Netherlands’ innings lasted for only 63 balls – the shortest completed innings ever.

– The leading run-scorer was Alex Hales of England, who scored 397 runs in 12 matches. The leading wicket-taker was Samuel Badree of the West Indies, who took 19 scalps in 12 matches.

– Netherlands’ Ahsan Jamil became the first bowler from an Associate nation to take a T20I five-wicket haul against a full member. He took 5/19 against South Africa at Chittagong in the World Twenty20.

– The Netherlands achieved the highest ever run-rate in an innings with a stipulation of 20 overs when they chased down Ireland’s 189/4 by scoring 193/4 in just 13.5 overs at a rate of 13.95 at Sylhet in the World Twenty20.

– Alex Hales became the first Englishman to score a T20I century when he scored 116* against Sri Lanka at Chittagong. Ahmed Shehzad became the first T20I centurion from Pakistan when he scored 111* against Bangladesh at Dhaka.

– Hales and Eoin Morgan put on 152 for the third wicket against Sri Lanka at Chittagong, which created a new record for the highest partnership for the third wicket.

– Waqas Khan of Hong Kong became the youngest player to feature in a T20I. He was only 15 years and 259 days when he made his debut against Nepal at Colombo. On the other hand, Australian Brad Hogg became the oldest – he was 43 years and 45 days when he played against Pakistan at Dhaka.

The Cricket Cauldron Limited-Overs Team of the Year – Hashim Amla, Aaron Finch, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Kumar Sangakkara, A.B de Villiers (WK), Angelo Mathews (captain), Ajantha Mendis, Mohammed Shami, Matt Henry, Lasith Malinga.

Limited-overs Match of the Year – India v Pakistan at Dhaka in the Asia Cup. Pakistan (249/9) beat India (245/8) by one wicket with two balls to spare, thanks to Shahid Afridi’s two sixes in the last over.

Limited-overs Moment of the Year – Prosper Utseya hitting the winning six at Harare to complete Zimbabwe’s first ODI victory over Australia in more than three decades. Zimbabwe (211/7) beat Australia (209/9) by three wickets with two overs to spare.

Specials – Recalling the best of Phillip Hughes

  Phillip Hughes’ tragic and untimely death plunged the entire cricketing world into grief over the past few days, a period which was possibly the most emotionally draining that the game has experienced.

  At the same time, the spirit of cricket was out on display like never before, as thousands of people connected to the game in some way or the other – known and unknown to Hughes – paid their tributes in a remarkable outpouring of empathy. Up in his heavenly abode, Hughes must be surely feeling overwhelmed with all the love and respect showered on him.

  As a steadily maturing batsman, Hughes still had a lot to offer to world cricket. Yet, in his short but promising career, he not only managed to churn out some memorable performances, but also went on to break a few records in the process.

  Here are Hughes’ five most noteworthy performances across formats which gave the best indications of his unquestionable talent:-

1) 116 for New South Wales v Victoria, Sydney, 2007-08

  19 year-old Hughes first burst on to the Australian domestic scene in the 2007-08 Sheffield Shield. In his maiden first-class innings, he scored 51 against Tasmania. But he reserved his best for the final against Victoria, where he became the youngest batsman to score a century in the Sheffield Shield final.

  After his team had gained a first-innings lead of 65, Hughes went on to put Victoria’s seasoned bowlers to the sword in the second innings. He shared an opening stand of 75 with Phil Jaques followed by a 145-run alliance with Simon Katich for the second wicket before being dismissed for a quality knock of 116 from 175 balls with 16 fours and a six. This innings took the game away from Victoria, who went down by 258 runs.

2) 115 and 160 for Australia v South Africa, Durban, 2008-09

zhughsy     Phillip Hughes celebrates after scoring his maiden Test hundred, at Durban in 2008-09 (source – independent.co.uk)

  At the age of 20, Hughes earned his Baggy Green for the first time on the 2008-09 tour of South Africa. Opening the innings on his debut at Johannesburg, he fell for a duck in his first innings but crashed an entertaining 75 in the second dig. This was a sign of things to come in the second Test at Durban.

  On the opening morning at Durban, Hughes launched a delightful attack on the fiery trio of Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini and Morne Morkel, using the cut shot and the on drive with aplomb. By lunch, he had raced to 75, and later went from 93 to 105 with successive sixes to become the fourth-youngest Australian to score a Test hundred. He shared a 184-run opening stand with Katich and ended up with 115 with 19 fours and two sixes, striking at more than 76.

  Australia, with a lead of 214, nearly had the game and series sealed when they began their second innings, but Hughes was not done by any means. This time his effort was more restrained, and he showed his adaptability and skill in building an innings with his second century in the match. His solid 160 from 323 balls with 15 fours and three sixes – which remained his best Test score – enabled Australia to declare and give themselves ample time to achieve a series-clinching 175-run victory.

  With this feat, Hughes became the youngest to score centuries in each innings of a Test, beating West Indian George Headley’s 1929-30 record by nearly six months.

3) 112 for Australia v Sri Lanka, Melbourne, 2012-13

  Hughes finally made his long overdue ODI debut against Sri Lanka at the MCG in the first match of the series, and immediately proved his worth with a fine hundred. He thus became the first Australian to score a century on ODI debut.

  Opening the innings after Australia chose to bat, Hughes stayed in the middle for 39 overs, scoring 112 from 129 balls with 14 boundaries. He shared a game-changing third-wicket partnership worth 140 runs with captain George Bailey (89) which helped Australia to a total of 305/5. Sri Lanka could muster only 198 in reply.

  With Australia needing to win the last ODI at Hobart in order to square the series, Hughes rose to the challenge again by scoring 138 from 154 balls to guide the hosts to a narrow 32-run win. These two centuries were his only ones in ODIs.

4) 81* for Australia v England, Nottingham, 2013

  Australia’s Test form was in disarray after a feeble display in India, and the public were expecting the worst in the Ashes in England. In the first Test at Trent Bridge, the Australian bowlers did well to bowl out the hosts for 215, before their batting frustratingly unravelled.

zasdg       Phillip Hughes during his unbeaten 81 in the opening Test of the 2013 Ashes at Trent Bridge (source – cricbuzz.com)

  Australia slumped to 53/4, at which stage Hughes arrived at the crease. With Steve Smith (53) for company, he attempted to steady the ship, but after the former’s dismissal, the innings imploded from 108-4 to 117-9. Hughes was still there when last man Ashton Agar – on debut – joined him. What followed was quite unbelievable.

   The duo went on to add a then record 163 runs for the final wicket, and it was only because of this partnership that Australia managed to narrow down the eventual margin of defeat to 14 runs. Hughes held his ground at one end, while Agar thumped his way to record score of 98 before being dismissed. Hughes remained unbeaten on 81 from 131 balls with nine fours, missing out on a well-deserved hundred.

  In the second innings, Hughes was out for a duck. The following Test at Lord’s – in which he scored 1 run in each innings – was destined to be the last time he represented his country wearing the Baggy Green.

5) 202* for Australia A v South Africa A, Darwin, 2014

  Hughes continued with his penchant of creating records when he became the first Australian to score a List A double-hundred, while playing for Australia A against South Africa A in a triangular series match at the Marrara Oval.

  Batting first, Australia A slipped to 46/3, and that was as good as it got for the opposition. Hughes, who opened the batting, smote and slashed his way to a monumental unbeaten 202, reaching his double-hundred with the last ball of the innings. In all, he faced 151 balls and hit 18 fours and 6 sixes. He added 220 runs for the fourth wicket with Moises Henriques (90) as Australia A piled up 349/4, which was enough for a 148-run win.

  Two weeks after this game, Australian captain Michael Clarke had said that he saw a bright future in Hughes, and thought of him as a ‘100-Test player’.

 *****

  Phillip Hughes died playing the game he loved, the game which we all love and which is such an integral part of our lives. For this reason alone, he will never leave our memories and his spirit will forever remain in our collective consciousness.

  I hope his final journey was a safe one, and I believe he must be filled with gratitude for the touching farewell that he was accorded.

  May his soul rest in peace.