Cricket in 2012 – A year in review

Cricket in 2012 - A year in review

Cricket in 2012 – A year in review

2012 witnessed some very nail-biting finishes, breath-taking performances, retirement of the greats, legendary knocks, magic with the ball and many other incidents. Here are some of the magic moments of the year:

Match of the year – India vs Sri Lanka (28th Feb, 2012)
Australia was in the finals, India had to win this match with a bonus point and to hope for Australia to beat Sri Lanka in their next match to qualify for Finals. India won the toss, elected to field first as it was a pressure match and India is good at chasing, fair enough. But, chasing a target in 50-overs to win the match and chasing a target in 40-overs to win a match with a bonus point is altogether a different thing. Sri Lanka scored 320/4 in their 50 overs, Dilshan and Sangakkara scoring a century each. So, the target for India was 321 in 40 overs to stay alive in the series. After a 54 runs opening stand in 6.2 overs by Sachin and Sehwag, India was on right track. But, it was the young-duo of Kohli and Raina who won the match for India in 36.4 overs scoring 120 runs of just 9.1 overs in their 4th wicket partnership, Malinga gave 96 runs in 7.4 overs, Kohli scored 33 of Malinga’s last 9 balls that he faced. Sri Lanka defeated Australia in next match to play final against the same and India was kicked out of the tournament, but this match, one of the best chases in ODI history is surely match of the year.

Player of the year – Michael Clarke
There was no one in contention with Australian Skipper over being the player of the year. 1595 runs in a calendar year in tests, 5 centuries, Highest score of 329, 4 double hundred (only player to do so) in an year, amazing run as a Captain- leading the team from the front. And he did it with an ever-troubling hamstring injury. There is much more to expect from this player and he is the guy to be watched in 2013.

Captain of the year – Michael Clarke
Australia played 11 tests during the year and won 7 of them, losing only 1 to SA. Michael Clarke led his team to this status, despite of the injuries of the major players. His batting record with 1595 runs in the calendar year made him Captain of the year ahead of English skipper Cook who was more than 300 runs behind Clarke and had a better squad to lead.

Team of the year – South Africa
Undoubtedly, South Africa is the team of the year. Defeating England and Australia on their home turf, getting on the top of test team ratings, being unbeaten in the tests during the year, ODI series level against England, defeating NZ and Sri Lanka in ODI series shows their consistent run throughout the year. With the best pace bowling attack and consistent batsmen, 2013 has a lot more in store from this South African Team.

Performance of the year – Michael Clarke’s 329
Australian skipper Michael Clarke made an unbeaten 329 against India during second test at SCG. When he declared on the third day, he was 5 runs short of Mark Taylor’s record of highest score made by an Australian skipper. How often you see a triple century and yeah this innings deserved to be called the performance of the year.

Comeback of the year – Marlon Samuels
Who would have expected that Marlon Samuels will ever make a return to the National side after 2008 match-fixing allegations? But, he did and did it in style whether it be tests, ODIs or T20s. He was the player West Indies was craving for so long. He showed his worth against England and he was at the top of his form during the T20 WC.

Young talent of the year – Vernon Philander
When you see a 21 year old guy with an innocuous looking action bowling alongside the likes of Steyn and Morkel and bagging of 43 wickets at a mere strike rate of 45, you know this guy has got something in him. There were many other youngsters who made name for themselves during the year including Sunil Narine, du Plesis, Clint Mckay but Philander was the outstanding performer as most of his wickets came overseas against top sides of England, Australia and New Zealand and secured him 2nd spot in ICC Test Bowlers Ranking.

Surprise of the year – West Indies winning T20 World Cup
T20 format is something Caribbeans excel in, they have got the likes of hitters like Gayle, Pollard, Sammy, Samuels who on their day can destroy any opposition bowling line up, but no one was expecting them to win the T20 WC as this West Indian side lacked consistency. They thrashed the favorites Australia by 74 runs in the Semi-final to book a spot in the final against Sri Lanka. After a shaky start, WI mounted 137 runs on the board, Samuels hitting a breath-taking78 of 56 balls. As Bravo caught Malingato dismiss SL on 101, it was Calypso….oh wait, it was Gangnam style time in Colombo.

Umpire of the year – Kumar Dharmasena
Kumar Dharmasena, except for a few wrong decisions during India-England Test series, was at his best during the calendar year. His cricketing career of 12 years for Sri Lanka came in handy during him officiating the match. He also won ICC Umpire of the year award in 2012.

Controversy of the year – Kevin Pieterson
Kevin Pieterson got into the controversy during SA-England series earlier this year which was termed as battle for the top spot in tests. He scored a 149 to save the second test for England, but he was dropped from the team as he was accused of sending texts to South African players complaining about English dressing room and players. Later on, he was selected back in to the squad against India when he apologized.

Retirement of the year – Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar, the player who defined ODI cricket, retired from the very format of the game and a golden chapter saw its end. With most of the statistical records a batman can hold including most matches, most runs, most 100s, most 50s, most runs and 100s in WC, most runs in a calendar year to his name, Master Blaster called it a day. He will be remembered as the greatest batman of all time.

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