Moments are something which are not very long in duration but lasts in our memory forever. They create a lasting impression which holds our attention for quite a long time. The players, the field, the action, the game of cricket in itself has been consistently providing us a variety of memories which are not very easy to forget.
2015 has seen some great moments in cricketing history. Milestones being reached, records being broken, game-changing rules being introduced, amateurs turning pros, it all happened in the concluding year of 2015. Lets list the best 10, that caught our attention for a tad longer time and those new memories never actually parted ways with us –
10. West Indies out of Champions Trophy for the 1st Time
The big boys from the Caribbean would not be present in England and Wales when the top 8 ranked teams collide to play for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. It would be the first time since the inception of the tournament in 1998 when West Indies are not in the participating-8. The failed to keep their ranking at or above 8 in ICC ODI rankings of the year before September 30, 2015, resulting in their exemption from the tournament in the coming year. Bangladesh replaces the Caribbean boys, returning to the Champions Trophy circuit after 2006.
9. Afghanistan enters Top 10 ICC ODI rankings
After 138 years of cricket, Afghanistan broke through the Top 10 ICC ODI rankings of the year for 2015. Their historic win against Zimbabwe by 49 runs in Sharjah helped them jump two spots to enter the top 10 rankings for the very time. The associate team stunned the world by their stellar performance of defending a low score of 131 runs successfully against the Test playing nation.
8. Proteas in tears after choking in World Cup semis, again
After South Africa were finally looking to shred off the “chokers” tag from their shoulders, chaos strikes! A dropped catch of in-form Grant Elliot in the penultimate over. New Zealand then needed 12 runs in 6 balls, which Elliot got through easily. The South African team were all tears after the batsmen rejoiced. Most fearsome bowler of the match, Morne Morkel along with captain AB de Villiers were crying on the field as they couldn’t get their team through while they were just a catch away from progressing towards the finals. Although they are the most consistent and dangerous team around the year, they have never cleared the semi-final stage in a World Cup. Their fans stayed strong and supported them at every stage. Even after returning, their fans never criticized them but instead shared their grievances. That tag of choking still remains with the Proteas. So close yet so far!
7. England win Ashes
The British team defeated the Aussies to regain the small wooden trophy in August. Although Cook’s men are work-in-progress as the core still remains to be a new one, they beat the experienced Australian boys 3-2 in the 5-match series. England played to their advantage of being a home side and displayed great cricketing skills to come out with result-oriented matches as no match ended in a draw. The series also marked the final Test of Australian skipper Michael Clarke.
6. Bangladesh defeat top-ranked ODI teams
It seems that the underdogs are turning to be the big boys real soon. 2015 has been the year of Bangladesh as a team. For starters, they beat England in World Cup group stage match and eliminated the English team from the tournament. Then, they became unstoppable when they whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 at home. This was their first win against Pakistan in 16 years. Neighbouring country India was also send back with grievances when the men in blue faltered 2-1. If beating Asian giants was nothing, then the Tigers also defeated South Africa, the most consistent and feared teams in cricket, by a margin of 2-1 at home. Stopping them in their own backyard seems to be impossible!
5. New Zealand as finalists for 1st time
The Black Caps entered the cricket field as World Cup finalists for the very first time. Their performance as host country has been almost magical. Beating New Zealand was building up to be a mission-impossible task for other nations. The Kiwis had never advanced to the finals of ICC’s mega event as even they were considered as chokers after semi-final rivals, South Africa. But after defeating the Proteas, Brendon McCullum became the first New Zealand Captain to take his team to the finals, thereby shredding the chokers tag off their titles. Although they lost the finals, they won heart all over their world with their magical run.
4. AB de Villiers– best batsman of 2015
The World Cup saw many extraordinary innings. Numbers kept climbing and records were constantly broken. Brendon McCullum scored the fastest World Cup fifty, Martin Guptill and Chris Gayle scored a double century. All these players achieved excellent feats but there was one thing that separated them with AB de Villiers, and that is – consistency. de Villiers has been consistent in making centuries, breaking records, winning matches for his team, entertaining fans all around the world. His unusual batting style, cheeky shots, brute strength have fans going gaga from all cricket playing countries. Scoring 162 off just 66 balls is something superhumans can do and AB is definitely one of them! ICC has already done the honors of presenting him with the best ODI cricketer of the year, its time we do ours. ALL HAIL AB!
3. South Africa lost away Test series after 9 years
After 9 years of consistently beating every other team in their own backyard, South Africa had to finally taste defeat. Getting thrashed 3-0 by India in 4-match series, South Africa were down and out. Owing to maximum new players in the squad and extreme spin-favouring pitches not being suitable for their batsmen to comprehend, South Africa finally lost out to the record. Their reign of 9 years ended and the spin trio of Ashwin, Jadeja and Mishra along with the aggressive captaincy of Virat Kohli can be held responsible. Under-par performances from senior players proved costly for the Proteas.
2. All Star T20 series
Legends and veterans took the field once again but this time in USA! The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Shane Warne, Brian Lara, Sehwag, Ganguly, Kallis, Pollock, Ponting and the list goes on and on, were present in colourful jerseys once again as they played a 3-match T20 series amongst themselves. Baseball grounds were converted into cricket fields as the American crowd saw something, they had never ever experienced before and too with the best of the players of the cricketing fraternity, playing together. ICC liked and supported this venture and going by the American crowds that gathered to watch the games, they are even thinking of hosting the next ICC World T20 in America!
1. First Day/Night Test with Pink ball
Surprises keep coming from the innovative gentleman’s game of this generation. For the first time, players in whites played under the lights along with a pink ball. Australia and New Zealand locked horns in Adelaide as crowds turned out in full-strength to be a part of history. It was a cracker of a game which Australia won at the end but the success of the long game under the lights, for the very first time, was something magical. This had to be the top moment of 2015 in the cricketing world!