2015 was the year of ICC Cricket World Cup. So it was very obvious that many top-class ODI (One-day international) matches were played this year. It was not easy to choose top 5 ODIs in this year as so many great matches had been played. But some of them were very special.
Those top five matches are described briefly in the following.
5. India vs South Africa (Kanpur, 11th October): – This was the opening game of the 5 match ODI series between India and South Africa played in India. After winning the toss, South Africa decided to bat first. With a century knock from the skipper AB de Villiers (104), along with a half-century from Faf du Plessis and a quick-fire knock from Farhaan Behardien in the slog overs, the visitors managed 303/5 in the 50 overs.
In reply, the 149 run partnership for the 2nd wicket between Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane made the chase easier for the hosts. But once the duo got out, the hosts found tough scoring the runs. Rohit Sharma scored 150 runs before the dismissal in the 47th over. In the final over, India needed 11 runs with 5 wickets in hands and the specialist finisher Mahendra Singh Dhoni was at the crease. Protease youngster Kagiso Rabada bowled terrifically well in the final over and grabbed the wickets of Dhoni and Stuart Binny, giving away just 5 runs. South Africa won the first match by just 5 runs and their skipper was awarded man of the match for his outstanding knock.
4. Ireland vs Zimbabwe (Hobart, 7th March): – It was one of the best ODI matches in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. It was a very important match especially for the Ireland as it was the must win game for them to remain in the fighting for the spot of 2015 World Cup quarter-final. After winning the toss, Zimbabwe sent Ireland to the bat first. With the knocks of Ed Joyce’s 112 and Andy Balbirnie’s 97, Ireland put a mammoth total of 331 runs for the loss of 8 wickets in the 50 overs.
Chasing down 332 runs, Zimbabwe top order collapsed at the beginning before the huge partnership between the skipper Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams. Taylor and Williams brought back Zimbabwe on the track and showed a dream to win the match. But finally, Zimbabwe failed 6 runs short from the target as they were all-out at 326 runs in the 49.3 overs. Taylor scored 121 runs and Williams hit 96 runs. For the Ireland, Alex Cusack picked up important 4 wickets to help the team to a thrilling win. Ed Joyce was selected the man of the match award.
3. South Africa vs West Indies (Port Elizabeth, 25th January): – It was the 4th ODI of the five-match ODI series. The hosts South Africa had already secured the series by winning first 3 ODIs. After winning the toss, the Caribbean team decided to bowl first. Despite the early top-order collapse, David Miller’s unbeaten 130-run knock helped the Proteas team put 262 runs on the board.
In reply, the visitors also faced an early top-order collapse in the front of tested bowling line-up. But the decent middle-order performances kept the visitors in the fight. West Indies’ 9th wicket fell at 239 runs in the 48th overs. With the 14 runs needed for the last wicket to win the match, Andre Russell got WI past finishing-line single-handedly before the end of the 49th over. Russell remained not out at 64 runs and was awarded player of the match.
2. New Zealand vs South Africa (Auckland, 24th March) :- It was the most emotional cricket match of the year. It was the first semi-final of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, where South Africa decided to bat first after winning the toss. In a rain-interrupted match, South Africa scored 281 runs for the loss of 5 wickets in 43 overs. Faf du Plessis (82) scored the highest runs for South African innings. As per D/L method, the target was 298 runs in the 43 overs.
In chasing down the revised target of 298 runs, New Zealand skipper McCullum started with a bang and hit a breezy fifty. After his dismissal, the wickets were falling at the regular intervals before the important and steady partnership between Grant Elliott and Cory Anderson. In the last stages, the match entered in the very interesting period. New Zealand needed 12 runs in the final over which they successfully made with 1 ball remaining. Elliot remained unbeaten at 84 runs and was selected the man of the match. Some nervous moments deprived the match to the South African as they missed some important run-outs and catches. New Zealand went into the Cricket World Cup final for the first time, where South Africa failed to break the World Cup semi-final jinx, once again!
1. New Zealand vs Australia (Auckland, 28th February ):- Undoubtedly it was the best match in 2015. It was the group match in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. Australia won the toss and decided to bat first. With Trent Boult’s terrific fifer, New Zealand wrapped up the Australian innings for just 151 runs in the 33rd overs. Brad Haddin (43) scored the highest runs in that Australian innings.
In reply, New Zealand started the chase of the tiny total in style. The match was looking one-sided after Brendon McCullum made a quick fire fifty. But once McCullum got out, New Zealand batting line-up collapsed dramatically in the front of Australian pacer Mitchell Starc’s furious spell. He grabbed 6 wickets but was just an inch away from a memorable win as New Zealand won the match by just one wicket, thanks to the Kane Williamson’s undefeated innings. He finished the match by hitting a six in the first ball in the 24th over. Kiwi bowler Trent Boult was selected the man of the match in this close encounter.
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