21st May: Chennai Super Kings v M. Indians, 14:30 GMT
16th-20th May: 1st Test, Lord's
Choosing the winner of this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week award is a particularly tricky decision as several players have put in notable performances over the past seven days. Three batsmen have made centuries, while with the ball it has been a week for the spinners to enjoy.
Kevin Pietersen, AB de Villiers and Peter Forrest are the three centurions, with scores of 130, 106 not out and 104 respectively to their credit. Pietersen’s 130 in the final One-Day International helped his side secure a 4-0 series whitewash against Pakistan, and followed his innings of 111 not out last week. His fluent knock of 33 from 21 balls in the opening Twenty20 International then underlined the fact that he was back to his flamboyant best.
Of the other two, de Villiers’ unbeaten century guided his side to a 1-0 lead in the ODI series against New Zealand, while Forrest’s knock against Sri Lanka was his maiden hundred in national colours.
Ireland’s tour of Kenya has yielded several contenders for the award, with Ed Joyce, courtesy of an innings of 88 in the 2nd of the two ODIs followed by scores of 24 and 38 in two low-scoring Twenty20 Internationals the pick of the batsmen; and spinners Shem Ngoche (four for 14 in the third T20I) and George Dockrell (eight wickets at 8.63) making the most of the conditions on offer.
However, after much deliberation, it is Graeme Swann who takes this week’s award. His bowling figures of three for 13 and two for 17 in the first two Twenty20 Internationals against Pakistan may not immediately stand out as award-winning contributions, but put it against the performances of the other five spinners used in the series by both teams and it suddenly looks a lot better. Messrs Ajmal, Afridi and co. have taken six wickets at a combined average of 32.33 from the two matches, with Swann’s haul of five wickets at an average of six far superior.
The off-spinner has looked a much better bowler than he did during the Test and ODI series – where he was outbowled at times by both Monty Panesar and Samit Patel – and has found appreciable drift, as well as turn, in both matches.
Overall, his statistics in Twenty20 Internationals – where he has taken 37 wickets at an average of 16.81 and an economy rate of 6.54 – have seen him placed fifth in the ICC’s official player rankings for the format.
© Cricket World 2012
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