There are multiple contenders for this week's Cricket World Player of the Week award from across the cricketing spectrum. All 10 ICC Full Members have been in action at some point over the past seven days, while the Associate and Affiliate cricket world has come alive as the ICC Intercontinental Cup and World Cricket League Championship continued in the UAE.
It is from that largely ignored and unheralded corner of the game that this week’s player of the week comes. In the Intercontinental Cup match between Scotland and Afghanistan, Afghan fast-bowler Izatullah Dawlatzai returned match figures of 11 for 94 to help his side leapfrog Scotland into second in the table.
Dawlatzai, a 21 year-old from Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province which borders Pakistan, took six for 57 in Scotland’s first innings as they were dismissed for just 125. He then shared nine wickets with fellow quick-bowler Dawlat Zadran in their second innings, taking five for 37 to subject the Saltires to an innings defeat.
Kenya’s 20 year-old opener Irfan Karim was the other stand-out player from the UAE last week. He hit scores of 65 and 112 as his side won the two World Cricket League Championship matches against Canada. The competition serves as a qualifying tournament for the 2015 ICC World Cup.
Other good performances from the UAE include the centuries by Ireland trio William Porterfield, Niall O’Brien and Ed Joyce in their drawn Intercontinental Cup match against the home side, for whom skipper Khurram Khan also reached three figures.
Dawlatzai’s main opponent for this week’s award was Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan, who hit the fastest century by a debutant in the third Test against Australia. He reached three figures off only 85 balls to beat Dwayne Smith’s effort for the West Indies against South Africa in 2004 by eight deliveries. Dhawan’s huge stand with fellow opener Murali Vijay was instrumental in setting up India’s eventual series-clinching victory.
Over in South Africa, AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla both hit centuries to help the Proteas make just enough to withstand a Shahid Afridi onslaught off 88 off 48 balls to win the third ODI. The second ODI featured a haul of four for 33 from Mohammad Irfan as Pakistan won by six wickets.
Shane Shillingford took nine wickets to help demolish Zimbabwe in the first Test in Barbados. His six second innings wickets helped dismiss the tourists for just 107. Another spinner who took five wickets last week was Rangana Herath in Bangladesh’s first innings in Colombo. Also in that Test, there were hundreds for Kumar Sangakkara and Dinesh Chandimal.
And finally, the rain-ruined second Test between England and New Zealand produced two centurions - Nick Compton and Jonathan Trott - for the visitors, while Stuart Broad looked back to his best in taking six New Zealand wickets, requiring them to follow-on before the Wellington weather intervened.
© Cricket World 2013
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