Tuesday 4 March 2014 

Cricket World Player Of The Week - Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke raises his bat
Michael Clarke completed his century on day two at Newlands.
© REUTERS/Mike Hutchings. Picture Supplied by Action Images
 

Last week was a busy one in international cricket with as many as nine teams in action across three different continents, making the task of picking the Cricket World Player of the Week a tricky one.

The Asia Cup produced plenty of contenders as Afghanistan became the latest team to qualify for an ICC ranking in One-Day International cricket by beating Bangladesh. However, Michael Clarke wins the award for his fantastic century against South Africa in the deciding Test in Cape Town.

Day one saw him overshadowed by an aggressive 135 from David Warner as Clarke fought a battle against Morne Morkel; the tall fast-bowler repeatedly striking him on the body with a succession of short deliveries. He emerged unbeaten, if not unscathed, to begin day two on 92. He then spent an age stranded on 99 after almost running himself out when on 98 before completing his 27th Test century. He would go on to finish on 161 before a thunderstorm stopped play and he declared Australia’s innings closed at 494 for seven.

There was also action in the Caribbean last week, with a couple of spin-friendly pitches producing a series level at one apiece ahead of Wednesday’s decider. The hosts won the first thanks to half-centuries from Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy and in spite of a debut 106 from England’s Michael Lumb. The visitors then fought back to win a low-scoring second ODI as an unbroken eighth-wicket stand of 58 between Ravi Bopara and Stuart Broad edged them over the line. That was after Simmons had again passed 50 for the West Indies and debutant left-arm spinner Stephen Parry had taken three for 32.

And, back to the Asia Cup, and Afghanistan’s historic win. Asghar Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari played starring roles to help the Afghans post a strong total after a poor start, while Mohammad Nabi took three wickets in the Bangladesh run chase.

Elsewhere, Sri Lanka have enjoyed a good tournament to date, with Kumar Sangakara (67 & 103) and Lahiru Thirmanne (102) among their batting stars and Lasith Malinga (5-52 and Sachithra Senanayake (3-41) among those putting in good performances with the ball.

Pakistan recorded a thrilling win over India thanks to Shahid Afridi’s brilliant 34 not out off 18 balls. That was after Mohammad Hafeez had set things up with a knock of 75 after he had taken two Indian wickets. Umar Akmal hit a fast-paced ton in their win over Afghanistan after getting out at a crucial moment in the match against Sri Lanka.

Bangladesh and India have both had disappointing tournaments, although that didn’t stop captains Virat Kohli and Mushfiqur Rahim hitting centuries and Shikhar Dhawan making 94.

© Cricket World 2014