It has certainly been a good week for the world’s batsmen, led by the record-breaking events in India, and accompanied by three centuries in the Test between Pakistan and South Africa in the UAE.
However, it is a man who made only 64 who wins this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week award. The reason? A simple one: without it his side would have comprehensively lost.
James Faulkner smashed 30 from a single over from Ishant Sharma to get the whole cricket world talking and help Australia edge ahead in the a series many thought they would comfortably lose against the world champions at home. Australia needed 44 from the final three overs in Mohali with only four wickets in hand and looked dead and buried. Faulkner, though, had other ideas and turned the match in the tourists’ favour in the space of six deliveries. The first ball of the over from Sharma went for four, with four of the next five clearing the ropes. Faulkner finished on 64 off only 29 balls as Australia won with three balls to spare.
Just three days earlier, Virat Kohli had made history by hitting the fastest century by an Indian batsman to help his side complete the second highest ODI run chase of all time. However, it could be argued, that the some of the hard work had already been done. He came to the crease after openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan had added 176 in 26 overs. George Bailey had earlier helped Australia post 359 for five by hitting 92 not out off only 50 balls.
Pakistan’s unexpected win over South Africa produced one expected and one more unexpected centurion. Misbah-ul-Haq - Pakistan’s Mr. Reliable despite some of the criticism sometimes hurled at him by his countrymen - hit 100 in their first innings 442. However, it was Khurram Manzoor who caused South Africa the most problems; ones they probably wouldn’t have anticipated.
Historically, finding two batsmen to start the innings has been Pakistan’s Achilles’ heel. However, Manzoor and debutant Shan Masood put on 135 to blunt the most potent new-ball attack in world cricket. Manzoor went onto make 146 and totally overshadowed an earlier century from South Africa’s Mr. Reliable Hashim Amla.
And finally, Anisa Mohammed and Shaquana Quintyne each returned five-wicket hauls as West Indies Women won their two opening matches in the tri-series featuring England and New Zealand.
© Cricket World 2013