With the southern hemisphere season now in full swing, there have been plenty of contenders from both the men’s and women’s games for this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week award.
Rohit Sharma, though, clinches it for his epic 209 in the deciding One-Day International against Australia on Saturday. Granted, his runs came in what was another ridiculously high-scoring match - spectacularly or worryingly so depending on your point of view - but nevertheless a double-hundred doesn’t happen that often in an ODI.
Despite starting slowly - his first fifty took 71 balls - he ended on 209 off only 158 balls to lead India to a mammoth 383 for six from their 50 overs. Along the way, he broke the record for the number of sixes (16) hit in an ODI innings and, along with MS Dhoni, took 115 runs from the final six overs of the innings.
That match alone produced a couple of other outstanding performances. Glenn Maxwell hit 60 off only 22 balls as a prelude to James Faulkner’s blitzkrieg century which was the fastest by an Australian and gave the tourists a sniff of victory.
The sixth match in that series had also been a run-fest, with four men hitting centuries. Australians Shane Watson and George Bailey were outdone by ones from Indians Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli as they levelled the series prior to Saturday’s decider.
Away from India, and Bangladesh whitewashed New Zealand 3-0 in an ODI series. Rubel Hossain shone in the first match by taking a hat-trick en route to figures of six for 26, while Mushfiqur Rahim and Naeem Islam both hit half-centuries. Naeem also passed 50 in the final match yesterday, while Shamsur Rahman was named man of the match for his knock of 96. Ross Taylor and Colin Munro had helped the Kiwis pass 300 by hitting 107 not out and 85 respectively.
In contrast to the series in India, Pakistan and South Africa are contesting a low-scoring series in the UAE. The Proteas won the first match by a single run thanks to a superb all-round performance from Wayne Parnell. He hit 56 from number eight to help South Africa cope with Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi sharing seven wickets and then took three for 41. Pakistan won the second match to square the series as Afridi took his second three-wicket haul in as many games.
And finally, the women’s game produced a strong contender for this week’s award. England lynchpin Sarah Taylor helped her side make up for their disappointment at losing in the final of the T20 tri-series by leading them to a 2-0 win in the ODIs. She struck an unbeaten 55 in the first game after Kate Cross had led the demolition of the West Indies batting line-up with four for 51, and then 100 on Sunday. In doing so, she helped England become the first team to beat the West Indies at home in an ODI series since 2005 when the team came under the control of the WICB.
© Cricket World 2013