Year in review: Cricket World's Top 5 cricketing moments of 2019
48 ODIs, 10 teams, matches played across one and half months and no clear winner at the end of it all? Lunacy, call the sensible. Ecstasy, swoon the cricket crazy.
Here's listing the top five cricketing moments of 2019 that hijacked the imagination of the cricket lovers all across the the globe and transported them to a state of trance.
The eventful World Cup final
The 2019 ODI World Cup followed a script which even Christopher Nolan could not have produced. The match had so many ebbs and flows that it literally became too exciting to bear towards the end; and ends it had many.
Chasing New Zealand's 241, England ended their innings with exactly the same score; not one more, not one less. The match then went into a super over in which both teams scored 15 runs each. England managed to win the title on account of scoring six more boundaries than New Zealand, as was revealed in the boundary count.
48 ODIs, 10 teams, matches played across one and half months and you could not get a winner at the end of it all? Lunacy, call the sensible. Ecstasy, call the cricket crazy.
Kane Williamson's WC press conference
Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson's press conference after missing the World Cup Trophy by a whisker was one to learn from. Cricket is a game of margins, we all know. We have been hearing that since we can recall, but when it actually gets that close, it's hard to put up a brave front.
"I suppose you never thought you would have to ask that question and I never thought I would have to answer it (smiling). Yeah, while the emotions are raw it is pretty hard to swallow when two teams have worked really, really hard to get to this moment in time and when sort of two attempts to separate them with a winner and a loser it still doesn't perhaps sort of shine with one side coming through, you know. It is what it is, really. The rules are there at the start," Williamson said in the post-match press conference.
It would have been very easy for him to blame the rules or call out their rotten luck. But, he did nothing of that. Like a true sportsperson, he took it on the chin and this is what will remain in the memories of cricket fans for the coming decades.
Ben Stokes 'arises' at Headingley
Australia were leading the Ashes 2019 when the caravan reached Headingley for the third Test of the series. Had England lost this one, the Urn's fate would have been decided there and then and the following two games would have become a bit insipid.
And, it appeared as if just this would happen after England dismissed Australia for 179 in the second innings and got cleaned up for 67 themselves. A comeback looked highly unlikely.
English bowlers managed to skittle Australia out for 246 in the second innings. But, a fourth innings chase of 350 + never looked possible, more so, when England were down at at 286 for 9.
Just then, out of nowhere, Ben Stokes started pounding boundaries at will. Jack Leach, like a stoic tail-ender, put a price on his wicket and Stokes ended with an unbeaten 135 - a knock that included a switch hit for a six off Nathan Lyon, a near run-out and an lbw not given by the umpire.
An England win, right after the World Cup victory, meant that Stokes went on to win the Sports person of the Year award and his ton was termed as the "best knock of all-time" by former England skipper Michael Vaughan.
Test cricket returns to Pakistan
After India and Australia had cancelled their tour of Pakistan due to security concerns, Sri Lanka were in the nation for a two-match Test series. It was the morning of March 3, 2009 when a dozen armed terrorists opened fire on the cavalcade which had the Sri Lankan team bus and the support staff van.
Eight people, including two civilians and six policemen were killed in the attack. Another 20 were injured.
It took as many as six years for Zimbabwe to tour Pakistan for any semblance of international cricket to be back in the country. However, it was when Sri Lanka toured the cricket crazy nation this year that Test cricket returned to Pakistan, completing the full circle.
Steve Smith's Ashes magic on return
When Steve Smith made a comeback to Test cricket in the opening Ashes Test at Edgbaston, it was for over a year that he had not faced quality Test bowling. Did the former Australian skipper still have it in him to face the likes of Stuart Broad in bowler-friendly conditions?
The Aussie showed that class is permanent as he amassed 774 runs from 7 innings at an average of over 110 in the Ashes, including three centuries and the highest of 211.
In the course of time, he also reclaimed his top ranking in Test match cricket. And, when someone does that after an absence of more than a year, he's worthy of making it to Cricket World's top 5 cricketing moments of 2019.
©Cricket World 2019