From Azhar Ali’s brain fade run out to Virat Kohli’s brilliance, we’ve picked top five moments from the world of cricket in 2018
As we enter the year 2019, there will be a lot of optimism in every field. But before looking forward, as a true cricket fan, we will like to take a look back on crazy 12 months where a lot of things happened — some good and some bad.
Therefore, we pick five memorable moments from the last 12 months from the world of cricket which can surely prove you why this sport is the second-most famous in the world.
Virat Kohli is being termed as one of the modern great in the shorter formats as he has the knack of playing crucial knocks in tough circumstances. But in the year 2018, Kohli has emerged as one of the very best in the white-ball cricket as well as he played arguably two best innings of the calendar year. First of those came early in the year against mighty South Africa during the second Test in Centurion, where he top-scored with breathtaking 153 off 217 balls with the help of 15 fours out of the total of 307 in bowler-friendly conditions. Second of those knocks came in August later in the year, where once again, Kohli played a sublime knock of 149 off 225 balls out of the team’s total of 274 in Edgbaston against England. Even though India went on to lose that match, Kohli’s knock was still selected as the best innings of the year 2018 by Wisden.
4: Bangladesh women team creating history
Bangladesh cricket has made incredible gains in the sport in the last five years, and many believes those gains were limited to men’s cricket team only. However, in 2018, Bangladesh’s women cricket team produced arguably the greatest upset of the year as they clinched the Asia Cup by beating favourties India in the final. It was a massive triumph by every stretch of imagination as the team started the tournament as one of the minnows, but their eventual successful is something which will be cherished for a very long time.
3- Ball-tampering scandal
Next in the list of memorable moments of 2018 features the infamous ball-tampering scandal, which rocked the cricketing world. On March 24, during the third Test between South Africa and Australia, young Cameron Bancroft was recorded on camera using yellow object, which he took out from his trousers pocket. After the end of play on the third day, Australia captain Steven Smith, in a press conference, accepted the decision to use that object on the ball was pre-planned. Following that incident, Australia cricket team received severe criticism from different parts of the world, which led Cricket Australia to hand bans of nine and 12 months to Bancroft, captain Smith and his deputy David Warner. All three players brokedown during press talk on their return to Australia after the match and asked for apology from cricket fans within the country and all over the world. Regardless of whether the trio will return to cricket or not, the chapter will surely be remembered as one of the darkest in the history of Australian cricket.
2- Pakistan’s collapse against New Zealand
Second in the list of memorable moments was by far the most embarrassing collapse of the year, which came from Pakistan in the first Test against New Zealand in the recently concluded three-Test series. While chasing a 176-run target to go 1-0 up in the three-match series, the Green Caps were cruising after reaching 130 for the loss of three wickets. But somehow, Sarfraz Ahmed-led unit lost their last seven wickets for just 41 runs and were bundled out for 171. It was the kind of collapse which was astronomical even from Pakistan’s own standards, and it will be hard to understand how and why it all happened in those crazy 1.5 hours.
1- Azhar Ali brain fade moment
Pakistan veteran middle-order batsman Azhar Ali had a mix year with the bat. But 2018 year will be remembered by Azhar and his fans not for his batting, but for his bizarre run out during the first Test against New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). During the hot weather in the middle-east country, the right-hander hit the ball through the gully region and just stopped running assuming the ball will definitely go over the line. However, the ball stopped just inches from the boundary line, New Zealand fielder sensed an opportunity and throw the ball to the keeper who removed the bail in an instance as Azhar with his senior partner Asad Shafiq was having a very detailed discussion in the middle of the pitch. The incident becomes even more incredible considering Azhar and Asad collectively have played more than 130 Tests. Following the incident, everyone including Azhar, Shafiq, Pakistan dressing room and even the opponents remained shocked over the development. Regardless of all the ups and downs in the year, this by far remains the most memorable moment from the cricketing world in 2018, something which no one can forget for some time to come.
Pakistan cricketer Umar Akmal picks his all-time Pakistan ODI XI. Interviewer: Muhammad Yousaf18/Nov/2019