Monday, January 2, 2017

The Twenty16 Lineup

We are just a couple of days into 2017. And the cricketing action is already in full gear with South Africa-Sri Lanks Test matches, Big Bash League and Ranji Trophy semi-finals and that most intriguing off-field battle between Supreme Court and BCCI underway But before we move too far ahead, Slipstream Cricket continues its annual tradition of picking the year's cricketing moments to remember.

1. 6, 6, 6, 6 – Carlos Brathwaite – Remember the name
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. And Carlos Brathwaite certainly came big time. With 19 needed off the last over in the World T20 finals, Brathwaite hammers 4 consecutive sixes to win the game with 2 balls to spare. "Remember the name", boomed Ian Bishop from the commentary box.Ben Stokes certainly wouldn't be forgetting this one. 

2. Speech of the Year - Darren Sammy
The West Indies men and women had just won the T20 World Cups. Just weeks after their Under-19 team had also become World Champions. The skipper, Darren Sammy, chose this moment to bare his heart out to the world. It was quite a damning indictment of the West Indies Cricket Board. And this was the last time Sammy has played for the West Indies.

3. Going Out on a High - Brendon McCullum
The much loved Kiwi skipper decided to hang up his boots and give his back a rest from the wear and tear of international cricket. And did he bow out in style by smashing the record for the fastest century in Test cricket. It wasn't enough to prevent a defeat to the Aussies, but it was a fitting farewell to the man who really launched the IPL with his blazing bat.

4. Celebrations of the Year - Misbah-ul-Haq
He is now well past 40.Yet when he gets a century he celebrates by doing push-ups on the ground. We all know the end is nigh, but will Misbah to go on and on. After all he is the senior statesman the world cricket needs.

5. And they all fall down 
Win toss, bat first, score over 400 and still contrive to lose, by an innings. Happened only twice in over 2200 Tests till November 2016. In December, happened thrice, England twice and Pakistan once. The 3rd innings collapse became the new statement.

6. The Run Machine - Virat Kohli
Regardless of the format, Tests, ODI, T20I, IPL, the Virat Kohli run machine just kept chugging on. All tricky chases turned formulaic. India's batting revolved around one single man. And he kept delivering, time and again. The only batsman to have an average of 50+ in all three formats of the international game.

7. The Year of Comebacks
2016 started with Ashish Nehra opening the bowling for India after 4 years, somewhere in the middle Gautam Gambhir opened the batting after 3 years and capping off the year of comebacks, Parthiv Patel was keeping wickets for India in Tests after 8 years. And all of them doing a decent job. At this rate we might get to see Munaf Patel and RP Singh leading the Indian attack soon. 

8. The run-outs
The batsmen trying to sneak a run. The fielding team taking the ball and breaking the stumps just before he makes it to the ground. No better sight in cricket. And this year we had two memorable efforts - Dhoni preventing a last gasp Bangladeshi win and Temba Bavuma acrobatically running out David Warner.

9. Doing it all by yourself - Shania Lee-Swart
You see weird scorecards and then you see one person making 160 runs in a team total of 169. 

Isn't cricket supposed to be a team sport?

10. Contest of the Year
Unfortunately for the fans this wasn't played out on the field. The BCCI's attempts at revamping itself haven't satisfied the Supreme Court. The Board gave an inch when it was asked a mile. The shadow boxing continued all year long. Finally the Lodha committee had the last laugh, with the new year beginning with the suspension of current administration. Lets see how 2017 pans out in this legal battle.

11. 1009 Not Out
How does someone score 1009 runs in a single innings. Albeit it was school cricket, played in a smallish ground against a junior popgun attack, but Pranav Dhanawade managed to break the 1000 run barrier in a single innings. His later goings on haven't been exactly cricket though!

12. And for the 12th Man
Dwayne John Bravo took his DJ initals very seriously. And came up with the Champion song, where he put in his own name along with the likes of Nelson Mandela!!! Well it is his song. It did become the de facto celebration of the cricketing world.

That was cricketing year 2016. Now lets see what 2017 has in store for us!!!

Wishing all readers a very Happy New Year 2017 !!!

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