As the year 2015 comes to an end , we at Essentially Sports bring to you the best ODI matches that took place this year
This historic match featuring the minnows took place at Brisbane during the World Cup which happens to be the ultimate stage for minnows to showcase their talent. UAE and Ireland were two of those teams. UAE batting first posted 278 runs on the board in which Shaiman Anwar was the highest contributor with a well built 106. Ireland came back strongly in the second innings with both the top and middle order contributing. The O’Brien brothers accelerated the scoring rate by hitting boundaries regularly. Needing just 3 runs to win from 6 balls with 2 wickets remaining, Dockrell scored the winning runs by hitting a boundary to beat UAE with 2 wickets in hand.
The 2 teams continued their ashes rivalry in the limited overs as well and it was seen at Hobart. Australia won the toss and put England into bat. England made the most of this opportunity and put up a competitive total of 303, with Ian Bell scoring a flambuoyant 141. Then Australia hammered the English bowlers to get the crowd going. A hundred from Captain Steven Smith and a cameo from keeper/batsman Brad Haddin meant they were on the way towards a memorable victory. The drama continued as a wicket fell, but Australia gradually winning the match by taking 3 singles.
Afghanistan toured Zimbabwe as the match took place at Bulawayo. They won the toss and chose to bat first. Zimbabwean seamers who knew the conditions well and exploited the conditions to their advantage as underdogs Afghanistan could score a mere 223 runs out of their 50 overs. Zimbabwe started off to a flying start but kept losing wickets at regular intervals giving back the advantage to Afghanistan. Mutumbami played well for his 74 and other middle-order batsmen kept on building around it. Even though the target was of just 223 runs, Afghanistan made a match out of it and took it to the last over. Zimbabwe needed just 3 runs of the last over as Sikandar hit a six of the 4th ball to win it for the home team by 6 wickets.
It was the World Cup time and in this edition of the world cup the underdogs proved their mettle and showed the world they were ready to compete with the big boys. Ireland and Zimbabwe played each other in a group stage match at Hobart. Winning the toss and deciding to field, Ireland ended up getting 331 runs, Ed Joyce helped them attain the total as he smashed his way to a 112 thereby laying the foundation of this huge total while Andrew Balbirnie who scored 97 who missed out on a well-deserved century supported him.
Though the Zimbabwean top-order failed, the middle-order batsmen took the fight back to Ireland with B Taylor contributing 121 n.o. and S Williams 96 runs. After their 149-run stand was broken, the lower order rose up to the occasion with their cameo roles. In the last over 7 runs were required with 2 wickets in hand. The last 2 wickets fell in the final over with just 2 runs being scored and Ireland won by 5 runs.
During West Indies’ 3 match tour of Sri Lanka a historic match was witnessed at Colombo. It was a low-scoring and rain-hit one with just 26 overs per side. Andre Russell who scored 41 off 24 and Jason Holder who scored 36 of 13 starred in the almost T20 encounter as West Indies managed to score 159 runs. Lakmal was the pick of the bowlers ending up with figures of 5-0-15-3. Starting off well, Sri Lanka were 120-4 after 15.4 overs and were destined to win.
But the boys from the Carribean islands made the going get tough for them as they lost 5 wickets for just 32 runs. Needing just 11 off the last 2 overs with one wicket in hand, Sri Lanka looked to be under pressure. But as fate would have it bowler Johnson Charles bowled a no-ball and gave away a free-hit off the penultimate bowl of the over. 5 were needed of the remaining 7 balls including a free-hit, when Ajantha Mendis slogged the ball to the stands for a six as Sri Lanka won with just 1 wicket remaining.
Not many had expected that Zimbabwe could match the big boys from the subcontinent when India toured Zimbabwe. The Indians led by Rahane took on an experienced Zimbabwean side at Harare and were given a fight, they never expected. Putting the opposition to bat, Zimbabwe did a brilliant job of restricting the relatively inexperienced team of India to 255 runs.
A century and half century by Rayudu and Binny respectively helped India to get to a respectable total as other batsmen failed to get in the double-digits except captain Rahane (34). A century from captain Chigumbura and small cameos from other players kept Zimbabwe in the hunt. The home team needed 10 off the last over with 3 wickets remaining to pull-off this upset. But Bhuvaneshwar Kumar swung the match in India’s favour and saw India defend their total by letting just 5 runs being scored with his swing bowling.
World Cup magic continued at Dunedin as the minnows provided matches which went down-to-the-wire thus entertaining their fans. Scotland scored 210 runs of the allotted 50 overs . The second innings was no different as wickets kept on falling . But Ahmadi whose patient 51 provided stability from one end till Shenwari came along and struck 96 to pave way for a famous victory. Afghanistan needed 5 off the last over with 1 wicket in hand. Then tailender Zadran smashed the third ball of the over for four as Afghanistan won the thriller match with 1 wicket remaining.
World Cup Hosts New Zealand and Australia played in a group-stage match at Auckland . It was a low-scoring game as Australia were bowled out for a paltry 151. Trent Boult was on fire as a bowled a great spell which proved to be the main cause for destruction as he picked up 5 Aussie wickets in the process. Everyone had written the Aussies off but Australia made a match out of it.
The Aussie pacers reduced New Zealand from 78/2 to79/4 to put the black caps under pressure. After some stability was added to the batting they reached 131/5, but again they were reduced to 145/7. 7 runs were required from 28 overs with 3 wickets in hand and New Zealand were on their way to win this match when Starc delayed it by picking up 2 quick wickets. New Zealand fans rejoiced when a six off the first ball of the next over took the Kiwis over the finishing line and they won with just 1 wicket remaining.
South Africa were bowled out for 262 runs at Port Elizabeth with David Miller remaining not out at 130. The West Indies openers failed to deliver in the start but the middle order kept them going. West Indies required 7 runs with 1 wicket remaining off 2 overs. Andre Russell came to the rescue of the West Indies as he hit a four and then smashed a six to end the game within 3 balls and hand over a memorable win to the West Indies with by 1 wicket
Semi-finals of 2015 World Cup played at Auckland was a game where the crowd were thoroughly entertained. With rain washing away 7 overs from each innings of the 50-over format, South Africa played well to set New Zealand a target of 281 in 43 overs. Swashbuckling hitting from Brendon McCullum and stability provided at the other end from Elliot meant New Zealand took it to the last over. 12 runs were required from the last over. It was Steyn versus Vettori . The legendary spinner did the unthinkable as he struck a four and six of the 3rd and 5th ball to book a final berth.