Top 5 cricketers of the week: 10th January to 16th January

Cricket Australia Winter Series Final : News Photo
Jadhav dismantled the English bowling

This week, we had three sensational games, all three throwing up results that were rather unexpected.

India prevailed over England in a humdinger that involved more than 700 runs being scored in a match. Bangladesh entered the record books for the wrong reason as the team to score the highest Test total in a loss after their second innings debacle cost them the match, not to mention some brilliant batting by the Kiwis.

Pakistan defeated Australia in the second ODI at the MCG, their first win in Australia against Australia in 12 years. Obviously, great results can only be conjured by great performances and we have singled out five from the three top matches of the week – a Test and two ODIs.

Four of the five performances came in brilliant victories while one ended up, painfully, on the losing side!

#1 Kedar Jadhav

Kedar Jadhav walked into a lost cause in the first ODI against England at Pune. The impossibility of the situation when India were 63 for 4 was so glaring that no one believed India could win, even with Virat Kohli still there.

But Jadhav eased the pressure off his captain in his 13th ODI, scoring his second international century. Jadhav added a blistering 200 for the fifth wicket, matching Kohli shot for shot and at one point dominating the partnership with calculated risks that always kept the run-rate under control.

His 76-ball 120 with 12 fours and 4 sixes amazed even Kohli. Jadhav battled cramps, to score the sixth-fastest ODI century by an Indian. By the time he was dismissed, India needed just 60 off 61 balls, from an original rate of 7. He deservedly won the Player of the Match award ahead of Kohli, who scored a sublime 122 himself. That is some accomplishment!

#2 Virat Kohli

New Zealand v India ODI: ANZ International Series v India : News Photo
Kohli notched up yet another century

In his first ODI as full-time captain, Kohli was up against a mountain, but the man refuses to give up. Kohli, along with Jadhav, kept the run-rate in check in one of the best counter-attacks in recent years.

Scoring at a strike-rate of 116.19, the Indian skipper ensured India came within touching distance of the victory and also kept giving Jadhav the motivation he needed. What’s more, Kohli’s 122 was his 15th ODI century in a successful chase, the most by any batsman, breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record.

He has also equalled Sachin’s tally of 17 centuries in the second innings of a match. Kohli walked in at 13 for 1 after 4 overs and when he departed, India were just 88 away with 13.4 overs left. The 28-year-old hit eight fours and five sixes during his innings, including a front foot, high elbow jab over cow corner off a short delivery, which has gone viral owing to the elegance and ease with which he pulled it off.

#3 Tom Latham

New Zealand v Bangladesh - 1st Test: Day 4 : News Photo
Latham was at his best for New Zealand

At Basin Reserve, Wellington, Bangladesh were probably nursing hopes of winning a historic away Test against New Zealand at the end of the second day. Bangladesh posted a massive 595 in their first innings but thanks to Tom Latham, New Zealand salvaged themselves from a tricky situation.

Latham scored 177 helping New Zealand reach 539, just 56 short of the Bangladesh score. On what looked like a reasonably flat pitch in a match that was heading for a draw, Bangladesh capitulated under pressure in their second innings, to be dismissed for 160 in just 57.5 overs.

The Kiwis chased down the target of 217 thanks to a Kane Williamson century. But Latham deservedly won the Player of the Match award for making the win even remotely possible. The southpaw put on three half-century partnerships and a century partnership having opened the innings and departed at 398 for 6. This was the 24-year old’s sixth Test century.

#4 Shakib Al Hasan

New Zealand v Bangladesh - 1st Test: Day 2 : News Photo
Shakib broke records in his monumental innings

Shakib Al Hasan, in the first Test against New Zealand, made 217, the highest by a Bangladesh batsman. He also joined an elite club of nine players who have a 7-for in Tests and a double century. However, this is also in the top ten individual scores in a loss, Bangladesh’s 595 being the highest total by a team in a losing cause.

Shakib amassed his 217 in just 276 balls with 31 fours. He took Bangladesh from a not-so-great situation at 160 for 4 (when Mushfiqur joined him) to 519 for 5, by which time Bangladesh were genuinely nursing hopes of an overseas win.

He added 359 for the fifth wicket with Mushfiqur Rahim who scored 159. Shakib also picked two wickets in New Zealand’s innings including the prized wicket of Tom Latham.

#5 Kane Williamson

New Zealand v Bangladesh - 1st Test: Day 5 : News Photo
The run machine ploughed on

New Zealand’s skipper scored 53 in their first innings adding 77 for the second wicket with Tom Latham. But, he was far from being done. Williamson, who marshalled his resources well enough to make an unbelievable victory seem possible, led New Zealand’s chase, scoring 104 in their second innings in just 90 balls.

That unbeaten century in the fourth innings on the final day made it possible for New Zealand to chase down 217 in just 39.4 overs after Bangladesh collapsed on for 160. This is the 26-year old’s 15th Test century and he now averages 50.57 in Tests, just 195 short of 5000 Test runs.

In the chase, Williamson helped New Zealand recover from a poor start at 39 for 2 in the 12th over, adding 163 for the third wicket with Ross Taylor (60), in just 152 balls.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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