Top 5 cricketers of the week - January 23 to January 28

Moeen Ali suffocated India with his offies(Image: SkySports)

It was largely a good week for visiting teams. Four matches were played during this week. In the first T20I between India and England, the visitors thumped India at Kanpur by 7 wickets in a one-sided match of sorts.

Sri Lanka pulled off a stunning heist in the penultimate ball of the third T20I against South Africa at Cape Town to register a come-from-behind series win in T20s after being handed a thorough beating in the Tests. At least, they won’t return home empty-handed, even though their defeat in the first ODI against South Africa would be particularly deflating.

Pakistan succumbed to a fourth consecutive ODI loss against Australia at the Adelaide Oval to lose the series 1-4.

As usual, there were some sensational performances. Eoin Morgan, Imran Tahir, Babar Azam and Travis Head miss out despite turning in sublime performances. Here are the top 5 players of the week:

#5 Moeen Ali – 2/21 v India, Kanpur

In a Player of the Match performance, Moeen Ali’s innocuous off-spin helped England stifle and suffocate India as they managed to post only 147 in the first T20I. Ali picked up the big wickets of Virat Kohli and later, Manish Pandey, ending the evening as the only bowler to go at less than 6 per over from either side.

Chasing the modest target, England romped home in just 18.1 overs, with Eoin Morgan consolidating his return to form with a blistering 38-ball 51 that included four sixes. Yuzvendra Chahal also registered fine figures of 2-27 in his 4fourovers, although that couldn’t help India’s cause, no thanks to their expensive fast bowlers.

#4 AB de Villiers – 63 (44) v Sri Lanka, Cape Town

South Africa v Sri Lanka - 1st One Day International : News Photo
AB is back!

AB de Villiers marked a sensational comeback to international cricket after a reasonably long injury lay-off with a fluent 63 that included two fours and three characteristic sixes. AB360 added 71 for the second wicket with Reeza Hendricks in nine overs and looked set to push South Africa to a massive score.

However, South Africa lost their steam because of quick wickets and ended up with a par score of 169, which Sri Lanka managed to chase down, albeit with some drama. Nevertheless, for fans of AB, his innings was a real treat, with many memorable strokes being played including his trademark sweep off a fast bowler.

#3 Seekkuge Prasanna – 37*(16) and 1/21 v South Africa, Cape Town

Prasanna blasted his side to victory

Niroshan Dickwella might have won the Player of the Match and Player of the Series awards with his consistency at the top of the innings but it was Prasanna, who pulled off a stunning chase against South Africa in the third T20I helping Sri Lanka win the T20I series 2-1.

Sri Lanka were 116 for 3 after 15.2 overs when Prasanna arrived at the crease, his team needing 54 in 28 balls. He smashed 3 fours and 3 sixes in a 16-ball blitzkrieg. His 37* ensured Sri Lanka managed to chase down 170 in 19.5 overs. Prasanna also picked up a wicket in his three overs, ending up as Sri Lanka’s second most economical bowler on the day.

#2 Mitchell Starc – 4/42 v Pakistan, Adelaide Oval

Australia v Pakistan - 5th ODI : News Photo
Starc accounted for both of Pakistan’s openers

In the fifth ODI between Australia and Pakistan, a total of 681 runs were scored, both teams managing 300+ totals. In such a game, Australia’s premier left-arm quick returned figures of 4/42 in 9.1 overs, including the big wickets of both Pakistan openers, Azhar Ali and Sharjeel Khan along with that of Mohammad Hafeez.

Starc landed death blows on Pakistan, picking up Sharjeel and Hafeez in alternate overs to derail their chase. Starc ended the series as Australia’s highest wicket-taker picking up 9 wickets at 18.11 with an economy rate of 4.77, the lowest for any bowler in the series.

#1 David Warner – 179 (128) v Pakistan, Adelaide Oval

Warner entered the record books with his blistering century

Warner equalled Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most number of 150+ scores in ODIs, smashing a 128-ball 179 against Pakistan in the fifth and final ODI of the series. Warner was looking good for a double century with plenty of time on his hands, but he eventually fell in the 42nd over.

This was his second century of the series enabling him to win the Player of the Match as well as Player of the Series trophies. Australia managed to post 369 thanks to Warner’s knock winning the match comfortably by 57 runs.

Warner also entered the record books for most tons in a season – 6 in 2016/17. The Australian vice-captain, who won the Allan Border Medal this year, has pushed his ODI average to 44.84 in 91 matches, nearing 4000 runs at a strike-rate of 96.85.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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