The Cricingif writers give out their picks for the best of 2017.
Test: “Why did he do that?!” The series decider between West Indies and Pakistan is on the top of my list. A stubborn Roston Chase did all he could to deny Pakistan their maiden series victory in the Caribbean but the drama which unfolded on the last ball of the penultimate over of the match meant history was eventually made.
ODI: The Champions Trophy final! You can argue all you want about the match being a one sided affair etc etc but for me and every Pakistani no other ODI this year can beat the magic of the final.
T20I: 62 T20Is were played this year. I only remember three out of those sixty-two. The World XI series will stay with me for a very, very long time.
ODI: India vs New Zealand at Wankhede. India posted on a huge total but the surgical precision with which Tom Latham and Ross Taylor chased down this total was why I really felt it was the game of the year.
Test: India vs Australia at Bangalore. India were 1-0 down in the series, and were all out for 189 in the first innings before Australia batted really well in their first innings to take a sizeable lead. Then came the knock between Ajinkya Rahane and Chetashwar Pujara which gave India a chance to make a game out of it and that’s what the spinners did,giving India a 75 run win to level the series.
T20: Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune SuperGiant. Mumbai Indians had to defend the lowest ever IPL final total if they wanted to win their 3rd IPL trophy> To make it happen they would have to bowl out of their skins and that’s what they did. Chasing 130 runs to win in a T20 game is a cakewalk for most sides, but the Mumbai bowlers ensured it was not easy and in the end they managed to hold their nerves and deliver a memorable win which saw them become the most successful IPL franchise.
T20: Imagine if PSL didn’t exist; how on earth would we have watched Lahore Qalandar’s otherwise explosive batting line up on paper be restricted for 59 runs - probably the most fun match they’ve been involved in considering all aspects; from cricket to entertainment (for rival fans)
ODI: The all important Indo-Pak final at ICC CT ‘17 - without a shadow of doubt has been the most enthralling ODI contest of the year for me. From being thrashed by India in their first encounter of the campaign to avenging the thrashing - an unforgettable match!
Test: The 1st Test match at Pune of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy is the one. Steve Smith not only demonstrated a how-to-play-spin masterclass given the unfamiliar turning conditions where even the home side was humbled to nothing totals in both innings. Smith led his team from front as Australia recorded a thumping victory over India, becoming the first team to have beaten India for the first time at home soil in 4 years.
2017 has flown by - it has had more milestones for Pakistan cricket than you could have imagined.Perhaps the most fitting one was Pakistan’s first Test Series win in West Indies, a perfect send off for Misbah ul Haq & Younis Khan. With 7 balls remaining, Pakistan fans were reminded of all those painful memories in the Caribbean - that Saqlain Mushtaq run-out miss, Wasim Akram’s loud appeals ignored, Jimmy Adams rather shamelessly walking before holding his ground. It was happening again, maybe Pakistan weren’t destined to ever triumph in West Indies, maybe Younis & Misbah weren’t going to get the send off they deserved but then came a moment of madness from Shannon Gabriel. Yasir floated one outside off on Younis’ advice & Gabriel dragged it on to his stumps. Misbah & Younis were carried off the field on their teammates’ shoulders much like they both carried Pakistan cricket’s revival in UAE.