Editor’s Pick: International Cricket returned with a bang

After months of uncertainty, international cricket returned in full swing during the last week of November, so here is brief review of what happened on first day.

November 27,2020 was marked as a historic day in the history of world cricket as the International Cricket returned to three different nations across the globe after more than nine months without cricket due to the pandemic. We witnessed three cricketing rivalries taking place in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

The Men in Retro Blues faced Aussies, the current world champions locked horns against the South Africa, while the Kiwis invited the West Indies Army. These six cricketing superpowers were the part of three different limited-overs fixtures contested on three contrasting time zones.

As we all know India and Australia commenced the long tour with the first ODI, whereas, New Zealand & West Indies and England & South Africa were involved in their T20 Internationals, respectively. Here are the top cricketing moments from a remarkable day of cricket.

Steve Smith’s Hundred

After a subdued IPL, Steve Smith roared back into form after wearing the yellow jersey. The Australian batsman bamboozled the Indian attack by smashing boundaries across the ground. In the ODI played at Sydney Cricket Ground, Smith scored third quickest ODI century for Australia.

Smith came into bat in the 28th over when his team was cruising at a score of 156 for 1. He steered his innings at run a ball pace before hitting a roadblock when Ravindra Jadeja’s ball struck his pads. Smith smartly took the review and got the wrong decision overturned. This was a pivotal point in the game as Smith shifted gears and scored quickly to guide his team to a mammoth score. He scored his tenth ODI ton in 62 balls at a staggering strike rate of 160. His century comprised of 11 boundaries and four maximums.  

Josh Hazelwood’s short pitch bowling excellence

The Australian pitches are well known for its pace and bounce. If a batsman masters pull and hook shot, then Australia becomes a paradise for you. Likewise, if the short ball is pitched at right area, then the best puller of the cricket ball finds it hard to survive.

Josh Hazelwood’s bowling in the first ODI against the Indians were the perfect example of bowling at the Australian pitches. The tall bowler is well known for his perfect line and length bowling but he adapted the conditions well and took advantage of their vulnerabilities towards short balls.

The Australian fast bowler took three top order wickets in the match including the priced scalp of Virat Kohli. Hazelwood bowled short balls into the body. He was accurate in his lines as he did not give the Indians any room to pull or cut.

His best delivery was to get rid of Shreyas Iyer. The young Indian batsman gets uncomfortable on short stuff early in his innings. His weakness was perfectly exposed by Hazelwood as he bowled a bouncer into Iyer’s body at 141 kmph. Iyer was stuck in two minds, so he ended up playing it straight to the wicketkeeper.

Lockie Ferguson’s breathtaking spell

The New Zealand premium right-arm fast, Lockie Ferguson lit Auckland’s Eden Park on fire in the first T20 International against West Indies. Ferguson is known for bowling upto 15 0kmph consistently (even in Test Cricket) but this challenge was greater. He was up against the two-time T20 champions at the smallest ground.

Ferguson came in the fourth over of the game when the West Indies openers were hammering scoring at a rate of 20 runs per over. He took his first scalp with a seam-up delivery by pitching at hard length. Andre Fletcher couldn’t even offer a shot. The bowler took his second in the same over when he dismissed Shimron Hetmyer’s with the same hard length delivery. His next scalp was through a pitched-up delivery where Pooran was found standing still before wickets and the visitors were struggling at 59 for 5 (Tim Southee took the other two wickets).

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard and Fabian Allen started building a quick partnership when Ferguson was removed from the attack. He came back in death to take wickest of Allen and Keemo Paul to complete a fifer.

He got his five wickets in a game where all the other Kiwi bowlers were under the pump. Pollard scored a dashing 37-ball 75 (4 fours and 8 sixes) but couldn’t hit a single boundary off Ferguson. He finished his spell at 5 for 21 to become the second New Zealander to take five wickets in a T20 International.

Jonny Bairstow gets in the groove

In the last game of the day, South Africa were hosting England in a T-20 game. Jonny Bairstow was the standout performer in this game as he scored 86 runs in 48 deliveries.

Earlier in the game, the hosts scored 179 in 20 overs. The visiting side had to chase the target of 180 in 20 overs to take the lead in the three-match T20I series. England’s team was under pressure straightaway they lost Jason Roy on the second ball. Jos Butler and David Malan also departed quickly and the run rate kept on soaring.

The dynamic duo of Bairstow and Ben Stokes came to England’s the rescue. Bairstow started the English revival by smoking two sixes off Tabraiz Shamsi. Stokes also backed his partner by hitting three sixes and a four, but he got out while hitting another six.

Despite the regular boundary hitting by the English side, the game was getting tense for the visitors. The game was almost in South Africa’s plate as the equation was 51 required off 24 balls but there was Bairstow was still on the pitch. He targeted Beuran Hendricks and scored 28 runs off his last over. Then, a couple of boundaries to Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi was enough to finish off the game.

He scored nine fours and four maximums in his knock of 86 runs (in 48 deliveries). This score of 86 runs was his highest T20I score for England. 

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