A lot of importance was given to ODI cricket in 2019 considering it was the World Cup year. A total of 150 ODIs were played in the last 12 months and there were quite a few individual performances that stood out, mostly from the marquee event in England.
Here, we look at top three performances in both the batting and bowling department:
TOP THREE BATTING PERFORMANCES
Ben Stokes - 84* v New Zealand at Lord's (World Cup final)
England had already lost four important wickets before reaching 100 in the final of the World Cup 2019 against New Zealand at Lord’s. It was then Ben Stokes who shouldered run-scoring responsibility to help England get their name registered in the World Cup Champions’ book. New Zealand had first scored 241 runs after losing eight wickets. Chasing the target given by Kiwis, England were reduced to 86 for 4. Stokes and Jos Buttler then controlled the situation. However, Lockie Ferguson broke the well-set partnership of 110 runs and grabbed two important wickets of Buttler and then Chris Woakes.
In the final over, England needed 15 runs to lift the trophy and it was Trent Boult, who bowled two dot balls that created chaos among the home crowd. Stokes then hit the third ball over deep mid-wicket for six. England got six more runs off the fourth ball, two by batsmen and four for the "infamous" overthrow. The hosts needed two runs off one delivery but they could score only one as the game ended in a tie. Stokes struck an unbeaten 84-run knock to snatch the tie from the jaws of defeat. In super over, Stokes scored eight runs for England who were declared champions on boundary count as even the super over couldn't decide the winner.
Ashton Turner - 84* v India at Mohali (4th ODI of five-match series)
Imagine playing in just your second ODI and coming into bat with your side 2-1 down in a five-match series chasing 359 and further needing 130 runs to win from 14 overs with six wickets in hand. Ashton Turner found himself in such a situation in the midst of a raucous Mohali crowd and came out on top by some distance. With the odds against him, Turner went about his innings with class. There was dew making it tough for the spinners to grip the ball but one could take nothing away from Turner.
He started off by smashing Kuldeep Yadav for two fours and a six and did not lose a gear at any stage. Having already made a name for himself as a finisher for Perth scorchers in the BBL, he showed his prowess at the global level. He did have some luck on his side but did not once shy away from going after the bowlers. Turner brought up his maiden ODI half-century off just 33 balls and upped a gear soon after. Fittingly, it was Turner who brought up Australia's winning runs, as they raced to a win with 13 balls to spare. The chase was Australia's biggest against India and the fifth-biggest overall. Turner finished with 84* off just 43 balls which included five fours and six sixes. More importantly, the knock helped Australia level the series and paved the way to a 3-2 win later in the series.
Carlos Brathwaite - 101 v New Zealand at Manchester (Match 29 of World Cup)
West Indies entered the 2019 World Cup as the dark horses and started off well by beating Pakistan. It was pretty much downhill for them from there, but then, they came within touching distance in toppling New Zealand. It was a sense of World T20 2016 Déjà vu with Carlos Brathwaite going berserk on the field and Ian Bishop calling the shots from the commentary box. Once New Zealand reduced West Indies to 152 for 5, the task of chasing down 292 seemed "diminished". But West Indies at that point were going at over six an over, which was the only positive for them. Just like he did in the World T20 2016, Brathwaite almost pulled yet another rabbit out of the hat. His team needed just 70 from the final 10 overs, but they had just two wickets in hand. If West Indies were to come even remotely close to challenging New Zealand from that point, the burly man from Barbados was going to be key.
The required run-rate was mounting and in the 48th over with 33 required off the final three overs, Brathwaite took James Neesham to the cleaners, smashing him for 25 runs in that over. The equation was a simple eight from 12 balls. Brathwaite got to his century in the fourth ball of the over but in a bid to clear the fence, he holed out to Trent Boult and Windies fell agonizingly short by five runs.
TOP THREE BOWLING PERFORMANCES
Mitchell Starc - 4 for 43 v England at Lord's (Match 32 of World Cup)
Remember that Starc's 145kph inswinging yorker to Stokes in the World Cup? Yup, we are talking about the same match! Jason Behrendorff might have taken a five-wicket haul in this group-stage encounter against England but it was Starc who won Australia the game. Australia posted 285 for 7 in their 50 overs, a total one would expect England to chase down. Behrendorff first knocked over James Vince and then Starc removed Joe Root and Eoin Morgan in the space of few deliveries to break the back of England's batting line-up. While Root was pinned right in front of the stumps, Morgan was undone by a well-directed bouncer.
Despite wickets falling at the other end, Stokes kept going and had that immovable presence. It needed something special to send him back to the hut and Starc came up with a ferocious yorker to uproot his off-stump. His expression told the entire story and there wasn't much he could have done to prevent himself from that corker. It was only fitting that Starc took the final wicket and helped Australia qualify for the semifinals where they eventually lost to England. With 27 wickets in 10 matches at 18.59, Starc ended up as tournament's highest wicket-taker for the second time.
Lasith Malinga - 4 for 43 v England at Headingley (Match 27 of World Cup)
After their first game in the 2019 World Cup against New Zealand, Sri Lanka had lost 17 of their last 21 completed ODIs. Unable to contain his disappointment, Lasith Malinga urged his team to feel the shame of losing. Nothing much changed as Australia beat them easily, one win and two washouts later. This propelled Malinga to take matters in his own hands against the favorites England. The target of 233, set by Sri Lanka, seemed a cakewalk. Malinga, however, had other plans. He started-off by trapping Jonny Bairstow on the second ball of the innings. Six overs later, James Vince nicked one to slips as Malinga reduced England to 26 for 2.
With 107 needed in the last 20 overs with their two best batsmen – Joe Root and Stokes at the crease, England looked well in control. Luck showered on Sri Lanka as Malinga strangled Root down the leg side on the third ball of his second spell. An over later, Malinga had Jos Buttler plumb in front to derail England’s chase single-handedly. Malinga would have had a five-for if Stokes’ chance was held on the penultimate ball of his spell. His efforts however didn't go in vain, as they won by 20 runs and left the hosts staring down the barrel on their chances to qualify for the semis.
Jhye Richardson - 4 for 26 v India at Sydney (1st ODI of three-match series)
With the T20I series tied 1-1 and the Test series lost 2-1, there was a lot of pressure on Australia to show their true self at home in the 50-over format. And they started off just like that with Jhye Richardson dismantling the Indian top order in a spell which had pace, bounce and a lot of hostility at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Half-centuries from Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb helped Australia to a strong 288/5. In reply, Richardson came out all guns blazing thwarting the Indians in a riveting opening spell.
Regularly clocking in excess of 140kph, the fast bowler first removed Virat Kohli for 3 and two balls later got the better of Ambati Rayudu as India were reduced to 4 for 3 in the fourth over. Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni then dug India out of a hole but Richardson struck again in his second spell. Eventually, the pacer finished with impeccable figures of 4 for 26 in 10 overs as Australia took the first ODI by 34 runs. In a game, where the required rate was close to six, Richardson went for just 2.6 runs per over and was crucial in his side finishing on the right side of the result.