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2018 in Review – India Set the Standard, Australia Fall Dramatically from Perch

Nikhil Narain |Cricketnext | Updated: December 31, 2018, 8:29 AM IST
2018 in Review – India Set the Standard, Australia Fall Dramatically from Perch

(AP)

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As 2018 winds down, India end the year as the most successful team across formats over the course of the year. They won 35 of the 53 matches they played in 2018 (and lost just 15). England and Pakistan were joint-second with the same win-loss ratio of 1.93 – both played 46 matches each and won 29 and lost 15.

South Africa had a disappointing year with 19 wins and 15 losses. New Zealand had a win-loss ratio of 1 which means they won as much as they lost, pretty much on expected lines. Sri Lanka (win-loss ratio of 0.77) and West Indies (win-loss ratio of 0.625) lost more than they won, again not a surprise with both the teams going through a challenging transformation period.

The real story of 2018 was the dramatic fall of the once mighty Australian unit. They won just 15 of the 42 matches they played losing 25.

INDIA

(Image: AP)

India capped off 2018 in style with a memorable win in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, giving them a 2-1 lead in the four-match series. It was a frustrating year for India in Test cricket – they won 7 and lost 7 of the 14 Tests this year but squandered great opportunities for series wins in South Africa and England.
Cape Town (lost by 72 runs), Birmingham (lost by 31 runs) and Southampton (lost by 60 runs) all could have had a different story.

There were some memorable wins too - at Johannesburg, Nottingham, Adelaide and Melbourne. If they go on to win or even secure a draw at the SCG in the New Year, then the successes in Australia have to be the high point of 2018 for India.

India were by far the most dominant team in ODI cricket in 2018. They won 14 and lost just 4 matches in the calendar year. Nine of their wins chasing came with six or more wickets in hand – further proof of the great chasing prowess of the team. Their 5-1 drubbing of South Africa in their own backyard – which was also their maiden bilateral series triumph in the country was the highlight of India’s ODI campaign n 2018.

India were second-best only to Pakistan in T20 cricket in the year. They won 14 and lost just 4 matches in 2018 in the shortest format. These included series wins in South Africa and England.

The form of India’s top 3 with the bat and the meteoric rise of Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav defined the individual performances for India in 2018.

Virat Kohli had a staggering year with the bat scoring 2735 runs across formats (he was the leading scorer in both Test and ODI cricket) in 47 innings at an average of 68.37 including 11 hundreds. Rohit Sharma was the second-highest scorer of the year in ODIs and T20Is.

Jasprit Bumrah ended the year as the highest wicket-taker across formats picking 78 wickets in 39 innings at an average of 20.39 and economy of 3.11.

The arrival of an Indian pace battery led by Bumrah and brilliantly supported by Ishant and Shami was one of the talking points of 2018. Collectively, the Indian pace attack accounted for the maximum number of wickets in the year across formats.

The ODI find for the year for India was Kuldeep Yadav who ended as the second-highest wicket-taker in the format in 2018 with 45 wickets at a brilliant average of 17.77 and a miserly economy rate of 4.64.

ENGLAND

Twitter/ Test Match Special

England fought back with aplomb at Leeds (against Pakistan) after a disastrous start to the year losing at the SCG and in Auckland, both by an innings (which resulted in a 4-0 Ashes drubbing and a series loss in New Zealand too) and then receiving a thrashing by Pakistan in the opening game of the home season at Lord’s. Beating India 4-1 at home and ending their Test calendar with a 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka in their own den (their first overseas series sweep in 55 years) was their shining moment of the year.

England were unbeaten in an ODI series in 2018 and won all the five series they played this year – these included wins in Australia and New Zealand and against India at home.

They were pretty average in T20I cricket losing 5 of the 9 matches they played this year.

Bairstow and Root were England’s stand-out batsmen in ODI cricket with 1025 and 946 runs respectively in the calendar year. The real surprise package was Moeen Ali, who was their leading spinner in Test cricket in 2018 with 32 wickets at 29 apiece. Buttler was their stand-out batsman in Tests with 760 runs at 44.70 runs per dismissal.

AUSTRALIA

Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon claimed four wickets in the final session to halt India's progress and help restrict the hosts to 248 for six on the second day of the fourth and final Test. (AP Photo)

Australia had one of their worst years in Test history losing 6 of the 10 Tests they played in 2018 – in the aftermath of the ball-tampering Cape Town scandal which left Steve Smith and David Warner with one-year suspensions. The Australian top-order (top 5) averaged just 26.96 with the bat since April with only Khawaja aggregating above 500 in the calendar year.

They have had an even more horrendous run in ODI cricket this year losing 11 of the 13 matches in 2018. Their win-loss ratio is the lowest amongst all teams in 2018 – even lower than UAE and Zimbabwe. In fact, it is the lowest in Australia’s ODI history for any calendar year.

They won 10 and lost 8 of the 19 T20 matches they played this year.

Overall, their win-loss ratio was the worst amongst all major teams (across formats) barring Zimbabwe – that is how poor Australia was in 2018.

The emergence of Pat Cummins as a world class bowler (44 wickets in 16 innings at 19.97 apiece in Test cricket) along with the phenomenal consistency of Nathan Lyon (second-highest wicket-taker amongst spinners in Tests) have perhaps been the only highlights for Australia in a forgettable year.

PAKISTAN

Sarfraz Ahmed

Pakistan were the best T20 team of the year winning 17 of the 19 matches they played. These included series triumphs against the West Indies at home and New Zealand away. Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam were the standout batsmen in the format, both aggregating above 500 runs in the year. Shadab Khan was the second-highest wicket-taker in the world in the format with 28 wickets at 17.42 apiece.

Pakistan were amongst the weakest teams in ODIs in 2018 winning just 8 of the 18 matches in the year. Fakhar Zaman was their standout batsman with 875 runs in 17 innings at an average of 67.3.

Pakistan had a mixed bag in Test cricket in 2018 winning 4 and losing 4. Their moment of glory was the win at Lord’s while losing the Test series against New Zealand  in UAE (their adopted home) where they till recently had an impeccable record, a big low for them in 2018.

Mohammad Abbas tallied 38 wickets in just 13 innings at an average of 13.76 in Test cricket in 2018 – he was the performer of the year for Pakistan.

NEW ZEALAND

(Twitter/ICC)

2018 saw one of the best performances by New Zealand in their Test history – they won all the three series they played this year – these included series wins against England and Sri Lanka at home. But their moment of glory this year was the win against Pakistan in UAE – only their second series victory away against Pakistan.

They had a good run in ODI cricket too winning 8 of the 13 matches in the year. Their highlight of the year was the 5-0 series whitewash of Pakistan at home at the beginning of the year.

They could not replicate the successes of Tests and ODI cricket in the shortest format where they had a miserable run in 2018 – losing 9 of the 13 matches.

The form of Latham, Williamson and Nicholls (highest average in the world – 73.11, min. 5 innings), all aggregating in excess of 600 in Tests this year with averages close to 60 and above, was one of the major reasons for the team’s success in the format. Ross Taylor had a great year with the bat in ODI cricket aggregating 639 runs in 10 innings at a stunning average of 91.28 – second only to Kohli. Trent Boult was their best bowler across formats aggregating 66 wickets in 33 innings.

SOUTH AFRICA

(Getty Images)

South Africa had a middling year in all the three formats – a frustrating year where they could not dominate any. Their high point (in Test cricket) was the 3-1 home series win against Australia while their biggest disappointment was the 2-0 thrashing in Sri Lanka.


In ODI cricket they did well to recover from the thrashing by India at home to register series wins in Sri Lanka and Australia.

They won 4 and lost 3 of the seven T20s they played this year.

The retirement of AB de Villiers was a big blow for South Africa this year – he tops the average charts in Test cricket for the Proteas.

The shocking form of Amla in 2018 (average of 26.84 in Tests and 28.63 in ODIs) was another major reason for a below par South African performance this year.

Kagiso Rabada emerged as one of the premier fast bowlers of the year. He topped the wickets tally in Test cricket picking 52 wickets at 20.07. Overall, his 77 wickets across formats were second only to Bumrah.

WEST INDIES

(AFP)

West Indies had another poor year winning 15 and losing 24 matches they played across formats. Their win-loss ratio was the third-worst only better than Australia and Zimbabwe.

Their Test series win at home against Bangladesh was their only high point of the year in the format. However, they ended the year with a series defeat in Bangladesh.

Their two losses against Afghanistan in Harare summed up a terrible ODI year.

Jason Holder and Shannon Gabriel’s performance in Tests with the ball was the only positive for the West Indies in the format in 2018. Holder picked 33 wickets in just 12 innings and had the best bowling average of 12.39 in the world. Gabriel aggregated 37 in 14 innings at an average of under 20.

The emergence of Shai Hope (875 runs at an average 67.3 in ODIs) and Shimron Hetmyer (727 runs at a strike rate of 109.65) on the world-stage was a bright spark for the West Indies in an otherwise disappointing year.

BANGLADESH

(ICC/Twitter)

Bangladesh ended the year on a high beating West Indies 2-0 (two-match Test series) at home. Mehidy Hasan,  Mustafizur Rahman and Shakib-Al-Hasan stood out for their performances with the ball picking 61, 57 and 53 wickets in the year. Mominul Haque was their stand-out batsman in the format scoring 673 runs in 15 innings which included 4 hundreds – only Kohli registered more tons (5).

They had a good run in ODI cricket winning 13 of the 20 matches they played this year. These included home and away wins against West Indies and a win over Pakistan in the Asia Cup in Abu Dhabi. Once again, it was Mustafizur Rahman who was the pick of their bowlers – 29 wickets at 21.72 at an economy of 4.20 in the year. Mushfiqur Rahim led with the bat with 770 runs at an average of 55.

Bangladesh had a torrid run in T20s losing 11 of the 16 matches they played in the year.

SRI LANKA


(Getty Images)

Sri Lanka showed signs of improvement in Test cricket in 2018. Their greatest triumph in 2018 was the Test series win against South Africa at home (2-0). They won in Bangladesh and also came back handsomely to draw level the series in the Caribbean. Kusal Mendis had a fantastic 2018 scoring 1023 runs in 23 innings at an average of 46.5 – only Kohli aggregated more. Dilruwan Perera stood out with the ball tallying 50 wickets at 29.32 apiece in the year – only Rabada aggregated more.

Sri Lanka had a poor outing in limited overs cricket in 2018. They won only 6 out of 17 ODIs with losses against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. They won 4 and lost 4 of the 8 T20s they played this year. Both the Kusals – Mendis and Perera – starred with the bat scoring at a strike rate of in excess of 150.

ZIMBABWE

(Twitter)

Zimbabwe’s historic moment of 2018 was their Test win in Sylhet where they beat Bangladesh by 151 runs. It was their first away Test win in 17 years.

Their 12-run win over Sri Lanka in Dhaka was their ODI highlight of the year.

Brendan Taylor scored 898 ODI runs in 21 innings at an average of 42.76 and was amongst the five leading scorers in the format in 2018.

AFGHANISTAN

(Twitter)

Afghanistan’s meteoric rise in limited overs cricket gave them a historic Test debut in 2018 – against India in Bengaluru.

They won 12 out of the 20 ODIs they played this year. These included series wins against Zimbabwe in UAE and Ireland away. But their greatest moment of the year was their victory over the West Indies in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe. It was a remarkable performance fighting their way back into the tournament after a disastrous start.

They also beat Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and tied a game with India in the Asia Cup in the UAE.

Rashid Khan enhanced his reputation as the best spinner in contemporary limited overs cricket by picking 48 wickets in 20 ODI innings at a stunning average of 14.45 and economy of 3.89. He was the leading wicket-taker in the world in the format. Mujeeb Ur Rahman was also brilliant picking 37 wickets at 19.54 apiece at an economy of 3.84.

Afghanistan was unbeaten in T20 cricket in 2018 winning all their 7 matches – these included series wins against Zimbabwe, Ireland and Bangladesh. Rashid Khan, was, once again the star performer, picking 22 wickets in just 8 innings at an average of 8.68 and economy of 6.36.

IRELAND

(Cricket Ireland/Twitter)

Ireland impressed on their Test debut and gave Pakistan a scare in Dublin – that was their highlight of 2018.

They won 8 of 13 ODIs but lost 6 of the 8 T20s they played in the year.

Paul Stirling was their leading run-scorer across formats with 684 runs in 23 innings.

Boyd Rankin was their leading wicket-taker across formats with 28 wickets in 18 innings.
First Published: December 31, 2018, 7:51 AM IST
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