2022 Rewind: Revisiting most defining cricket moments from across the year – Firstpost

From the rise of ‘Bazball’ and Virat Kohli hitting a historic milestone to women’s game making its debut at CWG and multiple giant-killing acts in a single tournament, 2022 had it all.
England pulled off a historic 3-0 Test series sweep in their tour of Pakistan in December. AP
The holiday season is in full swing at the moment and in four days’ time, the world will bid goodbye to what was another eventful year of our lives, welcoming 2023 in the process.
And an eventful a year it was from the sporting perspective too, especially in the world of cricket which bore witness to a number of standout moments both in the men’s and women’s international games. From the rise of ‘Bazball’ and Virat Kohli hitting a historic milestone to the women’s game making its debut at CWG and multiple giant-killing acts in a single tournament, 2022 had it all.
As we prepare to bring the curtains down on the year, we take a look at some of the standout moments from international cricket across the year:
Few terms have been more widely used in the sport than ‘Bazball’ — a term that has come to define England’s revolutionary aggressive approach to the red-ball game following the appointment of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum as the Test captain and head coach respectively.
The English team, which had been going through a major slump until said appointments, adopted the kind of attack-from-the-outset attitude that McCullum had infused into the Black Caps during his time as captain in the previous decade. The result — England have won nine out of 10 Tests since Stokesy and Baz took over, starting with a 3-0 sweep against McCullum’s former side New Zealand at home and including a historic series win by a similar margin in Pakistan more recently.
England’s T20 World Cup win
It’s not just the Test format where the English men’s team underwent a complete overhaul — white-ball captain Eoin Morgan was also sacked from his role, with the ECB appointing wicketkeeper-batter Jos Buttler as his successor and going for a separate white-ball coach in Matthew Mott.
Though things did not begin as smoothly for the Englishmen in white-ball cricket as it did for them in the longest format, Buttler and Co gradually began to show an improvement in their performances, going on to win a seven-match T20I series in Pakistan.
England beat Pakistan by five wickets to lift their second T20 World Cup title. Image: ICC/Twitter
And it was in the T20 World Cup in Australia where the side lived up to their full potential, reaching the semi-finals despite losing to Ireland in the Super 12s followed by a rained-off game, demolishing India in the semis before beating Pakistan in the final in front of a sold-out MCG, the very same venue where they had lost the 1992 ODI World Cup final.
Kohli ends century drought
Kohli had perhaps his the lowest point of his career this year; after resigning as the Test captain following the 1-2 series defeat in South Africa, which officially marked the end of the ‘Kohli Era’, his form further dipped during the home season and in the IPL. Kohli took a break following the tour of England, skipping Zimbabwe and the West Indies tours, and returned to action during the Asia Cup.
Virat Kohli notched up his 71st international century when India played Afghanistan at the recently-concluded Asia Cup, ending a long wait. AP
It was at the continental tournament where Kohli produced a knock that ended up becoming one of the most significant of the year, even if it did not count for much as far as India’s title hopes went, as the former India captain ended a near-three-year wait for an international century by smashing a scintillating 122 not out against Afghanistan in India’s final outing of the tournament.
Rise and Rise of SKY
Few players have had as much impact individually as India’s Suryakumar Yadav did. The Mumbai Indians batter, who was finding it difficult to break into the Indian team a couple of years ago much to everyone’s surprise, is now an indispensable member of the Indian white-ball teams, especially T20, following his exploits in the tour of England, the T20 World Cup as well as in New Zealand.
Suryakumar Yadav celebrates after scoring a century against New Zealand. AP
What’s more, SKY was in the form of his life across 2022, which not only resulted in multiple awe-inspiring knocks but also helped him pip Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam to the top of the ICC T20I batting rankings and finish the year with 1,164 runs at an average and strike rate of 46.56 and 187.43 respectively — the only batter to cross the 1K-run mark in the format this year.
Deepti Sharma’s run out
Running batters out at the non-striker’s end, a.k.a. ‘Mankading’, has been viewed as a controversial method of dismissal in some quarters even if the Marylebone Cricket Club, the custodian of the game’s laws, has legalised the move of dismissing a batter guilty of stealing an extra yard before the bowler completes his/her delivery.
The moment India claimed their first ODI series win vs England in 20 years 🥺
Deepti Sharma ran Charlie Dean out at the non-striker’s end in her delivery stride, to give India a 3-0 sweep and @JhulanG10 a victorious farewell ✨#ENGvIND #SonySportsNetwork #SirfSonyPeDikhega pic.twitter.com/Ai2hWxBPlo
— Sony Sports Network (@SonySportsNetwk) September 25, 2022

During the third women’s ODI between England and India at Lord’s, the hosts were putting up a spirited fight through its last-wicket pair of Charlie Dean and Freya Davies and were looking set to pull off an unlikely win from a near-hopeless position when India all-rounder Deepti, having noticed Dean stepping out of her crease at the non-striker’s end for far too long, decided to whip the bails off and run Dean out before completing the fourth delivery of her eighth over.
Not only would the move help the Women in Blue seal a historic 3-0 sweep, it would also leave the cricketing world divided with fans, experts as well as former and current cricketers alike joining the conversation on Twitter.
Cricket returns to CWG
Another milestone that cricket hit in 2022 was its return to a major international multi-sport event, making its first appearance at the Commonwealth Games in 14 years in Birmingham earlier this year. And while men’s cricket had featured in the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur, it was the women’s turn to represent the sport at the Birmingham Games this year, which took place in the months of July and August.
Members of Indian team celebrate after receiving silver medals after the women’s cricket T20 final match between Australia and India. AP
Australia continued their dominant run this year, following up their ODI World Cup victory in New Zealand by beating India in a tensely-fought gold medal match and finishing on top of the podium. For the Women in Blue, collecting silver was a redemption of sorts after they failed to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup. New Zealand, on the other hand, beat home team England in the bronze medal playoff to join Australia and India on the podium.
Mithali and Jhulan retirements
The year also bore witness to the conclusion of one of the most glorious chapters ever written in the sport with the veteran Indian duo of Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami hanging up their boots this year.
Their retirements brought the curtains down on careers that spanned two decades (slightly more in Mithali’s case), careers that witnessed the rise of the women’s game in India out of the shadows of obscurity and into the limelight in the cricket-mad nation, it’s performances on the field also undergoing tremendous improvement over the years to the point where they are now considered among the top sides.
While Mithali called it a day after the World Cup in New Zealand, where she led the Women in Blue one final time, seamer Jhulan got a fitting on-field farewell at the ‘Home of Cricket’ during the white-ball tour of England earlier this year. Both retire from the sport with a plethora of records to their name, Mithali finishing as the leading international run-scorer (10,868), with Jhulan having collected the most international wickets in the women’s game (355).
Tragedies hit Australian cricket
It was a rather sombre year for the sport, especially for Australian cricket with multiple legends bidding us goodbye this year for their heavenly abode, including spin icon Shane Warne.
An on-screen tribute for Shane Warne is seen on the big screens at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. AP
The entire cricketing world would be dealt a rude shock on 4 March when news of Warne’s demise at the age of 52 during a trip to Thailand, believed to be a “suspected heart attack”, made waves across publications and news channels as well as on social media. This was on the same day wicketkeeper-batter and former chief selector Rod Marsh breathed his last aged 74.
A little over two months later, Warne’s Australia teammate Andrew Symonds would pass away after getting involved in a car accident in Queensland, Australia. The former all-rounder was 46 at the time of his demise.
Tributes would flow in for all three cricketers, with Cricket Australia renaming the ‘Great Southern Stand’ at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after Warne and also paid tribute to one of cricket’s most colourful characters on Day 1 of the Boxing Day Test against South Africa on Monday.
Triumph of the underdogs
2022 could also be termed the ‘Year of the Underdog’ given the number of cricketing upsets witnessed this year, a vast majority of them taking place at the T20 World Cup in Australia.
The giant-killing acts had begun from the First Round itself, with Namibia beating Sri Lanka and Scotland and Ireland defeating West Indies. Ireland would then maintain their unbeaten record against England across World Cups by beating their neighbours in the Super 12s.
Zimbabwean player celebrate their massive victory against Pakistan. The win took Zimbabwe to third with three points, behind first-placed India (4) and South Africa (3) in second place. AFP
Zimbabwe would then take ‘revenge’ against Pakistan over the latter ‘sending’ a fake Mr Bean to their country, defeating the eventual runners-up by one run in a nerve-wracking clash in Perth that went down to the very last ball of the match, with Pakistan-born Sikandar Raza playing a key role in helping the Chevrons win and earning the ‘Player of the Match’ award in the process.
The biggest upset of the tournament, and perhaps of the year, however, came on the very final day of the Super 12s, with Netherlands landing the knockout punch on South Africa. Much like Raza against Pakistan, it was three South African-born players — Roelof van der Merwe, Brandon Glover and Colin Ackermann — who played a key role in the victory against their country of birth.
Australia, England, New Zealand return to Pakistan
While cricket had slowly been limping back to normalcy in Pakistan after a period of complete isolation, it was the return of the Australian, English and New Zealand teams — nations that were the most apprehensive of touring this part of the world — that truly marked the return of international cricket in the country that has had to deal with a host of security issues for years.
Australia would make its first appearance in Pakistan in 24 years, playing three Tests, as many ODIs and a one-off T20I across March and April earlier this year. England, which had not toured the country since 2005 and had backed out of its commitment last year, fulfilled its promise this time around, playing seven T20Is before the T20 World Cup as well as three Tests after it and winning both.
New Zealand, which had cut its 2002 tour short due to a bomb attack, arrived after England’s departure for a two-Test series, the first match of which is currently underway in Karachi.
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NZ trail by 273 runs
AUS lead by 366 runs
Play In Progress
England Women beat West Indies Women by 8 wickets
Uganda Women beat Kenya Women by 6 wickets
Tanzania Women beat Qatar Women by 28 runs
Australia Women beat India Women by 54 runs
Bahrain beat Malaysia by 6 wickets
Uganda beat Rwanda by 3 runs
Qatar beat Singapore by 9 wickets (D/L method)
India beat Bangladesh by 3 wickets
England beat Pakistan by 8 wickets
India beat Bangladesh by 188 runs
Australia beat West Indies by 419 runs
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