2022 was a roller-coaster of a year, both for English cricket and the sport around the world. From England losing The Ashes 4-0 in January to the ‘Bazball’ rejuvenation and whitewashing Pakistan in December, the year was filled with astonishing moments; and that does not even mention Mankads or cricket’s admission back into the Commonwealth Games. Toby Reynolds counts down his top ten moments.
- England Women return to Lords in ODI vs India
Although it was not the happy ending that England would have hoped for, it shows a massive step in the right direction for women’s cricket. Lords had not hosted a women’s international match since the World Cup final in 2017, which seems ludicrous. However, it was bitter-sweet. The match ended with a Mankad from Deepti Sharma on Charlie Dean to give India victory by 16 runs, after England put on 50 for the last two wickets. The moment was made all the better when Dean refused a Mankad the following day in the Rachael Hayhoe Flint Trophy final.
- England put 498 past the Netherlands
Another ODI match for England, another record broken. Hundreds for Salt, Malan and Buttler helped England to the mammoth total of almost five hundred, with what could be argued to be a second-string side. The Dutch helped by preparing one of the flattest wickets possible, which seemed like an odd decision considering they were missing many of their key players and normally excel on low, green-tops. This does mean that the next record-breaking moment will likely be the coveted five hundred, maybe in 2023 at the World Cup.
- Cricket back in the Commonwealth Games
What a momentous moment for cricket. It was not only fantastic to see cricket on free-to-air TV, but on a larger scale too. It was a competitive tournament throughout with fantastic cricket from all the teams, but this is a moment that has not even realised its own potential yet. If cricket makes an entrance into the Olympics in the coming years, this could be looked back upon as a key moment.
- New ECB appointments
Since his appointment, England have won nine out of their ten test matches and appear like a completely different team
When Rob Key was announced as the Managing Director of England, many people were unsure he was the man to help kickstart England’s men’s test side. They had won one match in seventeen and rarely looked like they were improving. Key came in and changed the whole setup. He brought in Brendon ‘Baz’ McCullum as coach and Ben Stokes as captain. Since his appointment, England have won nine out of their ten test matches and appear like a completely different team. It seems like he was the breath of fresh air needed.
- England vs India Test match at Edgbaston
England chased down their highest total ever with ease. With a total that seemed unlikely, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow chased down 377 without batting an eyelid, both scoring unbeaten hundreds to top it off. This match especially highlighted the stark contrast between Root’s test team and the McCullum-Stokes war machine. In 2021, England limped to 2-1 down in the series against India with one match to play, before COVID ran through the Indian camp and the final match was postponed until the following year. Here, a revitalised England side managed to claim an unlikely draw, in a series where they were undoubtedly the second-best side.
- The T20 Blast Final’s last ball drama
‘It was limbs and scenes, reverse limbs and scenes, redo limbs and scenes’
With Lancashire requiring four runs to win off the last ball, Nathan Ellis bowls Richard Gleeson with a perfect yorker. Hampshire celebrate, fireworks begin, Lancashire lose; until umpire Graham Lloyd stretches out his arm – no ball! Ellis had overstepped: he had to re-bowl the last ball (after all the smoke had cleared from the fireworks). Luckily for Hampshire, he kept his cool and deceived Gleeson with a slower ball to claim victory. A fantastic final that will be remembered for many years. On a recent URN podcast, Dom Allin said, ‘it was limbs and scenes, reverse limbs and scenes, redo limbs and scenes’.
- India and Kohli sneak past Pakistan
After being 31-4, India looked down and out of a must-win group game of the T20 World Cup against their fiercest rivals. This is when Virat Kohli decides enough is enough and switches gear to smash 82 from 53, including taking Nawaz for sixteen runs from the final over to carry India to victory. This is undoubtedly one of the best chases in T20 World Cup history, and to do it in such magnificent style only proves Kohli’s class.
- England whitewash Pakistan
Having only won two matches in the history of test cricket in Pakistan, England managed three in just three weeks! A bold declaration by Stokes leading to victory in the dying daylight on Day Five gave England a 1-0 lead, pure pace from Mark Wood and smart seam-bowling from Anderson and Robinson gave them the series victory, before England’s ninth win from ten secured the whitewash.
Harry Brook scored almost five hundred runs including three hundreds to claim player of the series
This was all topped off with the number of brilliant performances and debuts throughout the series. Ben Duckett scored a hundred on return within four hours, alongside Will Jacks’ six wickets in the second innings. Later, Rehan Ahmed took a five-for to become not only the youngest debutant for England, but also the youngest debutant to take five wickets ever. Furthermore, Harry Brook scored almost five hundred runs including three hundreds to claim player of the series.
- England become double World Champions
After England’s disastrous 2015 World Cup, Eoin Morgan decided England’s white ball team and philosophy had to change. With almost immediate effect, England began their charge to the top. Over the next four years, England lost only one ODI series, made the semi-final of the Champions trophy and were four balls away from victory in the 2016 T20 World Cup, before they finally won the 2019 World Cup in front of a packed crowd at Lord’s. This was the moment that Morgan and his team had been working towards.
They were to play Pakistan in the final – in what would be the ninth match in four weeks!
However, they were not finished here; now they wanted to become the first team to hold both the ODI and T20 World Cup at the same time. In 2021, they fell short in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup before Morgan suddenly retired this summer after a long decline of form. Now it was Jos Buttler’s challenge to complete.
Heading into the tournament, England knew this was their best chance. Although they lost in the group stage to Ireland, they looked confident in all victories and as fate would have it, they were to play Pakistan in the final – in what would be the ninth match in four weeks! England defeated Pakistan with an over to spare and, with it, sealed their names in history.
- Bairstow and England’s miracle at Trent Bridge
On June 14th, 2022, Baz Ball was born! After a fairly low scoring and uneventful test match at Lord’s the week before, this was where the Stokes-McCullum axis made its name. The match commenced with New Zealand putting 553 on the scoreboard and every England fan believed they knew where this was going.
Scoring 136 from 92, he carried England to victory with ease, and so began the dominance of England over the summer
Unfortunately for New Zealand, England’s batters stood up for the first time in almost 20 matches and piled on over 500 to keep the lead to a minimum. The Kiwis then followed this up with a respectable 284 and left England requiring 299 to win: not insurmountable but by no means an easy target, especially when England fell to 93-4. However, up stepped Jonny Bairstow. After ducking under a bouncer first ball after tea and getting berated by Stokes for doing so, Bairstow went ballistic. Scoring 136 from 92, he carried England to victory with ease, and so began the dominance of England over the summer. What a moment and what a test match!
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