3 nail-biting finishes of 2019

3 nail-biting finishes of 2019

With hardly two days left in the year, everyone is gearing up for 2020. But, before we head into the New Year, let's take a minute to soak in several memorable moments cricket has given us this year.

With hardly two days left in the year, everyone is gearing up for 2020. But, before we head into the New Year, let's take a minute to soak in several memorable moments cricket has given us this year.

2019 has been an excellent one, especially for the England Cricket Team, who had never won the Cricket World Cup, finally broke the jinx. They lifted their maiden trophy at the iconic Lord's Cricket Stadium on July 14. Kane Williamson's New Zealand suffered a heartbreaking loss in the World Cup final in a second straight edition.

The South Africans, who once were one of the most dominant touring Test sides, have suffered a major downfall. Every disappointing result hurt them since the matches were no more just a part of a Test series as 2019, at last, saw the start of the ICC World Test Championship. Even the dead rubber fixtures now have new meaning because a win will fetch a team some crucial points.

With as many as 360 points, Team India sits on the top of the points table having played three-Test series including seven matches. Virat Kohli and Co have been so dominant that they hardly featured in any close-fought fixtures in 2019; one exception being the semi-final of the World Cup, which India lost to New Zealand.

However, the final played by England and the Kiwis outdid every possible nail-biting match in the history of cricket.

Here is a list of top 3 close finishes in 2019:

England vs New Zealand, World Cup final at Lord's:

Eoin Morgan's side clinched their maiden World Cup trophy by winning the closest and the most dramatic World Cup. Batting first, New Zealand just managed 241 for 8 in 50 overs. In reply to that, the hosts found themselves in trouble at 86 for 4. However, the soon-to-become hero, Ben Stokes stuck till the end and sure, he had all the possible luck with him on that particular day.

The scores were tied before a super-over would decide the fate of the final. Who knew the super-over would also end in a tie? ICC's next rule was the winner would be decided by virtue of a technical boundary rule and since England had struck more boundaries, they were crowned the 2019 World Cup champions.

The ICC boundary-count rule, that invited several debates, was officially removed months after New Zealand's distressing loss.

England vs Australia, Headingly Test:

After breaking the hearts of New Zealanders in July, Stokes chose to do the same with their fellow Oceania neighbours, Australia the very next month. It was the time of the Ashes and the Urn holders, Aussies, were 1-0 up after the first two Tests. Stokes' heroics came in the third Test, which was played in Headingly.

Batting first, Australia posted only 179 runs before the hosts, England produced an even worse performance as they got bowled out for 67. Australia added another 246 runs and handed England a target of 359. At 286 for 9, a victory looked unlikely for England. However, Stokes produced an unbelievable innings of 135 not out that helped the hosts to turn tables around, leaving Tim Paine and Co in disbelief. Tail-ending batsman Jack Leach stuck with him till the end as their unbeaten 73-run stand for the last wicket earned England their second-best moment of 2019.

South Africa vs Sri Lanka, Durban Test:

It was Dimuth Karunaratne's first outing as Sri Lanka's Test captain and little did the cricket fans know, he would return as the first Asian skipper to win a Test series in the Rainbow nation. After being put to bat first, Quinton de Kock led the innings as South Africa managed 235 runs after a poor start. The pace trio of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander derailed the Sri Lankan line-up, who scored just 191 runs.

Sri Lanka were then given a target of 303 runs and not many favoured them to pull off the chase successfully. Out of the 11 batsmen, Sri Lanka lost six of them for single-digits, including three dismissals for a duck. At 226 for 9, an easy victory awaited the hosts, who had been exceptional with the ball throughout the Test. Unfortunately, middle-order batsman, Kusal Perera had other ideas, who literally dragged his side on his shoulders and with an unbeaten knock of 153 from 200 balls, he led Sri Lanka to a memorable one-wicket win.

Sri Lanka would go on to win the second Test as well and achieve something even the World No. 1 team, India is yet to – a Test series win in South Africa.

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