2017 is ending and is taking away some of the greatest memories we could have ever had. From losing 4-1 against Australia on their soil to Winning the Champions Trophy, 2017 gave us lessons and cherished our lives. Let’s go through at what we achieved this year as a cricketing nation.
1. Final of the second edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Lahore.
It’s 20th February 2017 and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announce that the final of Pakistan Super League will be held in Lahore. A refining moment for Pakistan cricket fans which they will never forget. The day all of the fans were waiting for.
The final was played between last season runner ups Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi on 5th March 2017 at Gaddafi Stadium. The stadium was full of spectators who were there to witness the historic moment. The chants of Pakistan Zindabad could be heard in every corner of the Stadium.
Peshawar Zalmi won the PSL2 under the captaincy of Darren Sammy. Darren along with his team mates was very pleased on visiting Pakistan.
“I felt tonight I brought a lot of smiles in Lahore and Peshawar & I am glad I came to experience the atmosphere here” said Darren Sammy
2. End of an Era, MIS / YOU:
One spent 17 years of his life as a savior for his nation. The other spent 18 years as a wall for his nation. One stood by his team when it was going through the darkest time. The other did everything he could do for his nation.
One is the most successful Test captain and equaled the record of fastest century (now the second fastest). The other went on to become the highest run getter in Tests for Pakistan, the only Pakistani batsmen to get 10k runs, only the 13th to do so overall. The two pillars of Pakistan cricket. One of the best duo in the history of the game, decided to bid goodbye to the game.
On 6th of April, Misbah-ul-Haq announced his intentions of retirement saying;
“It will be my last series and I had conveyed this to the chairman of (Pakistan Cricket Board) quite some time ago, I will try to finish it on a high note” Misbah told the reporters at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
After just two days, Younis Khan announced his retirement too;
“I will be retiring from international cricket after the West Indies series with my head held high, I was under a lot of pressure, getting calls from everyone. I think this is the right time as every sportsman has to take this decision in his career.” said Younis.
Both of them played their last Test against West Indies on 25th May. Misbah scored a fifty in the first innings, his 39th, in the second innings he scored 2 runs. Younis scored 18 runs in the first and 39 in the second. Pakistan won the match and sealed the series 2-1, winning their first ever Test series in WI. What a farewell it was!
Younis got to his 10k runs and Misbah became the only first captain to win a Test series in WI from Pakistan. The biggest solace in their retirements was that, they left us giving us something memorable. Thanks MIS|YOU!
3. Pakistan clinching their first ever Test series win on West Indian soil against WI.
Rain has started. 1.1 Over is left. 1 wicket remaining. Younis Khan suggests something to Yasir Shah. Yasir Shah bowls a flipper, Shanon Gabriel miss reads it, the bails are in the air and here it is, the first ever Test series win for Pakistan cricket on West Indian Territory that too against West Indies.
Roston Chase 100 went in vain, as the home side slipped 6 wickets for 96 runs, in reply of a reasonable target of 303 runs. It was Pakistan’s eight Test series in WI and was the last of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.
“This was just incredible, There were so many things happening in that last session, dropped catches, appeals, no-ball dismissals, it looked for a while as if it wasn’t going to happen, I am thankful for myself, the team and all supporters of Pakistan cricket that we were able to pull it off.” said a breathless Misbah.
Yasir Shah was the hero of the series and was awarded player of the series for his 25 wickets including 3 five wicket-hauls averaging just 21.96. Roston Chase was given the Man of the match award for his unbeaten ton.
4. Pakistan wins the Champions Trophy Title for the first time.
“It’s gone in the air, Sarfraz takes the catch! It’s all over! Pakistan Wins!”
On the morning of 18th June, Pakistan Cricket Team started its new era. An era which is similar to the 90s era. Pakistan won the Champions Trophy 2017 for the very first time. Sarfraz Ahmed led an unexperienced but strong team throughout the tournament with responsibility. Who can forget Jasprit Bumrah’s famous no-ball, which gave a new life to Fakhar Zaman and that no-ball laid down the platform of Pakistan’s innings.
Azhar Ali starting the innings, Fakhar Zaman making the bowlers confuse and scoring a 100, Babar Azam supporting in the middle order, quick fire 50 from Mohammad Hafeez and Imad Wasim taking it away from the Indian bowlers, produced a mammoth total of 338 runs.
It’s Mohammad Amir who’ll bowl the first over, Hitman, Rohit Sharma will face him. Just on the 3rd ball of the over Amir gets the huge wicket of Hitman, Sharma departs without scoring.
Amir bowls to Kohli, outside edge and the senior man Azhar Ali drops it “That’s dropped! Not the man you want to drop! How important is that?!” Saurav Ganguly in the commentary box.
A few seconds later, just the next delivery, Kohli flicks it and Shadab catches it “IN THE AIR! GONE! NOT THAT IMPORTANT! HE IS GONE THE NEXT BALL! BRILLIANT FROM AMIR! PAKISTAN CRICKET AT ITS BEST! ONE MINUTE DOWN NEXT MINUTE UP!” It still gives us goosebumps.
After that wicket, all the Indian batters left the crease one by one, and Hassan Ali takes the final wicket, India is bowled out on 158 runs and Pakistan wins by a huge margin of 180 runs. That victory changed the fortune of Pakistan cricket. The fans now believe their team blindly and little by little Pakistan is improving.
5. Hasan Ali becomes the NO.1 BOWLER in the ICC ODI Rankings:
A young and thin boy from Mandi Bahauddin is picked in the emerging category by Peshawar Zalmi. Who thought he’d went on to represent Pakistan and become the no.1 ODI bowler in just 14 months? Yes, it is Hassan Ali.
Taking 3 wickets against South Africa, 3 against Sri Lanka, 3 against England in the semi-final and 3 against India in the Final, 13 wickets overall, he was awarded Man of the Tournament and was given the Golden Ball award (an award for the leading wicket taker in CT).
In October, he broke Waqar Younis fastest Pakistani to 50 wickets record against Sri Lanka.
In the same month he became the no.1 ODI bowler in the ICC rankings. Hassan has been a vital player for Pakistan since the CT17. That day finished the drought in the Pakistan bowling.
Hassan topping the rankings is one of the best moment of 2017 because it was the first time in 29 years since a Pakistani fast bowler has achieved this feat. Wasim Akram did it in 1989.
6. Pakistan climbs to the top in the ICC T20 rankings for the very first time:
Pakistan climbed to the no.1 spot in the ICC T20 rankings for the very first time on 1st of November. After India won against New Zealand by 2-1, Pakistan clinched the no.1 spot from New Zealand.
After clean sweeping Sri Lanka, Pakistan has balanced its no.1 spot in the rankings.
New Zealand slipped down to number 2 spot. Last year Pakistan became the number 1 Test team under Misbah-ul-Haq’s captaincy.
7. Mohammad Hafeez becomes no.1 ODI All Rounder:
Mohammad Hafeez reached the no.1 spot in the ICC ODI rankings, just after a day he was reported for an illegal bowling action. Taking it away from the Bangladeshi All-rounder, Shakib al Hassan.
Hafeez who has taken 136 wickets and has scored 5959 runs in his career and is among the most economical bowlers of the world since 2010 achieved this rank for the ninth time.
8. Imad Wasim becomes the no.1 T20 Bowler:
Imad Wasim has been playing with the T20 bowler rankings the whole year. No of times he has been on the top of the rankings is 4, 27th June, 5th April, 17th September and now on 25th December.
Taking 23 wickets, averaging 16.73 with one five-wicket haul, Imad Wasim is currently the best T20 bowlers according to the ICC ODI Rankings.
9. ICC World XI comes to Pakistan:
After the successful final of PSL in Lahore, International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that it will send a World XI team to tour Pakistan for a three match T20 series in Lahore at Gaddafi Stadium under the leadership of South Africa’s Faf du Plesis.
The team consisted of former and current superstars like, Hashim Amla, Paul Collingwood, Thisara Perera, Tamim Iqbal and any more. Matches were played from 12th of September till 15th of September.
Pakistan won the first and third T20 easily while the second was won by World XI. World XI was the best we could have ever achieved in this year. It helped in the opening of doors of international cricket to Pakistan and abled the Sri Lankan team to tour Pakistan for a T20i.
10. Sri Lanka tours Pakistan for a T20i, Cricket Coming Home:
After the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan Cricket team, international cricket turned its back Pakistan and for eight long years Pakistani grounds couldn’t heard the sound of Pakistan Zindabad.
Just like the drought in the Pakistan cricket team ended, this drought finally ended when Sri Lanka cricket board decided to tour Pakistan for a single T20 whether their top players will be ready to tour Pakistan or not.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan have been friends for a long time now. For Sri Lanka, Pakistan will always be a place where Ranatunga and his men lifted the World Cup 1996.
“This is a historic moment, He (Samathipala) made a pledge two months ago to me during the ACC moot in Colombo to break the ice and come to Lahore and help Pakistan bring international cricket home,” Chairman PCB Najam Sethi after SLC confirmed its tour plan.
“Sri Lanka suffered through three decades of terrorism and war and at one stage, no one wanted to come here Pakistan stood by us then, as did India,” Sumathipala proving that Pakistan has been with them through their thick and thin.