From smashed records to unforgettable upsets, the top six matches of 2018

Maryam Mallick
New Update
As 2018 nears its end, Women's CricZone look back on what was an eventful year in the sport. It featured an unforgettable World Twenty20 and a new winner in Asia Cup. Here are the top six international matches across two formats:

The Nail-biters:

New Zealand beat West Indies by one run in first ODI

Sophie Devine blasted 108 off 103 balls in a 76-run stand with skipper Suzie Bates. She then combined with Amy Satterthwaite for a further 60-run stand, taking New Zealand to 278 for 9.

Windies lost Hayley Matthews cheaply, but her fellow opener Kycia Knight combined with skipper Stafanie Taylor for a 57-run stand. Taylor fell just 10 runs short of a century, with her team still requiring 64 runs to win. Kyshona Knight then smashed the bowlers on her way to an unbeaten 44 off 31. With her at the crease, Windies looked to be in the driving seat, requiring 11 of the final over. Knight belted a boundary off the fourth delivery but was unable to find the rope again in the over. She ran hard between the wickets, looking to tie the match at least, but her efforts were not enough.

New Zealand won the remaining two ODIs comfortably, soaring to the top spot in the ICC Women's Championship table. They now sit at No.2, behind Australia.

Windies beat England by four wickets at World T20

A top of the table clash, the match delivered exactly what the World T20 demanded at that point: a tight, anxiety-inducing finish.

Windies restricted England to 115 for 8, with only Tammy Beaumont, Sophia Dunkley and Anya Shrubsole contributing with the bat. Deandra Dottin took 2-21. She then starred with the bat as well, scoring an uncharacteristically slow 52-ball 46. Shemaine Campbelle added a quickfire 45 off 42 to the total before being dismissed in the last over. When she departed, the Windies required three runs from four balls. Her wicket brought Kycia Knight to the crease, who smashed the first ball she faced for a four. With Darren Sammy encouraging them from the stands, Windies finished on the top of the league table in Gros Islet.

The Record-smashers 

New Zealand beat Ireland by 491 runs in first ODI

Ireland were on the wrong side of a world record when they hosted New Zealand. The tourists powered their way to the highest-ever ODI score, in men's or women's cricket. Suzie Bates' tenth ton and Maddy Green's first, as well as half-centuries from Jess Watkin and Amelia Kerr propelled New Zealand to 491 for 4. In the process, Bates became just the second batter in ODIs to record ten centuries.

Meanwhile, Cara Murray bowled the most expensive spell in ODIs with figures of 2 for 119 in ten overs. In contrast, New Zealand's Leigh Kasperek took 4-17. Ireland's 347 run loss was the second highest margin of defeat in ODIs.

In the same series, New Zealand's Amelia Kerr broke the record for the highest individual score, going past Australia's Belinda Clark to make 232.

England beat South Africa by 121 runs in the second match of the T20I tri-series

Earlier in the day, New Zealand had made 216 against South Africa. It was the highest T20I total, but it was bettered by England within a few hours in the second match of the day.  Tammy Beaumont and Danni Wyatt laid the platform early with their 147-run partnership. But after Wyatt departed for 56 off 36, Beaumont shifted into another gear. She blasted 116 off 52, and her teammates followed suit. Natalie Sciver (33 off 15) and Katherine Brunt (42* off 16) did not show any mercy on the South African bowlers either. England ended their onslaught on 250 for 3.

South Africa's batting order crumbled. Only skipper Dane van Niekerk made 72 off 51. No other batter scored more than 25 runs. Anya Shrubsole finished with figures of 4-2-8-0 on a flat pitch.

The Unforgettable Upsets

Sri Lanka beat India by three wickets in third ODI

India had already won the ODI leg of their away series against Sri Lanka, but with Championship points up for grabs, a lot rode on the final match of the series.

Led by skipper Mithali Raj's masterful 125 and Smriti Mandhana's 51, India posted 253 for 5. Mandhana and Raj put on 102 for the second wicket. In reply Chamari Athapaththu, the Sri Lankan captain, scored a magnificent ton to set the tone. She put on a 101-run opening stand with Hasini Perera (45).

The match became more interesting when the skipper's wicket fell. Her side still required 61 runs to record their first win over India in five years. Nilakshi de Silva's short cameo of 15 off nine helped the innings gain some momentum again. Sripali Weerakody, with her run-a-ball 14, and Kavisha Dilhari with her 7-ball 12 guided Sri Lanka over the finish line.

Six runs were needed off the last over. Three singles were taken from as many deliveries. On the fourth ball, the score was tied as the batters scurried through for a double. Off the penultimate ball, Dilhari smacked a boundary to complete a historic win in style.

Bangladesh beat India by three wickets in Asia Cup final 

There were many upsets at the 2018 Asia Cup. Thailand defeated Sri Lanka, but Bangladesh were the real eye-catchers.

They triumphed over both India and Pakistan in the league stages to reach the final.  

The final was an absolute thriller, going down to the wire. Bangladesh stifled India to 112-9 despite a defiant 56 off 42 from skipper Harmanpreet Kaur.

Bangladesh did not make the chase easy for themselves, losing wickets at regular intervals. However, most of their batters reached double figures to keep chipping away at the total. With 11 required off the last two overs, Bangladesh scored four runs of the penultimate one. Six runs came off the first three balls of the final over bowled by Harmanpreet to relieve some pressure. Two wickets off the next two deliveries left two new batters at the crease with two to win. Jahanara Alam displayed nerves of steel to guide her team to the win. Bangladesh had defeated six-time Asia Cup champions to change ownership rights over the trophy.