The year 2018 saw some scintillating performances in ODI cricket, by individuals as well as teams. This was the year when two-time world champions had to play the qualifying tournament for the World Cup, when minnows Scotland outplayed big brothers England, when the highest ODI total was posted against the world champions, when the spirited Afghans tipped Zimbabwe, Ireland, and West Indies to win the World Cup qualifying tournament. The year saw a lot of individual brilliance as well, where some legends just consolidated their stature while some newcomers made their names on the big stage.
As the year comes to an end, the teams get ready for the World Cup which is less than six months away from now. Going into the World Cup, all the teams look for momentum. And here we look at the top 5 teams with the best momentum, the teams with most wins in 2018:
#5 South Africa
The ODI calendar for the Proteas started with a home series against India. Coming off a 2-1 victory in the Test series against the same opposition, South Africa could not replicate the success in the ODI format and conceded the first ever home series loss to India. With a 5-1 defeat in the six-match series at home, South Africa had a terrible start to the year.
The next ODI assignment in Sri Lanka, where the home side clean swept the visitors in tests, saw a change of fortunes for South Africa, as the rainbow nation won the five-match series 3-2.
South Africa then hosted Zimbabwe for a 3 match series and managed to whitewash the fellow African nation. The year ended on a high for the Proteas as they routed the Aussies in the own backyard, winning the 3-match series 2-1. With the series levelled at 1-1, South Africa won the last game comfortably with 6 wickets and more than 20 overs to spare.
With a total of 9 wins from 17 games, with a win percentage of 52.94%, South Africa stands fifth in this list.
The rise of Afghanistan, from an associate nation to a side capable of scaring the best teams in the world, has been the story of the decade in cricketing fraternity. Afghanistan enjoyed a stellar run in 2018, where they won the World Cup qualifiers by beating West Indies in the finals. Losing the initial matches against Scotland, Zimbabwe and Hong Kong, they bounced back remarkably and reached the finals to set a date with the two time champions.
The year started with a dominating performance against Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe, beating the home side convincingly. The 5 match series was won by Afghanistan 4-1. The victory was followed by the success in the qualifiers. Afghanistan then went on to win against Ireland in Ireland 2-1 in a 3 match series.
The Asia Cup is where Afghanistan took the next big step, topping the group which included Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In the super six stage, all three games finished in the last over, with Afghanistan losing two close games due to lack of experience. They went one step ahead against India and managed to tie against the top-ranked ODI side.
With 12 wins from 20 games, with a 60% success rate, Afghanistan can consider 2018 as their breakthrough year, where they showed the world that they can beat even the best in the business and on a regular basis.
Bangladesh have been growing in stature every passing year this decade and this year was no different. They started off 2018 well, with wins in three of the four games in the group stage in a tri-series which involved Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe as well. However, they lost to Sri Lanka in the finals. This was followed by a tour to West Indies. The Tigers beat the home side 2-1 and clinched the 3-match series.
The most impressive performance, however, came in the Asia Cup where they finished as the runner-ups, losing the finals against India in a closely contested game by 3 wickets. The tournament started with a win against Sri Lanka, followed by a loss against Afghanistan in the group stage. In the super six stage, Bangladesh beat both Afghanistan and Pakistan to reach the finals.
The year ended with a 3-0 whitewash against Zimbabwe at home, where the hosts won all three games comfortably.
With 13 wins from 20 games, with a success rate of 65%, Bangladesh are third in the list of most ODI wins in 2018 and also have the third-best win percentage.
India started their ODI campaign in 2018 with a bang, getting their first ever series win in South Africa. India came off a 2-1 loss in the closely fought Test series but completely outplayed the hosts in the ODI series.
The Indian spinners wreaked havoc on the Proteas, except for one game where Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller bullied them. Kohli ridiculed the opposition with three hundreds in six games as India thrashed the home side 5-1 in the six-match series.
The success in the rainbow nation was followed by a 2-1 against the English side in England. After winning the first game comfortably, India slipped in the subsequent games and conceded the series, exposing the issues with Indian middle order.
The Asia Cup was quite a successful campaign, except for the game against Hong Kong where the minnows were on track to beat the top-ranked ODI side and the one against Afghanistan which ended in a tie. With the win, India clinched their seventh Asia cup title, the most by any team.
The home series against West Indies, despite ending with a 3-1 victory for India, saw West Indies give India a scare. The solitary loss for India in the series was only their fourth loss in the year out of 20 games. The biggest positive from the series was that India finally managed to fix the number four slot, with Ambati Rayudu cementing his place.
With 14 wins from 20 games, India stand second in the list of most ODI wins with a success rate of 70%.
The most dominating ODI side post the 2015 World Cup, England started off the year with a 4-1 win in Australia against Australia. The series started with 3 consecutive wins for England and ended with another English win, sandwiching a solitary win for the Aussies. The 5-match series down under was followed by another 5-match series in New Zealand, which was won by the visiting side 3-2, this time the series was a little more closely contested with the last game being the series decider.
The overseas success was followed by a shocker in Scotland against the home side, where Scotland put up a mammoth 371 on the board. England fought valiantly, only to fall short by 6 runs, getting all out for 365 with 7 balls to spare.
However, the loss was soon forgotten with a 5-0 whitewash at home against arch-rivals Australia. The third game of the series saw England put up the highest total in ODI cricket, finishing with 481 for the loss of 6 wickets. Aussies lost the game by a massive 242 runs. Though the first and the last games were closely fought, England were quite dominant overall.
The biggest boost came with a 2-1 home win against India, who are expected to be their biggest hurdle in the World Cup. After losing the first game miserably, England bounced back, with consecutive hundreds from Root, to win the remaining games and clinch the three-match series. Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali got the better of Indian middle order on both occasions.
The year ended with yet another overseas win against Sri Lanka, where the visiting side won 3-1 in a five-match series. After the washout in the first game, England won three consecutive games to win the series, but fell to a massive 219 run defeat in the final ODI, thus ending a successful year with a loss.
With 17 wins from 24 games, England have the best win percentage (70.83%) among all teams in 2018. They are also the only team to remain unbeaten in a series this year. Overall, they look primed to lift their maiden World Cup next year if they continue the way they are performing at this moment.