The year 2016 amazed and amused sporting fans around the world with major twists and turns that left spectators spell-bound around the globe.
The Express Tribune recollects the memories of 10 glorious sporting events of 2016.
1. Afghanistan’s twin upsets at World T20
Afghanistan players celebrate after defeating West Indies in their World T20 Super 10 match. PHOTO: AFP
March 27, 2016: The 2016 World T20 was the first time Afghanistan cricket team qualified for the premier tournament of cricket’s shortest format. But the minnows weren’t going to be content simply with participation as they first defeated Zimbabwe by 59 runs before successfully defending a meagre 123 against eventual champions West Indies to cause one of the biggest upsets in cricket history.
Ronaldo treble fires Real to Club World Cup glory
2. Carlos Brathwaite’s late heroics in World T20 final
West Indies players celebrate their second World T20 triumph. PHOTO: AFP
April 3, 2016: When a defeat for West Indies almost seemed a foregone conclusion in the World T20 final all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite showed how clutch he is by prising away a win from the jaws of the English.
Australia beat Pakistan by 39 runs in first Test
With 19 required off the last over, Brathwaite struck four sixes off four consecutive balls on the bowling of England’s Ben Stokes as West Indies became the first side to win World T20 two times.
3. Leicester City’s fairy-tale triumph
Leicester City were 5000/1 underdogs before the season but they still ended up winning the Premier League title. PHOTO: AFP
May 02, 2016: Leicester City winning the premier league, for a vast majority of fans, was the sports story of 2016.
Claudio Ranieri’s men were 5000/1 underdogs to win the league, and were among the favourites for relegation. However, they became an indomitable juggernaut as soon as the league kicked off, beating established clubs such as Arsenal and Spurs to the title.
4. Real Madrid win record 11th Champions League title
Real Madrid won their 11th Champions League title after defeating city rivals Atletico Madrid on penalties. PHOTO: AFP
May 28, 2016: Zinedine Zidane became only the seventh man to win the UEFA Champions League, both as a player and as a manager after his Real Madrid side won Europe’s elite football competition on penalties to secure their 11th European title.
Real achieved the milestone by beating city rivals Atletico Madrid for the second time in three years in the final of the mega event as the match ended 1-1 after extra-time.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers remarkable turn around
Cleveland Cavaliers won their first NBA title after a remarkable turnaround in the best-of-seven finals against Golden State Warriors. PHOTO: REUTERS
June 20, 2016: Cleveland Cavaliers became the first side to turn around a 3-1 series deficit in the best-of-seven NBA Finals as they triumphed 4-3 over Golden State Warriors.
It was also the first-ever NBA title for the Cavaliers who are led by hometown hero LeBron James.
6. Chile retain Copa America 2016
Chile retained the Copa America title after beating Argentina on penalties for the second time running. PHOTO: AFP
June 26, 2016: Chile, who won their first-ever major title in 2015 when they defeated Argentina on penalties, went on to defend their title after defeating Lionel Messi’s team for the second year running.
That loss made Argentine star Messi, who lost his third consecutive final with the national team, to retire from international football although he retracted that decision later.
7. Portugal Euro 2016 triumph
Portugal won their first-ever major tournament after beating France 1-0 in the final at Stade de France. PHOTO: AFP
July 11, 2016: Cristiano Ronaldo-less Portugal defeated favourites France in the final of the Euro 2016 final at Stade de France, winning their first-ever trophy at the international level.
The victory was even more impressive because the winners were without their talisman Ronaldo for the most of the game due to a knee injury.
8. Babar Azam’s record performance against Windies
Babar Azam became the highest run-scorer in three-match ODI bilateral series against Calypsos. PHOTO COURTESY: ACC
October 05, 2016: Young Pakistan batsman Babar Azam struck his third consecutive ODI century against West Indies in the last of the three-match series in Abu Dhabi.
The 22-year-old also became the player with the highest number of runs scored in a three-match bilateral ODI series, surpassing South Africa’s Quinton de Kock.
9. Andy Murray’s ascension to top of world rankings
Andy Murray became the first British tennis player to become world number one since computer ranking system started in 1973. PHOTO: AFP
November 5, 2016: British tennis star Andy Murray became the new world number one, dethroning Serbia’s Novak Djokovic. By doing so, the 29-year-old became the first British player to rise to the rankings’ summit since computer ranking system started in 1973.
10. Conor McGregor creating history
Conor McGregor became the first MMA fighter to hold two titles simultaneously. PHOTO: REUTERS
November 13, 2016: Irish Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Conor McGregor became the first man ever to hold two UFC belts at the same time after knocking out American fighter Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in New York.
courtesy : Express Tribune