The group stage of the Icc cricket world cup 2019 came to a conclusion yesterday. Four teams to play semi-finals are India, England, New Zealand, Australia. India will play against New Zealand in the semi-final 1 whereas Australia will take on England in the second semifinal. Looking at the recent ODI matches the World Cup was anticipated to be a high scoring affair.
A positive thing about this edition is that there were some thrillers. Chasing target of more than 250 runs has been a big problem in this tournament. Consecutive failures in chasing targets highlight the difference between the pressure of the World Cup and bilateral series. There was a longer format in this edition and as spectators, we witnessed some great performances with bat and ball. According to me following are the top 5 performers in the group stage of ICC CWC 2019:
5)Kane Williamson: The Kiwi batsman, one of the fab four of this generation of cricketers shown his class. Throughout the tournament, it was evident that he is the pillar of New Zealand batting lineup keeping it intact. Whenever there was an early fall of wickets Williamson came to rescue and fought the battle. In 8 matches he played he amassed a total of 481 runs at an average of 96.20. There is no violence in his batting, he bats with proper cricketing shots which are pleasing to the eye. His solid technique and preference to play ball straight help him handle the swinging deliveries. Williamson aged 28 has a long way to go. In the semifinal against India, he will have to face a tough task to face likes of Bumrah, Shami and other bowlers who make Indian bowling lethal.
4) Jasprit Bumrah: The number one bowler in Icc ODI bowlers ranking is a nightmare for batsmen. The right-handed pacer with an unorthodox action has delivered for the team every time he was on the Cricket Field. In the 8 matches, Bumrah took 17 wickets. Although he has taken 17 wickets this number does not prove the quality of his bowling. From the first ball against South Africa, he has bowled on a tight line and length. The spearhead of Indian bowling is perfect at yorkers and so batsman has not taken very high backlift. Also looking at his skidding deliveries batsmen have played with more caution.
3) Mitchell Starc: Australian team have a legacy of producing left-arm fast bowlers and Mitchell starc joined this bunch of bowlers in 2010. In the previous edition, Starc was the man of the tournament due to his brilliant bowling. It looks like he is carrying the same form once again. He is leading the list of highest wicket takers with 26 wickets from 9 matches. Two things worked in his favour, pace and angle. Bowling over the wicket when he inswings ball to the right-hander that becomes very difficult to play. Also, yorkers and full-length deliveries consistently hitting over 145 KPH turned out to be wicket-taking deliveries. His yorker to Ben Stokes getting him out is my most favourite delivery in the tournament so far. Even if he goes wicketless in the next two games there are bright chances that he will end being the highest wicket-taker.
2)Rohit Sharma: Hitman is in the form of his life. He has scored 5 centuries in this world cup most by any batsman. It was a turning point in his career when Dhoni decided to send him up the order to open the innings. Since then he never looked back. A unique point in his game is the ability to clear the fence frequently. Unlike his teammate Virat Kohli he likes to play shots through the air. Going through very difficult spells of fast bowling is an important asset of his game. Although Rohit has scored 5 centuries he should now focus on taking these scores to 150 or more. As the semi-final is lined up another century is the need of the hour as Indian batting lineup heavily depends on the performance of Rohit and Virat.
1) Shakib-al-Hasan: Coming into the World Cup Shakib was already best all-rounder in the world cricket but he unleashed a new version of himself in this tournament. He scored 606 runs in the tournament and took 11 wickets. Shakib used to bat lower the order before the tournament but he was promoted to number 3 and the decision produced astonishing results. Mashraffe stated that the team felt sorry for Shakib but if they all have played like him there was a chance for them to reach semi-finals. Although Bangladesh failed to qualify for the knockout stage they played good cricket and Shakib was the hero of their journey.