Movers and shakers of the bash Down Under

Movers and shakers of the bash Down Under

As Australia bask in the glory after a tremendous summer, here’a look at the men who made it and those who fell short. That is, the hit and miss parade...

Hits

* Steven Smith: Living out a dream summer, the future skipper showed how much the Aussies love the big stage. A polished century in the semifinal and an unbeaten 56 in the final, including the winning runs, prove that.

* Shikhar Dhawan: Pilloried for his abysmal form preceding the Cup, Dhawan responded sternly with the bat, scoring two centuries and emerging as India’s top scorer with 412 runs.

*Kumar Sangakkara: Just like wine, the Sri Lankan got better with age, slamming a mind-boggling four consecutive centuries that had everyone saying “Don’t retire (from ODIs) please!”

*Martin Guptill: While double centuries are slowly becoming a more frequent occurrence oin ODIs, Guptill, and many of us, will most definitely remember the unbeaten 237 where he single-handedly destroyed a clueless West Indies in the quarterfinal.

* AB de Villiers: Perhaps, the most destructive batsman in modern day cricket, de Villiers left his impression on the biggest stage with a eye-popping 66-ball 162 n.o. against the West Indies. Thanks to that knock, ABD now holds the record for the fastest 50, 100 and 150! Next, you know it.

*Mohammad Shami: After a disastrous Test and Tri-series in Australia, Mohammad Shami-led Indian pace attack surprised many with their stupendous performance. Shami, barring the semifinal, was consistency personified and finished with an impressive 17-wicket haul.

* Mitchell Starc: The left-armer announced his presence on the big stage with a fiery (6/28) show against New Zealand in the pool stage. With quality swing bowling matched with pace, Starc stormed through the gates of the batsmen consistently and was adjudged the best of the tournament. 

*Trent Boult: Boult, like Starc, displayed top level left-arm pace bowling and was the backbone of the Kiwi attack. The youngster proved to be the match winner the team was looking for on more than one occasion.

*Imran Tahir: Just like his celebratory run, Tahir’s bowling was a treat to watch. With most of the surfaces favouring batsmen and a few aiding the pacers, Tahir produced memorable spells of leg spin to trouble batsmen of all calibre.

*Wahab Riaz: Australia’s Shane Watson will be the best expert to comment on Riaz’s sizzling spell in the quarterfinal. Almost unplayable, Riaz hostile bowling that had Watson scurring for cover has pundits terms it as one of the best spells ever.

 

Misses

* Virat Kohli: Supposed to set the tournament on fire, all that Kohli managed was to send the social world abuzz with his repeated flops. The opening century against Pakistan was his only hit.

* Mahela Jayawardene: While one partner -- Sangakkara -- stole the show, the other of the illustrious Sri Lankan Double Team was a pale shadow of his best, barring the match-saving century against Afghanistan.

* Hashim Amla: Raking in runs has been like sipping water for Amla but, sadly, the World Cup remained a dry affair by his lofty standards. Just one century and one half-century made for a poor show.

*Kane Williamson: While his country New Zealand enjoyed a dream journey to the final, Williamson’s ride was not a pleasant one managing a top score of just 57 in the opening match.

* Lasith Malinga: The slinger did not pose any threat to batsmen in this tourney. Returning from injury, Malinga looked jaded for the better part, his famed toe-crushers conspicuous by its absence.

*Dale Steyn: Known as the lord of death bowling, Steyn lacked the punch for which he is feared for. The Proteas bowler was off-colour throughout and reserved his worst for the the semifinal where he was carted all over by McCullum. To add salt to his wounds, he conceded 12 runs in the final over that spelt doom for South Africa.

*Vernon Philander: Coming back from an injury, Philander dented South Africa’s hopes by leaking plenty of runs. His controversial selection over emerging talent Kyle Abott in the semifinal still found no logical explanation.

* James Anderson: The England spearhead had a tournament to forget. Anderson rarely gave England the breakthrough during the first ten overs and turned out to be a damp squib. Very much like his team in Australia.

Magic Moments

The World Cup may not have served up a big list of thrillers but it had its special moments. Here’s a pick...
* Daniel Vettori: At 38, and on the verge of quitting the game, Vettori still had springs on his heels to pluck that catch off Marlon Samuels in the quarterfinal against the West Indies. The disbelief in Samuels’ eyes told the tale.

*Afghan’s victory: They showed spunk and a smattering of talent on debut, as Scotland found to their peril.

* Dilshan’s charge: Mitchell Johnson can bowl fast, seriously fast. He can also be smashed, ball after ball. Tillakaratne Dilshan’s six fours in a row provided the proof at Sydney, on March 8.
*Elliott’s gesture: C’mon mate, it’s just a game. Try telling that to a quick who has just been smashed for the winning six. Elliott didn’t exactly use the same words to Dale Steyn but his gesture topped it all.

*Two double tons: Blame it on rules, blame it on big bats, blame it on brazen aggression. For the first time in World Cup history, you had a double ton on view, with Chris Gayle hammering a 215. Quickly, it became two. Martin Guptill was the man this time as the bowlers suffered.

* Bails: Not just the rules but even the bails seemed to be in favour of the batsmen. On three occasions, the bails jumped out of place before returning back neatly that left the bowlers flummoxed. Of course, Ed Joyce, Misbah-ul-Haq and Steven Smith were not complaining.

Number game

3  The number of 400 plus totals scored.

5 Number of World Cup titles won by Australia, the most by any team

7  Individual scores of 150 or more.

8 Hundreds scored by Sri Lankan batsmen, the most by any team.

38 Total number of centuries scored in a total of 49 matches.

275  Biggest victory  margin recorded in a World Cup by Australia (against Afghanistan). 

417  Highest total in the history of World Cup, piled up by Australia (against Afghanistan)
 

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