The 12th edition of the ICC World Cup saw the group stage finish on a high with South Africa delivering a killer blow against Australia. That result had a significant impact on the semifinal fixtures as India, who many were touting to face England, will be locking horns with New Zealand whilst Australia and England will be delivering a trailer of the upcoming Ashes.
The Indians managed to finish on top of the table courtesy a huge win against Sri Lanka on the final day of the group stages. Rohit Sharma scored his fifth century of the World Cup and is looking well on course for another couple of big knocks. Playing at the Old Trafford will bring back a lot of memories and it will be interesting to see how they fare.
The group stages have been exhilarating, apart from the few days when rains completely dominated the proceedings. Many games down the wire and entertained people profusely. With the league stages of another memorable World Cup campaign coming to an end, here is an account of how the captains have fared.
1. Gulbadin Naib (Afghanistan) – 1/10
Gulbadin Naib has received a lot of flack this tournament for some of the poor decisions he has taken. It will take a lot of time for him to forget the outrage which the fans received after their loss against Pakistan, which was a result of some of the poor decisions taken by Naib. This has been a very disappointing outing for the newly minted captain of Afghanistan.
Asghar Afghan was removed as the captain just before the tournament started and many players had objected that move. Although the side had decent talents, them not winning a single game is a reflection on some poor captaincy. They also shuffled a bit too much with their opening combination, which didn’t reap any positive results.
2. Aaron Finch (Australia) – 9/10
Hands down the most competent and aggressive captain in the tournament, Aaron Finch has been highly impressed with his tactics, bowling changes and field settings. The way he’s used his trump cards in Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc has been one of the reasons behind their success. The skipper is now two wins away from becoming the fifth Aussie captain to win the tournament.
He’s also been wonderful with the bat, scoring 507 runs in the group stages. He could also join a very elite list of batsmen with over 600 runs in a single edition. The captain has been leading from the front and has been outstanding in every department. Although Australia lost two games in the group stages, Finch has been without a doubt the best captain of the tournament thus far.
3. Mashrafe Mortaza (Bangladesh) – 4/10
Mashrafe Mortaza has been an inspirational leader for the Tigers, who led the side to some glorious times in the last four years. The captain looked very pale with the ball and couldn’t lead the side from the front, which turned out to be a major blemish for Bangladesh.
A tournament which will be remembered for the heroics of Shakib Al Hasan, Mortaza and the others have not rallied around their stalwart, which potentially ruined their chance of entering the semifinals. Mortaza has been very smart with his bowling changes and playing XIs, which was clearly visible in the game.
4. Eoin Morgan (England) – 8/10
Eoin Morgan was disappointed with how the English side lost confidence in that brief period where they lost three games in four fixtures. But they bounced back brilliantly and registered commanding wins against the strong Indian and Kiwi contingents. The skipper has had a torrid time with the bat apart from the record-breaking innings against England.
The English skipper had some tough riddles to solve, but he was smart enough to bring back the experienced Liam Plunkett into the attack to add some fire-power to their bowling lineup. As a captain, he has been excellent but a couple of results didn’t go the way he would’ve liked. Another area where he has not been very impressive is deciding the batting lineup and how he under-used their X-factor batsman Jos Buttler.
5. Virat Kohli (India) – 9/10
A captain can be judged upon how he uses his most important players at different circumstances and the way he’s marshalled his troops to the semifinals has been staggering. The 30-year-old Delhi lad is almot equivalent to Aussie skipper Aaron Finch but the former didn’t have as many close games where his captaincy was put on a litmus test, but Kohli has done tremendously well thus far.
It was a bold and smart move to go with three pacers against Bangladesh and that reaped good rewards. If he goes the same way again, he will have two outstanding death bowlers to go with a prolific wicket-taker in Mohammed Shami. Going by how the team dominated its way to the top of the table, Kohli well and truly deserves a nine out of ten.
6. Kane Williamson (New Zealand) – 7/10
Kane Williamson has been left helpless in the last few games. The batting order is a bit too heavily reliant on him to score runs and their enigmatic openers barely showed up throughout the group stages. He has led the side from the front brilliantly and got them out of trouble on multiple occasions.
He has been very smart in using his two trump card fast bowlers in Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult. The Kiwi skipper has been stellar in some areas, but is not getting enough support from the team. If this is how they turn up for the big game against India, it will be very difficult for them to go one step ahead of their 2015 performance.
7. Sarfaraz Ahmed (Pakistan) – 3/10
Perhaps the poorest of all the top teams this edition, Sarfaraz Ahmed made some horrendous errors which cost Pakistan some big games. In a high-pressure game against India, he took the defensive approach to bowl first, even against the suggestions of their Prime Minister Imran Khan. He took a lot of time to bring in the talented Haris Sohail into the XI and that proved to be costly.
He also promised the fans that the team will try their best to score 500 in the final game, which was the need of the hour, but their approach suggested anything but that. Sarfaraz Ahmed’s inability to make optimal use of the talent he has at disposal was the biggest reason behind their poor performance.
8. Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka) – 6/10
Dimuth Karunaratne was made the captain of the Lankan ODI side out of the blue and the left-handed batsman had not played a game since 2015 in coloured jersey. But this move turned out to be decent for the Lankan camp as Karunaratne not only did a decent job with the bat, but also made his troops punch above their weights.
They registered a couple of impressive wins against England and West Indies, where they easily could’ve buckled down to pressure if not for his calm presence. Sri Lanka finished sixth on the points table, a performance they would’ve taken with open arms before the tournament started considering the form of their players.
9. Faf du Plessis (South Africa) – 5/10
Much like Kane Williamson, Faf du Plessis too was left helpless as most of his top players didn’t show up in the tournament. The likes of Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram, David Miller and Kagiso Rabada couldn’t play to the best of their abilities and the odds of so many quality players being out of form would’ve been very less.
Many were touting them to reach the semifinals, but their campaign ended with just three wins which came against Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Australia. A captain can only do a good job if the players are responding properly but Faf was seemingly hapless than incapable of leading the team.
10. Jason Holder (Windies) – 5/10
Jason Holder and his West Indies made a huge impact in the warm-up games, which suggested a prolific performance from the old giants of the game. It didn’t exactly turn out that way, but the Windies had some amazing moments. Jason Holder led the side from the front brilliantly, especially with the bat.
Sheldon Cottrell turned out to be a huge weapon in his arsenal but the likes of Oshane Thomas and Shannon Gabriel couldn’t turn up big. Also, he was a bit too harsh on Kemar Roach by not bringing him in the XI a little early. Some of his decisions were debatable, but he turned out okay for the 1975 and 1979 champions.
SportsInfo offers cricket, soccer, kabaddi, tennis, badminton, racing, basketball and other sports news, articles, videos, live coverage & live scores, player rankings & team rankings. Also, offers minute details of any match along with live commentary.