The league stage matches of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 came to an end on Saturday, after a month of enthralling and uninterrupted cricketing action. There were many spectacular performances which will be spoken about in the years to come. Australia, India, New Zealand and hosts England made it to the semi-finals.
The World Cup provides cricketers with an unparalleled platform, where some good performances can earn anyone the tag of a national hero. However, if anyone crumbles under the immense pressure, he is turned into a villain. Like every other edition, this World Cup too had plenty of talented under-performing cricketers.
Let us have a look at one such player from each team
1. Afghanistan – Rashid Khan
Before the World Cup, everyone would have expected to see Rashid Khan’s name on the top performers’ list. Unfortunately for the Afghan supporters, the 20-year-old leggie had a campaign that he would like to forget soon. In 9 matches, he could only pick up 6 wickets. He was also the most ineffective regular bowler for his team, amongst those who have played full 9 matches.
His economy rate is not something to be proud of either. The man from Nangarhar conceded runs at a rate of nearly 10 runs per over. Khan’s horrendous campaign was one of the main reasons behind Afghanistan’s poor campaign. But he is still very young, and cricket fans would want him to get back to his rhythm soon.
2. Australia – Glenn Maxwell
Australian batsman Glenn Maxwell is always a hit-and-miss cricketer. He is someone who will not sacrifice his natural playing style for anything. Hence, when the explosive batsman gets going, he is a joy to watch. But when he fails to do so, he increases the pressure on his teammates.
This World Cup has been more of a ‘miss’ than ‘hit’ for the 30-year-old. In 8 matches, Maxwell only scored 143 runs at an unimpressive average of 23. His average is even less than Nathan Coulter-Nile’s. Though openers David Warner and Aaron Finch’s magnificent performances have made up for Maxwell’s poor numbers, but what happens if Australia’s top order falters remains to be seen.
3. Bangladesh – Mashrafe Mortaza
From Imran Tahir to Shoaib Malik, this World Cup saw an end to many illustrious careers. Though Bangladesh’s legendary skipper Mashrafe Mortaza has not made any decision yet, his time in international cricket might be over. The 35-year-old is certainly way past his prime. In 8 matches, Mortaza only picked up a single wicket in what was a roller-coaster ride for Bangladesh.
He has leaked runs at an economy rate of over 6 runs per over. Quite understandably, the man from Jessore is not getting any younger. He is already a politician in Bangladesh and a hugely respected figure in the country. For many reasons, pundits are speculating that Mortaza’s retirement is on the cards.
4. England – Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali came into the World Cup after an impressive IPL. He was one of the better performers for Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore. Hence, English fans expected the all-rounder to repeat something similar, but that wasn’t case to be.
In 5 matches, the 32-year-old could only muster 75 runs an average of under 20. Normally, he makes up for his poor performance in one department by doing something splendid in the other department, but this World Cup was an exception. Ali managed to pick 5 wickets in as many games and conceded runs at an economy rate of over 5 runs per over. Consequently, he was dropped from the playing XI.
5. India – Kedar Jadhav
Going into the World Cup, many Indian cricketers had their position under threat, but Kedar Jadhav was not one of them. With his explosive batting and unorthodox yet effective bowling, he was expected to a vital part of the men in blue. But the all-rounder has failed to live up to the expectations and amassed only 80 runs in 5 games. His slow batting was slammed by many experts.
His ‘below the belt’ bowling was of no use in the pitches of England, which also crippled Virat Kohli’s flexibility in terms of bowling options. For obvious reasons, the 34-year-old was dropped for the team and has very little chance of making it to the playing XI for the semi-final.
6. New Zealand – Tom Latham
Former New Zealand cricketers were puzzled at the selectors’ decision of including Tom Blundell in the team. But the back-up wicket-keeper produced a ton in a warm-up game, whereas their first choice wicket-keeper, Tom Latham is still 2 runs away from 100 after playing 7 games.
The 27-year-old is generally a reliable customer at number 5 for the Kiwis. But he has found it hard to get going in this World Cup. Except his half-century against England, his numbers are no better than a number 11’s. Thankfully for New Zealand, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor’s excellent form has made up for Latham’s poor performances.
7. Pakistan – Hassan Ali
Gone are those days when Hasan Ali used to give nightmares to many reputed batsmen. The 25-year-old pacer has lost his midas touch and is now struggling to get into Pakistan’s playing XI. In the 4 matches he played, he could only pick up 2 wickets. His economy rate of nearly 8 runs per over might fool many to think that he was playing a 20-over World Cup.
Subsequently, he was dropped from the team and youngster Shaheen Afridi was given a chance in the playing XI. Afridi picked up 16 wickets in 5 games, which left many Pakistani supporters angry at their team management for not playing him in the initial games.
8. South Africa – Kagiso Rabada
Just like Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan, Kagiso Rabada is a name that pundits expected to see on the best performers’ list. He was the highest wicket-taker in the IPL, which ended just a couple of months ago. But the 24-year-old failed to make his mark in the biggest spectacle of world cricket.
In 9 games, the fiery pacer picked up only 8 wickets. The failure of their strike bowler was a major reason behind South Africa’s horrible tournament. Though his economy rate of just over 5 runs per over is still acceptable, the Proteas camp wanted him to pick up wickets at crucial intervals, which the Johannesburg-lad failed to do.
9. Sri Lanka – Thisara Perera
Ever since their legends have retired, Sri Lankan cricket has entered an unending transition phase. They had modest hopes when they landed in the United Kingdom, and those hopes mainly relied on experienced campaigners. While Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews had a good tournament, veteran Thisara Perera failed to impress the selectors.
In 6 games, the all-rounder scored just 61 runs at an average of just over 10. He couldn’t make up with his bowling as well, as the 30-year-old took just a single wicket in 6 games. His economy rate of nearly 6 runs per over was equally poor. With a new and hungry crop of players emerging into the surface, Perera’s position in the squad is certainly under jeopardy.
10. West Indies – Ashley Nurse
With their star all-rounder Andre Russell injured, West Indies needed a doctor in their team. They had Nurse, but he was not of much use. The 30-year-old spinner, who does not spin the ball often, played 4 games and failed to pick up a single wicket. Instead, he conceded runs at an economy rate of over 6 runs per over.
While batting, the big man from Barbados scored 20 runs. Spin bowling is a serious problem for the men from the Caribbean, as Nurse’s alternative Fabian Allen was equally ineffective. However, Allen at least managed to add a wicket to his tally.
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