The 2019 World Cup is fast approaching the business end and the top four teams – Australia, New Zealand, England and India – have started to pull away from the rest of the pack.
Barring a stunning turn of events, these four teams should make it to the semi-finals. But in cricket, anything is possible so we won’t jump the gun.
As action unfolds on the pitch, we take a look at moves and plays that have worked or flopped so far. Here is the latest in the series.
Pacers were expected to leave their mark as soon as it became clear that some pitches in England were going to have a little bit in them for the faster bowlers, owing to the inclement weather this time around.
It therefore hasn’t come as a surprise that the top eight bowlers so far are all fast bowlers and five of the top six out-and-out quicks. Mitchell Starc leads the way with 15 scalps from six games, proving that quality pace can work on any surface.
With hardly any swing on offer, the likes of Jofra Archer, Pat Cummins and Mark Wood have blasted their way into the wickets column. And it might remain so until the end of the tournament unless curators produce a few ‘green mambas’.
Leg spinners and wrist spinners in general were seen as must-haves in the middle overs in England to be effective. However, the results so far don’t reflect that notion. South African veteran Imran Tahir is the only ‘wristie’ among the top wicket-takers with eight wickets from six games.
India leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has six wickets from three games but he has gone for more than six an over. Adam Zampa of Australia has been spanked for over seven an over and England’s Adil Rashid has gone for more than six while picking up five from five matches. Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan, in fact, finished with the second worst bowling figures in history – 0-110 from nine overs against England.
Maybe as the pitches get more tired, wrist spinners will be among the wickets and also keep the economy rate down; six of the seven top pacers have an economy of well under five an over.
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