The 2019 World Cup will live long in the memory of cricket fans after the epic finale at Lord’s which saw hosts England clinch their maiden title in the most-extraordinary fashion.
The World Cup had been faced with criticism long before it began after the number of participating teams was reduced to 10 and it did face its hiccups in the tournament-stage as well, with several matches being wiped out because of rain without the provision of a reserve day.
However, despite its shortcomings, the 2019 World Cup proved to be one of the most exciting in recent history with several factors working for it.
Here, we take a look at the biggest positives from the tournament.
Even contest between bat and ball
Before the tournament began, all the talk had been about the 500-run barrier being broken in ODI cricket but none of that transpired in England.
While there were some big scores over the course of the tournament, even the 400-run mark was not breached in the end. Ultimately, it was a glorious throwback to ODI cricket of the 1990s and early 2000s with low-scoring encounters becoming a common theme once again.
The two semi-finals as well as the summit clash saw some pulsating cricket being played around totals below 250 with the latter being the perfect testament to what was a pretty even contest between bat and ball throughout the tournament.
Bowlers have a field day
ODI cricket had become heavily skewed in the favour of batsmen over the last few years or so, but bowlers were able to make a roaring comeback in the World Cup.
It wasn’t just the batsmen who made hay with several bowling records being broken along the way, including that of the highest wicket tally in a single World Cup edition.
The average run-rate in World Cups had been constantly increasing since the 2003 edition, but it dipped this time to 5.59 compared to 2015 when it was at 5.65.
It was a pure exhibition of the most menacing form of fast-bowling at times with the likes of Mitchell Starc, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Jasprit Bumrah making the batsmen jump and hop to their tunes.
While some of the batting and bowling in the World Cup was top notch, the fielding wasn’t too far behind with some stunning catches being claimed all over the park.
From Ben Stokes’ one-handed grab in the tournament opener against South Africa to Sheldon Cottrell’s sublime effort at the boundary ropes to claim Steve Smith’s catch, there was no dearth of some sensational acrobatics in the field.
Smith was on the receiving end of another absolute stunner in the field in Australia’s clash against New Zealand where Martin Guptill pulled off an outrageous catch while fielding inside the inner ring.
All in all, the collection of best catches in the 2019 edition will take some topping in the future.
ODI cricket is still alive and kicking
With the advent of the T20s, one-day cricket had started to find itself in a weird spot between the shortest format and Tests with the popularity of the 50-over game taking a dip.
Many had feared for the future of ODI cricket but the reports of its demise seem greatly exaggerated after a tournament for the ages in England. With its abundance of nail-biting thrillers and low-scoring encounters, the 2019 World Cup has brought the 50-over format back into the spotlight.
Some of the skills displayed by batsmen, bowlers and fielders were nothing short of sensational with the momentum of a game changing in a matter of minutes. Seeing batsmen dominate the game had become a tad boring and the World Cup has come just at the right time to prove that the format still has a future.
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