The dust has settled after an entertainment Cricket World Cup culminated with arguably the greatest game in the sport’s rich history.
England and New Zealand fought tooth and nail in the final before the former claimed victory after a tied Super Over, winning their first-ever title in front of their home support.
That final will live long in the memory, but there were a few other moments over the course of the tournament that are worth revisiting…
STOKED FOR AN OVERTHROW
The hosts needed nine to win off three balls and when Ben Stokes raced back for two after hitting Trent Boult to deep midwicket, the throw from Martin Guptill struck the Englishman’s outstretched bat in a freak incident and raced away to the boundary.
It was the kind of lucky break no one could’ve seen coming and New Zealand were helpless. As a result, England were awarded six runs instead of two, drastically changing the equation.
Requiring just three of the remaining two deliveries, Stokes was able to tie the scores and take the final to a Super Over but according to ICC rules, only five runs should’ve been awarded in that scenario as the batsmen hadn’t crossed when the throw was released.
Furthermore, that would’ve seen Adil Rashid on strike for the next ball instead of Stokes. It doesn’t automatically mean New Zealand would’ve won instead but certainly sparks controversy.
The fact that Boult had caught Stokes off a slower Jimmy Nesham ball in the previous over only adds to the drama.
As far as his own performances go, Shakib Al Hassan had the perfect tournament.
But the moment that stood out was his all-round display during a 62-run victory over Afghanistan because that’s when he sent numerous records tumbling at the Rose Bowl.
On a slow track, Shakib’s hard fought 51 helped Bangladesh to a competitive 262/7 before bamboozling batsmen with the ball and delivering figures of 5/29 as Afghanistan were dismissed for 200 in 47 overs.
In doing so, Shakib matched Yuvraj Singh’s record of scoring 50-plus runs and taking five wickets in the same World Cup match.
He also became the first cricketer in World Cup history to score 400-plus runs and pick up 10 wickets in the same tournament.
To further his status as one of the best all-rounders of all-time, Shakib became the first player to score 1000-plus runs and take 30-plus wickets in World Cups.
But what truly made his World Cup special was the progress he showed as a batsman. Having been promoted up the order recently, he has been remarkably consistent and became the joint-third fastest to 1000 ODI runs batting at No3.
SHARMA’S BIGGEST HIT
Ever since he first broke onto the international scene in 2007, Rohit Sharma has been hailed a batting prodigy but inconsistency has always haunted him.
The Mumbai-born opener was in ominous form during this tournament though, finishing as top scorer with 648 runs from just nine innings with an average of 81.
The crowning glory of his campaign was that blistering knock of 140 against Pakistan off just 113 balls. After launching Hassan Ali for six with a glorious pull-shot early on in his innings, he never looked back.
What followed was a masterful display of stroke play with the odd hefty blow adding an element of punch to a scintillating innings.
The fact that it came against fierce rivals Pakistan and helped India extend their winning streak against them at World Cups (now seven wins) only made it sweeter.
It was Rohit Sharma at his very best.
SHAHEEN SHINES BRIGHT
Shaheen Shah Afridi only featured in five of Pakistan’s eight league games but his tally of 16 wickets – the most by at teenage at a World Cup – was just one shy of Mohammad Amir’s who played every single one.
By the time Pakistan faced Bangladesh in their final league game, the knockout stages were beyond reach but that didn’t stop Shaheen from leaving his mark on the tournament.
The left-arm quick bowled phenomenally to deliver figures of 6/35 as he led his side to a 94-run win.
The dismissal of Mahmudullah was special. Bowling over the wicket to the right-hander, his in-swinging yorker couldn’t have been better placed. And with the stumps rattled, Shaheen became the youngest bowler to take five World Cup wickets in a single match.
His sixth scalp of the day meant his spell was the best-ever by a Pakistan bowler at a World Cup.
THE BUTTLER DID IT
England have waited 44 years for this precise moment and though this dominant side shouldn’t have left their fans sweating, it was fitting that they triumphed in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Chasing 16 runs for victory in the Super Over, New Zealand’s Jimmy Neesham navigated the first five balls well, launching Jofra Archer for six in the second delivery. Aided by some excellent running between the wickets from Guptil, the Kiwis only needed two off the final ball.
However, it was Guptil on strike for the first time in the over and his punch to deep midwicket was straight to Jason Roy. He scampered back for a second but was never winning that race.
The throw wasn’t perfect and Buttler had to stretch to collect it before destroying the stumps in one big arcing motion as if sweeping away the misery of the last four decades along the way. Guptil was well short and the keeper instantly set off on wild celebration, tossing the ball away, then his glove.
The Super Over was tied but England had won on a technicality, scoring more boundaries in their six deliveries. By the slimmest margins imaginable, England were champions.
There were many things that stood out in the 2019 ICC World Cup with the immense success enjoyed by bowlers being one of them.
The tournament in England saw some fascinating contests between bat and ball, with the latter coming out on top on plenty of occasions.
Here, we cast our eye on the top five bowling spells from the World Cup:
Liam Plunkett (England)
3-41 v New Zealand
The brilliance of Liam Plunkett’s spell against the Kiwis was magnified by the occasion as it came in the final.
The Black Caps had recovered from the early loss of Martin Guptill through a threatening stand between Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls, but Wood wrestled back the initiative for England in the middle-overs with a damaging second spell.
The England medium-pacer used the cross-seamed delivery to deadly effect at Lord’s to dismiss both set batsmen in his second spell, before returning to dismiss the dangerous James Neesham with the same method.
New Zealand’s batting never truly recovered from the dismissals of those three crucial batsmen.
Mitchell Starc (Australia)
4-43 v England
Lord’s was lucky to witness some of the best spells of the tournament and it was hosts England who were on the receiving end when Mitchell Starc cranked up the heat.
The Aussie pace spearhead claimed two five-wicket hauls on his way to a record World Cup tally, but it was his showing against England that stood out.
With Australia attempting to defend a total of 285, Starc put the five-time champions on top against their arch-rivals with a devastating spell with the new-ball. He rattled the in-form Joe Root with a vicious inswinger before surprising Eoin Morgan with a menacing bouncer.
The hosts were threatening to recover from those early setbacks through a defiant innings from Ben Stokes, but Starc returned to shatter the stumps of the all-rounder with a toe-crushing yorker that was arguably the delivery of the tournament.
Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan)
6-35 v Bangladesh
While Pakistan had effectively been knocked out of the tournament at that point, Shaheen Afridi gave their fans something to cherish with a memorable display at Lord’s.
Afridi wreaked havoc on Bangladesh’s batting unit with a six-wicket burst and wrote his name into the record book in the process. His 6-35 are the best-ever ODI figures recorded by any bowler at Lord’s and he became the first teenager to claim a five-wicket haul at the ‘home of cricket’ in the process.
It ended up being the best figures in the tournament by any bowler and was made remarkable by the fact that it came from a 19-year-old pacer playing in his first World Cup campaign.
Matt Henry (New Zealand)
3-37 v India
India’s fans would have already been dreaming of the World Cup final when their team restricted New Zealand to 239 in the first semi-final at Manchester.
However, a complete shock lay in store for them and India’s star-studded batting unit on the reserve day with the Kiwi pacers running riot at Old Trafford.
It was Matt Henry who triggered India’s downfall with a stupendous opening spell with the moving ball that accounted for in-form openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. Both batsmen had no clue as to what hit them with Henry hitting a dangerous line and length that gave them no hiding room.
Trent Boult removed Virat Kohli at the other end to hurt India further before Henry claimed his third wicket of the day by sending back Dinesh Karthik. Those vital top-order wickets left India in tatters and a brilliant counter-attacking innings from Ravindra Jadeja wasn’t enough to save their campaign in the end.
Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka)
4-41 v England
It was Sri Lanka’s shock win over England that blew the tournament wide open in the latter stages and it was all set up by a vintage display from Lasith Malinga.
The veteran pacer turned back the clock at Headingley with a rousing display that left the hosts in tatters in a modest run chase of 233.
Malinga trapped Jonny Bairstow lbw for a golden duck before he found the outside edge of James Vince to give Sri Lanka a terrific start with the ball. England still managed to recover and were looking destined for a win, before Malinga returned to crush their hopes once again.
The 35-year-old snuffed out Joe Root’s innings before unleashing a trademark yorker that beat the dangerous Joe Buttler all ends up. Those two wickets turned the game on its head completely with Sri Lanka eventually wrapping up a famous win.
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.