CWC 2019 review: Ben Stokes lights up the tournament opener and other top all-round displays

Ashish Peter 20/07/2019
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Stokes was brilliant in the tournament opener at the Oval.

The 2019 ICC World Cup will live long in the memory of cricket fans after the most epic finale at Lord’s which saw England pip New Zealand to a maiden title.

While the final was as thrilling a cricket match as they come, the entire tournament was also an eventful one with some sensational individual and team displays along the way.

Here, we look at the top five batting knocks of the tournament.

Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan)

52 and 2-33 vs India

The Afghanistan man was unfortunate to end up on the losing side after what was a fine all-round display from him at Southampton.

On a slow and tricky surface at Southampton, Nabi helped Afghanistan restrict India’s formidable batting order to just 224-8 by picking up the crucial wickets of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul.

He followed it up with a superb batting display that nearly helped Afghanistan pull of the biggest shock of the tournament. The right-hander’s quick-fire fifty put Afghanistan on the brink before a final over hat-trick from Mohammed Shami helped the Men in Blue pull off an 11-run win.

It was a heroic display from Nabi nevertheless with the Afghanistan managing to look the second most fluent batsman at the crease after Kohli on what was a really difficult surface to bat on.

Nabi nearly pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament.

Nabi nearly pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament.

Joe Root (England)

100 not out and 2-27 vs West Indies

The England stalwart’s part-time off spin was put to lethal use in the clash against Windies where he managed to grab the important wickets of the dangerous Shimron Hetmyer and Jason Holder.

Those two wickets helped England bowl out the Caribbean side for just 212 runs before the hosts chased down the target with considerable ease.

With Jason Roy tweaking his hamstring in the clash, Root was promoted to open the innings alongside Jonny Bairstow and the duo put on a commanding 95 run stand. Bairstow perished but Root continued to march on in effortless style before bringing up his second ton of the tournament in the closing stages.

Root’s brilliance meant England romped to victory with nearly 17 overs to spare in the end.

Root's off-spin did serious damage.

Root’s off-spin did serious damage.

Ravindra Jadeja (India)

77 and 1-34 vs New Zealand

That it ultimately ended in defeat for India was a shame but Jadeja’s heroics at Old Trafford in the semi-final against New Zealand is worthy of a mention.

The all-rounder was excellent with the ball to start up with his 10 overs going for just 34 runs while fetching the important wicket of the well-set Henry Nicholls. To top it, Jadeja took two fine catches and a brilliant run-out of Ross Taylor.

India were ultimately set a target of 240 but their top-order were completely disintegrated by the Kiwis at the very start of the run chase.

India were tottering at 92-6 in the 31st over when Jadeja walked in to bat and the southpaw immediately unleashed a stunning counter-attack on New Zealand’s bowlers. On a pitch where nearly every batsman struggled, Jadeja was in a league of his own as he smashed the ball to all parts of the ground.

His 59-ball 77 gave India a new lease of life but the run-rate pressure ultimately told on him and he perished in the pursuit of another big hit.

A valiant display from Jadeja went in vain in the end.

A valiant display from Jadeja went in vain in the end.

Ben Stokes (England)

89 and 2-12 vs South Africa

The star England man’s display in the Lord’s final will forever be his crowning achievement but his best all-round show in the World Cup came in the tournament opener against South Africa at the Oval.

Stokes arrived at the crease with England at 111-3 and was content to bide his time in the early stages before going on the offensive. The left-hander switched gears in the death overs to unleash a flurry of boundaries while the Proteas kept chipping away with wickets at the other end.

Stokes was the last England batsman to be dismissed but not before he had helped the side breach the 300-run mark. He then pulled off one of the best catches of the tournament with a one-handed grab on the boundary ropes before picking up two late wickets to cap off a complete all-round display.

Stokes pulled off a stunning one-handed catch in the deep.

Stokes pulled off a stunning catch to dismiss Andile Phehlukwayo

Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)

124 not out and 2-54 vs West Indies

The Bangladesh stalwart was the all-rounder of the tournament with more than 600 runs and 11 wickets to his name. The No1 ODI all-rounder was brilliant from start to finish for the Tigers but his best arguably came in the clash against Windies at Taunton.

The southpaw’s 2-54 with the ball was a respectable effort with West Indies piling up 321-8 in their 50 overs. What followed in Bangladesh’s innings was nothing short of spectacular with Shakib’s whirlwind 124 (99) helping the Tigers chase down the stiff target with more than eight overs to spare.

The left-hander feasted on the short-pitched bowling approach by Windies to register what was a second consecutive ODI ton. That explosive knock helped Bangladesh equal their highest run-chase in ODIs with Shakib becoming the first batsman from his country to register 6,000 runs in the process.

Shakib and Litton Das made short work of a 322-run chase.

Shakib and Litton Das made short work of a 322-run chase.

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CWC 2019 review: Williamson's brilliance against South Africa among the top five knocks of tournament

Ashish Peter 20/07/2019
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Williamson led a magnificent chase against the Proteas.

The 2019 ICC World Cup will live long in the memory of cricket fans after an epic finale at Lord’s which saw England pip New Zealand to a maiden title.

While the final was as thrilling a cricket match as they come, the entire tournament was also an eventful one with some sensational individual and team displays along the way.

Here, we look at the top five batting knocks of the tournament.

Babar Azam (Pakistan)

101 not out vs New Zealand

Pakistan had been set a target of 238 in a must-win clash at Edgbaston against New Zealand and they found themselves in trouble after losing the openers early.

The pitch started to slow down drastically with Mitchell Santner finding grip and turn. Even Kane Williamson’s part time off-spin was spitting venom with Pakistan’s batsmen finding the going tough.

Babar, however, survived an extremely testing period in the middle overs before going on the attack against the other bowlers. The Pakistan No3 was a picture of concentration out in the middle and he took the attack to the seamers and spinners alike once the target came closer.

The right-hander brought a packed Birmingham crowd to its feet when he brought up his maiden World Cup ton before taking his team home with five balls to spare.

A fine maiden World Cup ton for Babar Azam.

A fine maiden World Cup ton for Babar Azam.

Nathan Coulter-Nile (Australia)

92 vs West Indies

Australia were reeling at 147-6 in the 31st against the West Indies at Trent Bridge when Nathan Coulter-Nile arrived in the middle to join Steve Smith at the crease.

Aaron Finch’s men were in real danger of being bowled out inside 50 overs before Coulter-Nile turned things around with a counter-attacking innings.

The pacer struck his maiden ODI half-century and was looking good for a sensational ton before he holed out to Jason Holder at long-off for a 60-ball 92. A total of 12 boundaries including four sixes were thumped by the right-hander who had taken Australia’s total to 284-9 by the time he was dismissed.

It turned out to be a match-winning knock in the end with the Aussies registering a 15-run win.

A counter-attacking of the highest order from Coulter-Nile.

A counter-attacking of the highest order from Coulter-Nile.

Carlos Brathwaite (West Indies)

101 vs New Zealand

In what was a must-win game for Windies to keep their semi-final hopes alive, they found themselves struggling at 164-7 in a daunting chase of 292 against the Kiwis.

With all established batsmen bar Carlos Brathwaite back in the pavilion, it seemed like a hopeless cause for the Caribbean side. However, the all-rounder came mighty close to pulling off the improbable at Manchester.

Forging valuable partnerships with the tailenders, Brathwaite took Windies close to the finish line with the equation ultimately coming down to 47 off the final five overs with one wicket in hand.

Brathwaite tonked Matt Henry for 25 runs in the 48th over to put Windies within touching distance before tragedy struck in the next over. The all-rounder lifted the final delivery of the penultimate over towards the mid-wicket boundary where Trent Boult pulled off a stunning catch on the edge of the ropes.

A few more inches and that would have been a match-winning six for Windies but in the end, Brathwaite’s maiden ODI ton ended in agony.

Heartbreak in the end for Brathwaite and Windies.

Heartbreak in the end for Brathwaite and Windies.

Kane Williamson (New Zealand)

106 not out vs South Africa

While Brathwaite was unable to finish the job for his side at Old Trafford, Williamson had made no such mistake when he guided his team across the finish line against South Africa earlier in the tournament at Birmingham.

The Black Caps skipper saw his side reduced to 80-4 in a tricky chase of 242 on a very challenging surface but remained unflustered in the face of pressure to produce an innings of the highest quality.

Keeping the scoreboard ticking in customary fashion without taking too many risks, Williamson found an able ally in Colin de Grandhomme with the duo adding 91 runs for the sixth wicket.

However, Grandhomme fell in the 48th over in another late twist with the equation eventually coming down to eight required off the final over. Having kept his cool all game, Williamson launched into the second delivery to smash his first six of the match while also bringing up a spectacular century in the process.

A cleverly crafted boundary off the next delivery meant the right-hander had pulled off a stunning escape for his side.

Pure brilliance from the Black Caps skipper.

Pure brilliance from the Black Caps skipper.

Ben Stokes (England)

84 not out vs New Zealand

The England all-rounder played five innings of note throughout the tournament and all of them when his side was under extreme pressure. The best of the lot without a doubt, however, was the one he played in the final at Lord’s to hand England their maiden World Cup title.

The hosts looked to be crumbling under the pressure of a tricky run-chase of 242 with the tide well and truly against them at 86-4 in the 24th over.

Stokes, though, got stuck in once again at the crease in determined fashion and forged a valuable partnership with Jos Buttler for the fifth wicket. Buttler’s dismissal opened the floodgates once again with England’s tailenders falling in quick succession.

Stokes, however, would not be moved at the other end and the all-rounder kept England within reach somehow. 21 runs were required off the final four deliveries before Stokes launches Trent Boult for a huge six.

The left-hander then got his slice of luck in the next delivery with Martin Guptill’s throw deflecting off before running away for a boundary. His unbeaten 84 (95) took the tie into a Super Over where he was excellent once again and he is now deservedly the toast of England after that stellar display.

It was arguably Stokes' greatest ODI innings.

It was arguably Stokes’ greatest ODI innings.

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Cricket World Cup 2019: Stats back Australian Alex Carey as tournament's best wicket-keeper

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Alex Carey

Rohit Sharma, David Warner, Kane Williamson and Joe Root have the straightforward numbers to lay their claims as the best batsmen of the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Mitchell Starc – who took 27 wickets – can boast of being arguably the best bowler of the tournament.

How do we compare wicket-keepers, who are tasked to not just fulfil their primary duty behind the stumps, but also chip in with crucial runs?

We use metrics of batting average and dismissals per innings to pick out three of the best and all-rounded keepers from the tournament.

A graphic depicting the performance of the wicket-keepers in the CWC 2019

A graphic depicting the performance of the wicket-keepers in the CWC 2019

The x-axis of the graph produced using numbers obtained from Cricinfo measures the batting average of the wicket-keepers. The y-axis scales the dismissals per innings, which corresponds to the total stumpings plus catches per innings.

  1. Tom Latham (New Zealand)

The Kiwis’ man behind the stumps Tom Latham had a sub-par tournament with the bat, much like most of his team-mates. He could manage just 155 runs at an average of just 19.38 and a strike-rate of 71.76.

However, with an average of 2.1 dismissals per game, the 27-year-old has more than made up for it. He was at the end of 21 catches in 10 games, three of them arriving in the crucial semi-final game against India.

A simple eye-test across the World Cup could vouch for his spot on the podium. Latham finished the tournament as the keeper with the most dismissals and has achieved it at the maximum rate.

The Christchurch-born player was never among the runs but his 56-ball 47 against England in the finals was one of the most composed innings under pressure. Latham provided his team a fighting chance on a slowing pitch, delivering when they needed him most.

  1. Jos Buttler (England)

Buttler (6)

World Champion Jos Buttler is the next player to step on the podium. The 28-year-old was involved in 1.2 dismissals per game and recorded a healthy average of 34.67 en route to his impressive tournament total of 312 runs.

The Englishman’s importance to his side is not limited to the numbers on this chart, for it does not take into consideration the weight of the runs scored.

Buttler’s 60-ball 59 against New Zealand in the final could very well go down as the most important innings of his life. Over time he has proved to be a solid, dependable batsman and his reputation of the same soared in the final.

The wicket-keeper has an impressive overall strike-rate of 122.83, which is superior to that of every other glovesman in the tournament. But his most important contribution to his team will always be the 110-run partnership with Ben Stokes during which he took England’s score from 86/4 to 196/5 in the final.

  1. Alex Carey (Australia)
Alex Carey

Alex Carey

While Adam Gilchrist partnered with Matthew Hayden during Australia’s golden age to provide strong starts, Alex Carey has played a crucial role in cleaning the mess left behind by their current under-performing middle-order.

With 375 runs, Carey finished the tournament as the top run-getter among wicket-keepers. His average of 62.5 is a notch above that of any other player and he also maintained a great strike-rate of 104.17.

The 27-year-old was involved in 20 dismissals, including two stumpings. His dismissal rate of 2.0 per innings is second only to that of Latham.

However, unlike Latham and Buttler, Carey was an extremely crucial entity to his team’s batting line-up. In fact, his 375 runs accounts for 14 per cent of Australia’s total of 2757 runs off the bat. This puts him ahead of the likes of Usman Khawaja (11%), Glenn Maxwell (6%) and Marcus Stoinis (3%) and on par with Steve Smith (14%).

A pie-chart of the runs scored by Australian batsmen in the CWC 2019

A pie-chart of the runs scored by Australian batsmen in the CWC 2019

Carey proved his mettle against big teams, scoring fifties against India and New Zealand and was the lone warrior against England in the semi-final. The fact that most of his runs have arrived under pressure adds more weight to them.

Is safe to say, the 27-year-old was the best all-roundwicket-keeper of the World Cup and the Aussies struck gold with the player who is still in the early stages of his career.

Honourable mention – Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh), Shai Hope (West Indies)

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