The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 began with a lot of controversy due to the scheduling. It was schduled during the early summer in the UK which resulted in quite a few washouts. But once the weather stopped being a massive hurdle, there were some unexpected finishes, great batting and bowling performances and some nail-biting finishes which culminated in an epic final at Lord's.
At the end of 46 days and 48 matches, the winner of 2019 World Cup was declared on boundary count after the final between England and New Zealand was tied at the end of 50 overs and the runs scored in the super over was equal, too. In the end, England lifted their maiden World Cup title but it was a very tough pill to swallow for Williamson’s men.
It has to be said that this was one of the best World Cups tournaments ever. Now, it is time to pick the team of the tournament.
Openers and top order
The stylish right-handed opener from India was scoring hundreds left, right and center at the 2019 World Cup. After the loss of Shikhar Dhawan due to injury at the top of the order, the onus of providing good starts fell on Rohit Sharma and he stood up to the task.
It took a peach of a delivery from Matt Henry to dismiss Rohit Sharma very early in the semifinal and India could not recover from that moment.
Rohit Sharma has become the first player in the history to score 5 hundreds in a single World Cup edition, overtaking Kumar Sangakkara’s 4 in 2015. His numbers are quite staggering; 648 runs at an average of 81 with a strike rate of 98.33.
The left-handed opener returned to international cricket after a one-year ban and let the bat do all the talking. The English crowd booed him right from the start but it had very little effect on the Aussie opener. In fact, that spurred him on more to score runs and win games for Australia.
Warner’s 647 runs at an average of 71.88 did not come at his usual pace but the left-hander restricted his natural instincts and delivered consistently as the opener. His powerful strokeplay along with calmness in the middle gave a lot of headaches to the opposition bowlers.
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Shakib al Hasan
This is a no-brainer, isn't it? The experienced Bangladesh all-rounder, who used to bat in the middle order was promoted to No 3 in the World Cup and has taken that role like a fish to water. In fact, it can be even said that he has outdone some of the best No 3 batsmen in modern times.
Shakib’s lowest score in this year's World Cup was 41 and that tells a story of how well the left-hander has batted. He finished with 606 runs at an average of 86.57 to go with 11 wickets with the ball. He was comfortably the best all-rounder in the tournament by a country mile.
Virat Kohli scored 5 fifties, Joe Root scored a couple of hundreds as well but when it came to picking a No 4 for this team, the ideal choice had to be New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson because of the impact he had on the team reaching the finals.
The Kiwi maintained a calm head in the middle and finished with 578 runs from 9 innings runs at an average of 82.57.
He was exellently backed up in the field by his bowlers and brilliant fielding, but the same couldn't be said about the other batsmen. It was his contribution with the bat that carried their batting unit through to the final but agonisingly fell short of the title. The New Zealand skipper was adjudged the Man of the Series for his runs as well as tactical nous on the field.
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Middle-order and All-rounders
When England found themselves under pressure with the bat in the tournament, it was their premier all-rounder Ben Stokes who bailed them out on numerous occasions. Not particularly known for his consistency, the left-hander improved on that count and was the rock in the middle order.
In the final too, when England were under serious pressure of chasing 242, it was the left hander’s calmness that saw them tie the score. His unbeaten 84 earned him the Man of the Match and it was indeed a stellar knock under the circumstances.
Stokes finished with 465 runs from 10 innings that included 5 fifties to go with 7 wickets with his seam bowling and if you add the catches on the boundary rope, surely he was the go-to man for Eoin Morgan in this year's World Cup.
Much was expected from Jofra Archer in the England bowling line up but it was Chris Woakes who surprised opposition batsmen especially with the new ball in the first powerplay overs.
When England needed to win against India in the group game to stay alive, Woakes’ spell right up front, when he delivered three consecutive maidens against Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli has to be one of the best bowling spells in this year's World Cup.
The England all-rounder didn’t have a great time with the bat but was very impressive with the ball and gave Morgan the control at one end. His fielding on the boundary ropes needs a special mention too. Woakes finished with 16 wickets at an economy of 5.24.
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Wicket-keeper and bowlers
At the start of the World Cup, if someone had said that Australia’s Alex Carey will emerge as the best wicket-keeper batsman and not Jos Buttler or MS Dhoni, people would have laughed at them. But the young South Australian had suddenly become one of the key components in Australia’s ODI side.
Alex Carey showed his tenacity in the semifinal when he continued to bat after getting hit on his face by a Jofra Archer bouncer. The left-hander put on a very good partnership with Steve Smith for the 4th wicket but his team fell short of a competitive target in the end.
Alex Carey ended the tournament with 375 runs from 9 innings at an average of 62.50 and more importantly at an impressive strike rate of 104.16 coming in at No 7 in the batting line up except for one innings. His work behind the wickets, for both pace and spin, was also equally good.
In a tournament that was supposed to be high scoring, the one bowler who made life difficult for the batsmen was England’s Jofra Archer. The Barbados-born right-arm quick bowler was consistently bowling at high 140s and combines with a very effective slower one to out-think the batsmen.
Playing in his first World Cup, Archer was given the responsibility of bowling the super over in the final and he delivered, only just though. He finished with 20 wickets in the tournament at a very impressive economy rate of 4.57.
Archer was equally impressive with the new ball, through the middle overs and also at the death with his accurate yorkers.
One of the reasons why Australia finished second in the points table is because of this man's wicket-taking ability, especially in the middle overs. The delivery to dismiss a well set Ben Stokes at Lords has to be one of the deliveries of the tournament.
Starc’s 27 wickets in the World Cup was a new record for the most number of wickets in a single World Cup. The left-arm seamer didn’t have a good day in the semifinal against England but overall was very impressive.
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While playing India, batsmen will have to think of scoring runs in the 40 overs and whatever little they could score off Jasprit Bumrah, it has to be considered as a bonus. Arguably the best death bowler in world cricket at the moment, Bumrah has lived up to his reputation as the No 1 bowler in this format.
If the team needed a breakthrough, Virat Kohli would call on Bumrah and if he needed to stem the flow of runs, the Indian skipper had to go back to the same man and he didn't disappoint. Jasprit Bumrah finished with 18 wickets at an incredible economy of only 4.41 runs per over.
With Shakib al Hasan in the team as a spin option, it would be ideal to add another pace bowler to the bowling line up. New Zealand’s Lockie Ferguson has the reputation as one of the fastest bowlers in world cricket right now and has lived up to that billing and was Williamson’s wicket-taking option through the middle overs.
Ferguson has a history of giving away runs in the bargain for wickets but was consistent with line and lengths as well in this year's World Cup.
The New Zealand quick finished second in the list of most number of wickets; 21 from 9 games to go with an economy rate of only 4.88 is a very good combination for any captain to have in ODI cricket.
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