World Cup 2019 contained all the elements that a big-time sporting event should have. Although rain washed out some interesting encounters, it was still impressive as a tournament because of the quality of the matches played. Many insurmountable records got broken, and some stars attained superstardom.
The pre-tournament favorites England looked impressive throughout the tournament. They finally did the impossible and won the World Cup for the first time in history. The maiden World Cup triumph meant a happy ending for England. However, for the other teams, it was anti-climatic at some stage or the other.
The four-year gap between World Cup tournaments adds extreme importance to it, besides the participation of every top team in the world. The intensity of the tournament always ensures an emotional rollercoaster for the viewers and the players. As there are passionate fans backing every participating team, the outcome always is unexpected for some of them.
Here are five such anticlimaxes from this tournament.
#5 A tournament filled with torment for South Africa
The South African team, despite being favorites for almost every World Cup edition, haven't crack the winning code and have been labelled as "chokers" for often crashing out in inexplicable ways. Thus, the Proteas entered this World Cup with heavy motivations to lift the trophy and end their silverware drought.
The squad looked strong on paper with in-form match winners such as Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn among the rest. However, injuries and some other negative factors ravaged them. Steyn could not play because of an injury sustained in the IPL.
Then the rumors of the team management's refusal to accept AB de Villiers’ offer to participate in the competition seemingly hurt their morale after some poor initial matches.
A failure to win any of their first four opening games ended their hopes of a semi-final berth. Although there were a handful of positives to take out from this tournament, it was an awful one for the Proteas and something they and their fans would try hard to forget.
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#4 Shakib Al Hasan's Sisyphean task
The Greek legend of Sisyphus pushing the large rock up the hill in vain is perhaps the most accurate way to describe the performance of Shakib Al Hasan in the tournament. He was brilliant with both the bat and the ball, scoring over 600 runs and taking 11 wickets.
The all-rounder broke many records in the tournament and justified his number one spot at the ICC ODI all-rounder rankings. However, his campaign ended in disappointment as lack of support from other Bangladeshi players meant that his team could not even qualify for the semi-final.
#3 The Hitman falls short of hitting the bull's eye
Everyone expected Rohit Sharma to do something remarkable in this World Cup. The Indian opener fulfilled those expectations by scoring five centuries in the tournament to break Kumar Sangakkara’s record for the most hundreds in a single edition.
As good as the record may sound, Rohit's fans and India's supporters would’ve wanted something more. The Hitman breached the 600 run mark and approached close to Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most runs (673) in a single World Cup. However, he fell short in the semi-final as his dismissal for just 1 meant that India got off to a bad start, eventually losing the match.
#2 A sad end to MS Dhoni's glorious legacy
MS Dhoni's contributions to the Indian cricket team has been inestimable. The "Captain Cool" guided India to win the ICC World T20 in 2007. The victory put the team on the right path to win the 50-over World Cup in 2011, ending their 28-year championship drought.
By looking back at the two big accomplishments, it was disheartening to see his lackluster form as a finisher in the 2019 World Cup. The 38-year-old was seen walking to the pavilion in tears after his runout in the semi-final, leaving fans to speculate the diminishing of his illustrious career.
#1 New Zealand lose without getting defeated
New Zealand started the World Cup as underdogs. Despite good performances in the group stages and the semi-final, nobody expected the team hailing from a small country where cricket isn't the top priority, to pose a tough challenge against England, due to the latter's batting prowess and home advantage.
However, the Black Caps gave the Englishmen a run for their money as they tied both the match and the super over. To their disappointment, the tournament's tiebreaker rules crowned England as winners because of them having hit more boundaries in the match.