The World Cup limped back to action and actually managed to pick up steam by the end of Week 3 where unlike the second week with three washouts, only one match was abandoned in the third. There was plenty of action and rain didn’t cause too much of a nuisance.
Sadly though, as we pass the halfway stage of the mega event, it seems to be turning into a four horse race. The top 4 spots for semi-final contention seem more or less settled but Bangladesh’s encounter with Australia will be crucial in the context of the points table. Three pre-tournament favourites – England, India and Australia – are well-placed to reach the semi-finals, the fourth team on that list, South Africa, have wildly underwhelmed. Being drawn to face England and India in their first three fixtures was unfortunate – though both matches were lost emphatically – but being outplayed by Bangladesh in their second game, in which their fielding efforts were particularly feeble, was disastrous. Since buoyed by a win over Afghanistan, Wednesday’s loss to New Zealand at Edgbaston, a must-win, definitively blew their last flicker of hope.
With three wins from four games, undefeated India are placed fourth but with the least number of games played. They beat South Africa, Australia, and Pakistan but their game against table-toppers New Zealand was a washed out. The hosts have had a strong campaign so far with four wins out of five games. England’s only loss came against Pakistan. Defending champions Australia sit third with four wins in five games with their only loss coming against India. The Kiwis lead the points table after their win over South Africa with 4 wins in 5 games so far, the Black Caps are the other undefeated team in the tournament as of now.
GAME 18: India vs New Zealand, Abandoned
GAME 19: England vs West Indies, England won by 8 wkts
GAME 20: Sri Lanka vs Australia, Australia won by 87 runs
GAME 21: South Africa vs Afghanistan, South Africa won by 9 wkts (DLS method)
GAME 22: India vs Pakistan, India won by 89 runs (DLS method)
GAME 23: West Indies vs Bangladesh, Bangladesh won by 7 wkts
GAME 24: England vs Afghanistan, England won by 150 runs
GAME 25: New Zealand vs South Africa, New Zealand won by 4 wkts
Warner’s destructive record breaking 166 against Bangladesh today catapults him top of all relevant tables, eclipsing Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan who had scored the most runs in the tournament till then.
There were some great batting performances on display in Week 3 with Shakib Al Hasan leading the charge and Aaron Finch, Rohit Sharma and Joe Root keeping pace. Kane Williamson’s match saving knock against South Africa brings him into focus with consistency being key in his teams campaign thus far.
In a hellish scenario for spinners this edition of the World Cup, pacers like Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir and Australia’s Mitchell Starc have made merry and lead the charts. They are followed by Jofra Archer and Lockie Ferguson.
BEST XI FROM WEEK 3
With so many top-notch shows in the third week, picking the Best XI got a little bit tricky. A few players like Dimuth Karunaratne and Jonny Bairstow, who surely deserve at least a mention here, had to be ignored from the team keeping the various combinations in mind. However, best efforts were made to select this team keeping the statistics and impact created in mind. (via – CricTracker)
1. Rohit Sharma | India
Rohit Sharma played just one knock this week and it is a mesmerising, to say the least. In the absence of Shikhar Dhawan, he took the onus upon himself and brought up his second century this World Cup. The Indian opener played shots all around the ground and raced his way to 140 runs off just 113 balls. While another double century was clearly in the beckoning, Rohit tried to play a cheeky shot but couldn’t execute it well. He hit 14 fours and 3 sixes in this knock.
2. Aaron Finch | Australia
Aaron Finch absolutely blew the opposition away when his team faced Sri Lanka a few days ago. In his whirlwind knock, the Australian skipper mustered 153 runs from only 132 balls. He cleared the fence on five occasions and sent the ball to the ropes on 15 instances. With this innings, Aaron Finch also broke the record for the highest score by an Australian captain in a World Cup game. Previously, Ricky Ponting who scored 140 runs in the 2003 World Cup had this to his name.
3. Joe Root | England
Joe Root had a fantastic week in the World Cup. In the first game that England played against Windies, he opened the innings for his team in the absence of Jason Roy. The Test skipper scored exactly an unbeaten 100 in that game laced with 11 boundaries. He was on the verge of getting to another century in the game against Afghanistan as well. However, he was dismissed for a quickfire knock of 88.
4. Shakib Al Hasan | Bangladesh
Shakib Al Hasan continued with his rich vein of form with the bat in the third week as well. He was the ‘Man of the Match’ in the game against Windies and did a bulk of the scoring for his team. The southpaw brought up his second century of the tournament in this match. He remained unbeaten on 124 runs and ensured that he got his team over the line in a steep chase.
5. Eoin Morgan (c) | England
Eoin Morgan didn’t bat in the game against Windies and was off the field for a majority of the time due to a back spasm. There were a few questions about his fitness but he played against Afghanistan with a sore back. He was absolutely devastated with the bat and played a rec0rd-breaking knock. Morgan alone smacked 17 sixes in the game and scored 148 runs from only 71 balls at a strike rate over 200. 7 of his sixes came against Rashid Khan, who is one of the best spinners in the world at the moment. He will also lead this Best XI of the week.
S/R: 208.456. Liton Das (wk) | Bangladesh
After a long while, Liton Das got his opportunity in the game against Windies. He was asked to bat in the middle order and replaced an underperforming Mohammad Mithun in the eleven. The pressure and the expectations were high on him and he walked out to bat at a crucial juncture of the game when his team still required quite a few runs in the chase. Das displayed a lot of grit and maturity as he batted with a great sense of responsibility. He remained unbeaten on 94 and helped finish the chase for his team.
S/R: 136.237. Chris Morris | South Africa
Chris Morris had two good matches with the ball in the third week. While he didn’t have to do much with the bat, he was excellent with the ball and provided his team with some crucial breakthroughs. Against Afghanistan, he picked up three wickets from 6.1 overs and was highly economical. He continued the good work against New Zealand as well but it went in a losing cause. Even in this match, he picked up three wickets and thus takes the all-rounder’s spot.
Runs scored: 6
8. Jofra Archer | England
England pacer Jofra Archer had two great outings this week and bowled with great intensity. He troubled the batsmen with pace and swing and tested the skill of many of his opponents. Against some of his old teammates from the Windies, Archer picked up three wickets. He followed this up with another three-wicket haul against Afghanistan on a good batting deck.
9. Mitchell Starc | Australia
Chasing 335 against Australia, Sri Lanka got off to a great start. Both the openers got to their half-centuries and were looking threatening. While they were cruising along nicely, Mitchell Starc came in and picked up crucial wickets including that of the dangerous Kusal Perera. He even dismissed the likes of Kusal Mendis, Milinda Siriwardene and Thisara Perera finishing with a four-wicket haul in that game.
10. Imran Tahir | South Africa
Imran Tahir had two decent outings in the third week of the World Cup 2019. The leg-spinner almost seemed unplayable in the game against Afghanistan until Rashid Khan walked in and took the counterattack to the bowler. Though, Imran finished with a four-wicket haul in that game. He did a good job against New Zealand as well and created several chances who were not held on to. Tahir also dismissed Kane Williamson on the last ball of his spell. But the wicket-keeper and others failed to notice the edge and thus didn’t go for the DRS.
11. Mark Wood | England
England’s Mark Wood hit some unbelievable pace and bowled in exceptional areas in both the games in the third week. The batsmen didn’t find it easy facing him and tried to be extremely cautious. Yet, he managed to pick up some important wickets subjecting the opposition to great pressure. Wood followed his three-wicket haul against the Windies with another tw0-wicket haul in the game against Afghanistan and thus rounds up this Best XI of the third week.
There can be little quibbling with the level of entertainment so far, but the tournament has yet to deliver a genuinely classic match. A couple – Australia against West Indies in particular – have flirted with greatness before falling short. As it stands no team has won a match in the final over or really had a real opportunity to – England against Pakistan were the closest to doing so, and they needed an unlikely 25 off the final set, eventually scoring 10. Meanwhile every team to have won a game batting second has done so with more than two overs to spare except the last match – NZvSA that went down to THE last over.
The wait for a bona fide thriller continues.
Are You In?
Who is your Super 8?
Leagues up in the Lobby, Go get ’em champs!