The second week of the ICC Cricket World Cup has come to an end with some extraordinary cricket being played! Unfortunately, the rain put a slight dampener on things as three of this week’s eight matches had to be called off. Nevertheless, we here at DoJMA will continue to bring you up to date on this long festival of Cricket!
So, how’s everyone performed so far?
With half the teams suffering a washout, the points table is still no indicator of the team’s potential, but some patterns have become visible. For one, the top 4 teams include India, England, and Australia, everyone’s favourites before the tournament began. Sri Lanka and South Africa, both teams in desperate need of points unfortunately can’t complete their matches and get stuck with one point.
Best match this week?
We’re giving another tie this week, with both of Australia’s matches against the Windies and India.
In the one against the West Indies, the Aussies started off with Warner and Finch at the crease, but the collapse started on the 3rd over with the pacers bringing Australia from 15-0 to 38-4. It was left to Steve Smith (73) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (92) to bring up Australia to a respectable 288. For all their attacking bowling, the West Indies failed to restrict Australia in the second half of their innings and didn’t do themselves any favours by giving plenty of extras and dropping three catches.
The second innings was marred by 4 highly controversial umpiring decisions, all which were overturned by the Windies reviews. An especially egregious error was made when umpire Chris Gaffaney failed to spot a huge front foot no-ball off Mitchell Starc, and Gayle got out the very next ball, which would have been a free-hit. Starc and Cummins had a great day, both picking up wickets – Starc took a 5fer – for a meagre economy. In the end, Australia kept picking wickets at the right times as the West Indies fell short by just 15 runs.
After this, one could forgive Australia for going into their next match with India with much more confidence. They had now been unbeaten in their last 10 ODI’s, and after they learnt they were chasing, history was on their side again as they had been unbeaten in WC chases since 1999. India’s openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan started out slower than expected as they warmed up to the pace from Starc and Cummins. However, they soon built up to a 127 run partnership. Even after Sharma fell, Dhawan kept at it with Kohli as the run rate kept rising. He fell after a masterful 117. That was when the Men in Blue truly accelerated as a display of quick fire batting came from Hardik Pandya (48 off 27), MS Dhoni (27 off 14), and KL Rahul (11 off 3) ending the innings at 352-5.
In response, the Australians never really got going with Warner playing a drawn out 56 off 84 balls at the top of the order. Khawaja, ertswhile an opening batsman, was sent at no. 4 and struggled through his 42, getting out while playing an unfamiliar shot in an unfamiliar position. Smith and Maxwell righted the boat for a while, until Smith and new man Stoinis fell in quick succession off Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s bowling. From that point on, no one else could muster a decent fight, save for Alex Carey, who played an excellent, quickfire 52 not out. In the end, he ran out of both time and batting partners as Australia folded for 316.
This week’s top performers?
Shakib Al Hasan continued his fine form as he struck a delightful 121 against England. He was brought in at no. 3 as Bangladesh’s opening pair failed yet again, and guided them for a majority of the remaining innings. As Shakib the batsman flourishes in this World Cup, it’s not surprising to see him lead the runs table at this point.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah remain one of the best bowling pairs in the World Cup, bowling in tandem both at the beginning of the innings and at the end. They picked up 3 wickets each against Australia and kept the batsmen on their toes in the first 10 overs.
Mohammad Amir continues his great bowling with a 5fer against Australia. He becomes this World Cup’s lead wicket taker.
This week’s underperformers?
Hashim Amla, the most experienced South African currently playing still failed to make a mark on this World Cup as he got out for 6 before the SA-WI match was stopped due to rain. As the situation for South Africa becomes extremely precarious with them needing to win all 5 of their next matches, one hopes he finally hits his stride and performs well.
Although Nathan Coulter-Nile (NCN) saved the day for Australia with his batting, his bowling leaves a lot to be desired. His figures of 1/63 and 0/70 are a reason for concern for the otherwise excellent bowling outfit.
The biggest under performer this week, however, has to be the English weather. Though there exists a stereotypical image of rainy English days, one would have hoped they wouldn’t interfere with this World Cup. Possibly the wettest June for decades has seen 3 matches washed out, 2 without a single ball being bowled. Sri Lanka is the most affected since, with 2 of their matches called off. On the other hand, South Africa finally got on the board due to a similar match.
Without any reserve days and an intense competition, teams will start looking to the skies for moral support more than ever now.
Best performances this week?
NCN’s bailout 92 was an incredible knock for Australia. After the West Indies bowlers looked to restrict Australia to a small total, he stepped in with intent and ensured they ended with a fighting total. He also achieved the highest score by a no. 8 in a World Cup, and was 3 runs short of the ODI record.
The same match saw an amazing catch by Sheldon Cottrell at the boundary. With Smith and NCN in a dangerous partnership, he ran across the boundary to catch a guaranteed six, threw it up as he ran over the rope, and then caught it again, all in one smooth motion.
Jason Roy smashed 153 runs against Bangladesh to put his team ahead in a fantastic manner. He weathered the initial jittery overs against Shakib, but when he decided to go he pulled all stops, even smashing Mehedi Hasan for 3 sixes in an over.
James Neesham had been dropped from the NZ team after the 2017 Champions Trophy, and even in this World Cup had not performed to his full potential. However, all his frustration was left aside as he took an excellent 5-31 from his ten overs against Afghanistan.
What should I look forward to next week?
It’s finally here! The mother of all matches India v Pakistan will be on the 16th, which will inevitably become a public holiday. We also see England take on the West Indies on Friday the 14th, which should be exciting given the explosive batsmen on both sides. South Africa will fight for relevance against Afghanistan on the 15th in a match between the teams at the bottom of the table, and after that a much tougher match against New Zealand on the 19th.
Barring any surprises, England is expected to win against WI and Afghanistan, as are Australia against Sri Lanka. South Africa will face a challenge in the form of Afghanistan, but it should be one they clear. India start out as favourites against Pakistan, but the mercurial team has shown that it is a force to be reckoned with. South Africa will again have to play to their fullest potential against an on-song New Zealand.