TIM SOUTHEE (NEW ZEALAND)
7 / 33 against England
The conditions in New Zealand are conducive for fast bowling. And if one is able to swing effectively then it can’t get any worse. This is exactly what England found out against New Zealand at Wellington. Opting to bat first, the Englishmen did not have any clue as Kiwi paceman Tim Southee ripped through their batting line-up with a sensational spell of fast and swing bowling. He bowled 9 overs for 33 runs and bagged 7 wickets.
VIRAT KOHLI (INDIA)
107 against Pakistan
It was defending champions India’s first match of the World Cup against its arch-rivals. The atmosphere was electric at Adelaide. And in the big match Virat Kohli stood up to be counted. He came to bat with confidence and once the sloppy Pakistani fielders let him off , he made them pay for it with a sizzling power-packed 107 off 126 balls with 8 fours at a strike rate of 84.92. It was a typical Kohli innings with awesome shots all around the wicket. The Indian vice-captain is India’s X-factor and it was expected of him to fire. And he did it in style as India romped home yet again against Pakistan and the score card resembled a tennis scoreline 6-0.
KUMAR SANGAKKARA (SRI LANKA)
Smashes 4 tons
At 37, Kumar Sangakkara proved that age is just a number. This Sri Lankan giant has left his stamp on this mega event in Australia with four majestic tons. But he is not the one to take his shirt off or shout from the rooftop as he prefers his bat to do the talking. He goes about his business silently and with clinical precision. A cricket writer Ashish Shukla told Tehelka on what makes Sangakkara a rare breed: “The record Kumar Sangakkara has, if he was born in Australia or England, people would have forgotten about Hammond or Bradman. A batsman par excellence, who for most of his career has stood behind the stumps, and an individual with most notable credentials in the academic world, Sanga is a rarity on all counts. He is unsung for obvious reasons. Sri Lanka has produced world beaters — but men like Murali are mostly written about for their “bent arm” than the numbers they have in the wickets column. Mahela, Jayasuriya, Sanga, Ranatunga, Dilshan, Vaas and Malinga— all have suffered similarly. This when Sri Lanka was a finalist in the last two World Cups in 2007 and 2011.”
MITCHELL STARC (AUSTRALIA)
6 / 28 against New Zealand
This low-scoring thriller was one of the best matches of the World Cup. First it was Kiwi paceman Trent Boult who bowled superbly to take 5 wickets for 27 runs and helped reduce the Australian side to a meagre 151. Then when the Kiwis started, the Aussies hit back with a vengeance. They played hard but lost in the end, but not by much. For this, the Aussies have Starc to thank for. He bowled an inspired spell and had Kiwis by the scruff of the neck for most of the part. He was sharp and aggressive and completely
CHRIS GAYLE (WEST INDIES)
215 against Zimbabwe
The capital city of Australia had the unique honour of seeing “Gayle Storm”. Just when tongues started wagging about his indifferent form in recent times, the mercurial opener Christopher Gayle decided to silence his critics in a way he does best – hammering the bowlers all over the park with utter disdain. This time it was the poor Zimbabwean bowlers who were at the receiving end. Gayle was unstoppable. At one stage India’s Rohit Sharma’s highest ODI score of 264 looked under threat. Gayle might have failed to break that record but left an indelible mark with the fastest ever ODI double ton and the first ever in the World Cup – a scintillating 215 off 147 balls studded with 10 fours and 16 sixes at a phenomenal strike rate of 146.25. No wonder Canberra became Gayle-struck.
JASON HOLDER (WEST INDIES)
1 / 104 – Worst bowling figures in World Cup history
West Indies skipper Jason Holder recorded the worst bowling figures in World Cup history for a 10-over spell and also by a captain. Holder gave away just nine runs from his first five overs and another 31 in the next three overs against South Africa. But he finished disastrously by conceding 34 and 30 respectively to De Villiers in his last two overs to finish his spell with 104 runs. A forgettable day for Holder.
AB DE VILLIERS (SOUTH AFRICA)
162 against West Indies
South Africa had just lost their previous match against India by a whopping 130 runs and they were gutted. Skipper AB De Villiers decided that if they are to go forward then he would have to lead from the front. And, gosh, did he not bounce back with a vengeance? The West Indian bowlers had no clue as to where to bowl at the marauding De Villiers. He was sensational in his 66-ball 162, which was packed with 17 fours and 8 sixes at a strike rate of 245.45. He picked West Indies skipper Jason Holder for special treatment – 34 runs in one over. Proteas then routed the Windies by 257 runs in the end.
BRENDON McCULLUM (NEW ZEALAND )
25 ball 77 against England
His team is rated as one of the favourites to win the coveted title. Brendon McCullum is considered as one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket. And England got the taste of it. McCullum was responsible for one of the most brutal assaults in ODI history, literally destroying England’s hapless bowlers for a whirlwind 77 off 25 balls (8 fours, 7 sixes at a strike rate of 308.) England speedster Steve Finn suffered the most when McCullum launched a blistering attack on him. Finn conceded 29 runs in one over which included four sixes. It was not a hundred but McCullum’s knock simply stood out for its sheer audacity and ruthlessness. A former Pakistani speedster, Shoiab Akhtar, nicknamed the Rawalpindi Express, while commenting on McCullum, said: “He has fast eyes, fast hands, fast legs and fast bat speed. Happy I did not have to bowl to him.” Such was McCullum’s form on that day.