The group stage of the ICC World Cup 2015 is done and dusted. Co hosts New Zealand and India have topped their respective groups. It will be completely underwhelming to state that this edition of the World Cup has been dominated by the batsmen. The batsmen have been on song throughout the tournament. Nonetheless, we have had some stellar performances with the ball as well. In this article, we have a look at the top 5 unexpected things that have emerged in this edition of the World Cup.
1. Pakistan vs South Africa:
The victory of Pakistan over giants South Africa has been termed as the biggest upset of the competition so far. Batting first in a rain curtailed match, Pakistan got to modest total of 222 in 46.4 overs. The revised target for South Africa was 232 in 47 overs. It should have been a cake walk for the Proteas. But what followed ahead was a disaster for the Proteas. Mohammad Irfan was lethal with the ball, and found able support in Rahat Ali and Wahab Riaz. The South Africans though, looked in a hurry and played some ordinary shots, which led to their downfall. Skipper AB De Villiers fought hard, but in vain. Since that game, the Pakistanis have found a new beam of confidence emerging within the team. It will be interesting to watch them play against hosts Australia in the third Quarter final.
2. Performance of Associate Teams:
The Associate Nations in this edition of the World Cup were sensational to say the least. It began with Ireland comprehensively beating West Indies. It was then followed by Afghanistan giving Sri Lanka the chill of their lives. Zimbabwe too were extremely unlucky, and were at the end of receiving some poor umpiring decisions against the Pakistanis. The individual players of the low ranked teams were emphatic as well. Josh Davey, the Scottish seamer, with 15 wickets in 6 games performed way better than the mighty Dale Steyn. Ed Joyce and William Potterfield were terrific with the bat as well. So was UAE’s star Shamian Anwar. This point is essential for cricket lovers to understand that the associates are here to stay, and they have the potential to exceed big time.
3. Bangladesh Qualifying:
The Bangladeshi Tigers have been brilliant in this tournament. Led by the inspiring Mashrafe Mortaza, the tigers have managed to surprise quite a few with their clinical stuff. Their game against England was among the best games of the tournament. What’s more? They were the best side against New Zealand in the entire group. They are to play India in the second quarter final at the MCG. If they integrate and play well, then who knows, India maybe up for a shock!
4. England’s Exit:
The England side defeated India twice in the tri series before the World Cup. This fact should have boosted their chances big time. But as the World Cup approached, all that excitement was gone for a toss. England looked completely dull and pale in the World Cup. They performed as though someone was forcing them to play. James Anderson and Stuart Broad, their superstars with the ball took just 5 wickets and 4 wickets respectively. The English batsmen looked too unsettled to play ODI cricket. But, it was atleast expected of this side to make it to the quarters if not further. Ironically, they failed to do that as well.
5. India’s Bowling:
By far, this has to be the most unexpected aspect of the World Cup. The Indian bowling was often mocked on social networking sites. But after 6 games, their bowlers have taken 60 opposition wickets! It doesn’t get more comprehensive than this for sure! The Indian seamers have bowled with complete discipline and made full use of the conditions. Not just the seamers, but the spinners have been great as well. R.Ashwin has stamped his authority in conditions which do not generally suit his style of play. Looking ahead, it wouldn’t be overwhelming to state that India do seem to be the favorites. More than the batting, its the bowling that deserves the credit for India’s success story.
With the quarter finals soon beginning, it will be exciting to watch the top 8 sides battle it out. As they say, may the best side win!