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The 2019 Cricket World Cup (CWC) was a display of perseverance, skill and strategy by the players who gave their heart and soul to take their teams into the final.

The competition comprising 10 teams, playing 48 matches over a period of 45 days, ended on Sunday, July 14, 2019, with England and New Zealand facing each other for the World Cup trophy. England won a nail-biting thriller on the last ball of the Super Over to win its first-ever Cricket World Cup title.

This article looks at the performances of the teams and some individuals, while shedding light on important occurrences of the tournament.

Pakistan’s exit

From the very first match of their campaign during the 2019 CWC, social media enthusiasts and aficionados of the cricket team were drawing parallels between our team’s performance in the World Cup tournaments of 1992 and 2019.

Interestingly, all the results of Pakistan’s matches during the group stage in both these competitions were the same.

The difference, as many opined, was in the spirit and dedication that seemed to be lacking. While Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Amir were impressive with the bat, the batsmen, especially the openers could not make an impact. Openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq, could only score 237 runs during their first-wicket partnership in eight matches, which is only twenty-nine runs per match on an average.

The batting line-up collapsed in most of the matches while the middle order was unable to add runs to the board.

Australia’s run

The Australian cricket team displayed a gutsy performance during their matches but did lose its matches against India and South Africa, which came as a shock. Australia’s David Warner ended by scoring 647 runs, the second-highest runs of the tournament.

India’s rise

Team India showed power in their performance. Opener Rohit Sharma was the highest scoring batsman with 648 runs, including three 100s and a 50 with an average of 81. The Indian cricket team displayed cohesiveness akin to that of Australia and England, and did make an impact with their on-field performance. However, they could not survive the semi-final against New Zealand.

England captain Eoin Morgan and his counterpart Kane Williamson, photographed with Champions Trophy in the Long Room at Lord’s
England captain Eoin Morgan and his counterpart Kane Williamson, photographed with Champions Trophy in the Long Room at Lord’s

England’s dream

The England cricket team were hoping to hoist the World Cup trophy for the very first time, that too in front of the home crowd. England made a major impact during the first match of the 2019 CWC, when they played against South Africa.

Batting first, it scored 211 in 50 overs, with Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Captain and Ben Stokes scoring half-centuries. This gave England the momentum to move forward with determination. England then went on to chase Pakistan’s target of 348 and scored 334, losing by only 14 runs which helped them maintain their net run rate.

England then scored 386 against Bangladesh and 397 against Aghanistan, 337 against India and 305 against New Zealand to maintain their hegemony on the points table.

Crashing early

Minnows, Afghanistan, although displayed vigour in their batting and bowling, could not win any of their matches during the 2019 CWC.

The West Indies also lost six matches while Bangladesh lost five. South Africa and Sri Lanka could not enter the semi-finals as they lost five matches each during their group stage.

Jos Buttler runs out Martin Guptill to win the super-over. England won the World Cup for the first time
Jos Buttler runs out Martin Guptill to win the super-over. England won the World Cup for the first time

Touching 300

Five times during this tournament different teams scored over 300 runs.

England scored 397 against Afghanistan; England made 386 against Bangladesh; Australia piled up 381 against Bangladesh; India got 352 against Australia and Pakistan scored 348 against England.

Pakistan, the lowest scoring team in this World Cup
Pakistan, the lowest scoring team in this World Cup

Lowest team totals

There were a number of occasions when different teams scored less than 200 runs in this World Cup, however, everyone was able to score more than a hundred.

Pakistan scored 105 against the West Indies; Afghanistan managed 125 against South Africa; Sri Lanka got 136 against New Zealand); the West Indies made 143 against India and Afghanistan scored 152 against Sri Lanka.

New Zealand’s captain Kane Williamson (left) stands with his team-mates as he waits for the trophy presentation after losing the Cricket World Cup final
New Zealand’s captain Kane Williamson (left) stands with his team-mates as he waits for the trophy presentation after losing the Cricket World Cup final

Highest scores

Australia’s David Warner was in top form when he scored 166 runs off 147 balls (with 14 fours and five sixes) against Bangladesh. England’s Jason Roy scored 153 off 121 balls against Bangladesh (with 14 fours and five sixes).

England’s Eoin Morgan, however, hit an unprecedented 16 sixes against Afghanistan during his 71-ball knock to score 148, with four fours. His strike rate was 208.45.

New Zealand’s Kane Williamson also scored 148 runs against the West Indies, but in 154 balls (14 fours and a six.)

Mitchell Stark, the highest wicket taker
Mitchell Stark, the highest wicket taker

Best Bowlers

Australia’s Mitchell Stark took 27 wickets in the 2019 Cricket World Cup, with his best figures of 5/26 coming against New Zealand.

David Warner, the highest scorer
David Warner, the highest scorer

Hat-tricks

Two bowlers completed their hat-tricks in this competition. India’s Mohammad Shami achieved it against Afghanistan by dismissing Mohammad Nabi, Aftab Alam and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

New Zealand’s Trent Boult was the second bowler to complete a hat-trick while playing against Australia. He took the wickets of Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Starc and Jason Behrendorff.

Lucky enough to get a direct hit by Martin Guptill, M.S. Dhoni is run-out in the semi-final
Lucky enough to get a direct hit by Martin Guptill, M.S. Dhoni is run-out in the semi-final

The semi-finals

Although the first semi-final between New Zealand and India was interrupted by rain and was resumed the next day, New Zealand kept their momentum on both days despite scoring 239, which was not enough as far as the semi-final was concerned.

During India’s innings, three of their top batsmen, Kannur Lokesh Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Captain Virat Kohli lost their wickets after scoring one run each. By the time the Indian batsmen had posted 71 runs, half of the team had returned to the pavilion.

Except for Indian Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, none of the Indian batsmen could make an impact. India, former two-time World Cup Champions, lost the semi-final by 18 runs.

The second semi-final was a shocker when defending champions Australia were knocked out by England by eight wickets. Australia, led by Aaron Finch, could just score 223. Its batting line-up collapsed and it did not seem to be the same Australian cricket team we had seen during this tournament.

England reached its target in 32.1 overs, with opener Jason Roy scoring 85 off 65 while Joe Root and Captain Eoin Morgan playing unbeaten innings of 49 (46) and 45 (39) respectively.

The final

New Zealand scored 241 in 50 overs, a total not that daunting from the standards of a World Cup final. Henry Nicholls with 55 (77) was the team’s highest run-scorer. Although Martin Guptill did lose his wicket when New Zealand was on 29, the middle-order managed to sustain the team’s position.

England, on the other hand, also lost their first wicket early on at 28 and while Joe Root and Eoin Morgan were sent to the pavilion on 7 and 9 respectively, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler helped England cruise towards their target.

With 15 needed off the last over, luck was on England’s side as a six and a misfield led England to tie the match. During the Super Over, England gave New Zealand a target of 15 runs. However, this time again, the result came on the very last ball as Martin Guptill was run out while completing the second run and England won the World Cup for the first time on the bases of most boundaries scored in the Super Over.

Published in Dawn, Young World, July 20th, 2019