International cricket’s biggest spectacle came to a close with a nail-biter of a final between England and New Zealand. We witnessed some spectacular performances in the course of the competition, some by big names and some by rookies. This makes picking the best eleven of this world cup a tough task, but we took a shot nonetheless. Here’s our team of the tournament, in batting order.
1. Rohit Sharma (India)
Stats: 9 innings, 648 runs, average 81, 5 hundreds, 1 fifty
To say that Rohit Sharma has had a prolific tournament with the bat would be an understatement. Having topped the batting charts, he made history by becoming the first player to score five centuries in a single edition of the tournament. Sharma started India’s campaign with a responsible hundred in a tricky chase against South Africa. He then went on to get hundreds against Pakistan, England, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
2. Jason Roy (England)
Stats: 7 innings, 443 runs, average 63.28, 1 hundred, 4 fifties
Jason Roy’s numbers in the competition are certainly impressive, but it is the manner in which he has scored his runs that made a difference to England’s campaign. In a tournament that was kind to fast bowlers, Roy’s strike rate at the top of the order was remarkable at 115.36. After taking Bangladesh’s bowlers apart with a brutal 153, his 66 off 57 balls against India was crucial as he gave England a flying start. In the semifinal he went on to make a mockery of Australia’s total of 223 with a blistering 85 off 65 balls.
3. David Warner (Australia)
Stats: 10 innings, 647 runs, average 71.88, 3 hundreds, 3 fifties
This world cup saw a different dimension to David Warner’s batting. With his captain Aaron Finch providing flying starts, Warner decided to take a more measured approach and play the anchor role. This paid off well as he notched up three centuries and three half-centuries, and fell short of being the tournament’s highest run-scorer by just one run. We think the new Warner would be a good fit at number three in this side.
4. Kane Williamson – Captain (New Zealand)
Stats: 9 innings, 578 runs, average 82.57, 2 hundreds, 2 fifties
It’s hard to keep the player of the tournament out of this team. The Kiwi skipper was in sublime touch with the bat. Having scored back-to-back hundreds against South Africa and West Indies in the group stage, his resilient 67 in trying conditions in the semi-final was worth its weight in gold as New Zealand edged out India. New Zealand’s campaign may have seen a few hiccups, but Williamson’s captaincy was more often than not on the money, especially in terms of reading the conditions. He is therefore our choice to lead this side.
5. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)
Stats: 8 matches, 606 runs, average 86.57, 2 hundreds, 5 fifties, 11 wickets, economy 5.39
Imagine being your team’s best batsman as well as premier spinner. Shakib Al Hasan set the 2019 world cup on fire and how! He went past fifty runs in seven out of his eight innings. Add to this ten overs of left-arm spin in almost every game at an impressively economical rate, returning 11 wickets including a five-wicket haul. His efforts may not have been enough to take Bangladesh into the semi-finals, but he walks into our side without question.
6. Ben Stokes (England)
Stats: 11 matches, 465 runs, average 66.42, 5 fifties, 7 wickets, economy 4.83
The English all-rounder had an outstanding tournament with some belligerent half centuries, economical bowling in the middle overs and an absolute blinder of a catch on the boundary line against South Africa. His 54-ball 79 against India proved to be a match-winning knock, as his late assault helped England reach 337. He reserved his best for the final as his unbeaten 84 helped England tie the game. He followed this up with an all-important boundary in the super over as England notched up 15 runs.
7. Alex Carey – Wicket-keeper (Australia)
Stats: 10 matches, 375 runs, average 62.50, 3 fifties, 18 catches, 2 stumpings
In a tournament featuring illustrious wicketkeeper-batsmen like M.S. Dhoni, Jos Buttler and Mushfiqur Rahim, it was young Carey who made a mark with the bat and gloves. His quick runs down the order proved vital for Australia, and his wicket-keeping to the Australian pacers was adept.
8. Mitchell Starc (Australia)
Stats: 10 matches, 27 wickets, average 18.59, economy 5.43
Having finished as the highest wicket taker for the second world cup in a row, it would be fair to say that Mitch Starc saves his best for world cups. With 27 wickets and two five-wicket hauls in the tournament, his inclusion in this side is a no-brainer. He was deadly with the new ball and at the death. Besides, Starc bowled what was arguably the ball of the tournament when he found the blockhole to castle a rampaging Ben Stokes.
9. Jofra Archer (England)
Stats: 11 matches, 20 wickets, average 23.05, economy 4.57
Drafted in as a last-minute selection, the Barbados-born pacer lived up to all the hype and repaid the selectors’ faith in him. He bowled throughout the tournament with vicious pace and bounce. Given the responsibility to bowl the super over in the final, the 24-year-old held his nerve as England snatched victory.
10. Lockie Ferguson (New Zealand)
Stats: 9 matches, 21 wickets, average 19.47, economy 4.88
While everyone expected Trent Boult to wreak havoc in English conditions, it was Ferguson who proved to be New Zealand’s strike bowler in the tournament. Bowling at a good pace and getting the ball to nip off the surface, he emerged as the second-highest wicket taker in the tournament with an impressive average and economy. He bowled his heart out in the final and scalped three wickets as New Zealand put up a spirited fight.
11. Jasprit Bumrah (India)
Stats: 9 matches, 18 wickets, average 20.61, economy 4.41
Jasprit Bumrah may not have finished as the highest wicket taker in the tournament, but he certainly was the most effective in halting the flow of runs and providing breakthroughs whenever his captain needed him to. With an outstanding economy of 4.41, Bumrah lived up to his reputation of being the best death bowler in the world, consistently getting his yorkers on point and giving away nothing.
12. Ravindra Jadeja – 12th Man (India)
Unfortunately, our beloved ‘bits-and-pieces‘ man did not play enough matches to merit a selection in our eleven, but he made his presence felt time and again as a substitute fielder, saving tons of runs and taking some spectacular catches.
Those who narrowly missed out:
Jonny Bairstow (England)
Stats: 11 innings, 532 runs, average 48.36, 2 hundreds, 2 fifties
Joe Root (England)
Stats: 11 innings, 556 runs, average 61.77, 2 hundreds, 3 fifties
Virat Kohli (India)
Stats: 9 innings, 443 runs, average 55.37, 5 fifties
Babar Azam (Pakistan)
Stats: 8 innings, 474 runs, average 67.71, 1 hundred, 3 fifties
Mohammad Amir (Pakistan)
Stats: 8 matches, 17 wickets, average 21.05, economy 4.90
Images: ICC Cricket World Cup’s Facebook page.