Cricket Sports

World Cup 2019: Bowlers Set the Tournament Ablaze

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The bowlers called the shots in the second week of the World Cup matches, reports Vijayhardik. A Different Truths exclusive.

The second week of the World Cup had the spectators and the audience biting their nails. The staggering scores piled on by England in their home series over the last couple of years served as an omen for a run-fest at the World Cup. A few matches while playing out according to the perceived template, the tournament has sprung many a surprise.

The championship was billed as a bowler’s nightmare and a batsmen’s dream even before it was underway. But the bowlers in the tournament have continually proved the cricketing pundits wrong.

Thought to be a low-key affair, the encounter between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan was the first Asian face-off in this edition of the World Cup.

Thought to be a low-key affair, the encounter between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan was the first Asian face-off in this edition of the World Cup. A Sri Lankan team trying to fill in the void left by the retirements of its legendary players and the new kid on the block Afghanistan taking them on still seemed like a David taking on Goliath event.

Cardiff was chosen to be the venue for an expected mauling of Afghanistan by the Lankan lions. Opening to a sparse crowd, Afghanistan decided to bowl on a cloudy day hoping for some assistance from the weather conditions. The Lankan batsmen were up to the task against the formidable but rookie Afghan pace attack.

Sri Lanka got off to a great start. They were on course for a mammoth total asserting to the world that they were still a force to be reckoned with.

On expected lines, Sri Lanka got off to a great start. They were on course for a mammoth total asserting to the world that they were still a force to be reckoned with. And then after a promising start, their innings derailed.

Mohammad Nabi, the Afghan right arm off spin bowler ran through the inexperienced Sri Lankan middle order like a hot knife through butter. In a moment’s notice, Sri Lanka found themselves in a mess. From a superlative 140/1, they found themselves languishing at 159/6.

After a long rain break, the match resumed truncated to a 41 overs per side affair. Sri Lanka managed to get out for 201 without playing the full quota of the allotted overs.

With some aid from some horrendous bowling by Afghanistan, they crawled to 182/8 in 32 overs when the rain gods intervened. After a long rain break, the match resumed truncated to a 41 overs per side affair. Sri Lanka managed to get out for 201 without playing the full quota of the allotted overs. Along with rain comes the DLS system, a result of which the target for Afghanistan was to chase down 187 in 41 overs.

In the modern era of batting, the chase should have been easy for Afghanistan. After a decent start just went the Afghani fans and followers were beginning to hope for an Afghanistan win, the flames of hope were doused. The Sri Lankan bowling duo of Malinga and Pradeep ran through the Afghani batting line up. A token resistance from the captain Gulbadin Naib and Najibullah Zadran only delayed the inevitable.

While the match between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan did not bring in the crowds, the next match was a crowd puller. One of the tournament favourites, India were taking on the formidable South African team at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.

India had the first opportunity to have a go at the South African batsmen after they decided to bat. Jasprit Bumrah, according to many cricketing legends, one of the finest bowlers rushed the opening pair of Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock with sheer pace and bounce.

India had the first opportunity to have a go at the South African batsmen after they decided to bat. Jasprit Bumrah, according to many cricketing legends, one of the finest bowlers rushed the opening pair of Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock with sheer pace and bounce. His efforts bore fruit and sent them packing towards the pavilion.

Recouping after the initial losses, the Proteas were finding their way to safety when they ran into the Indian spin twins Kuldeep and Chahal. Continuing from where they left off in the series against South Africa, they wrecked South Africa’s middle order once again. Chahal claimed the honours this time with a spell of 4/51.  Only some dogged batting performances from Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris and Rabada saw South Africa reach a total of 227/9 in 50 overs.

Living a charmed life, after a few jittery moments at the start Rohit Sharma took control of the innings after the loss of Dhawan.

 

South Africa armed with a depleting pace arsenal made the most out of their remaining reserves. The attack led by feisty and fiery Rabada troubled the Indian batsmen hopping on their toes. Living a charmed life, after a few jittery moments at the start Rohit Sharma took control of the innings after the loss of Dhawan.

A gritty inning by Rohit Sharma which saw him score a magnificent unbeaten 122, his 23rd century in the ODI format, arguably his best innings in the shorter format saw India through to victory. Ably supported by the other batsmen, the ‘Hitman’ led India to a six-wicket win over South Africa.

…the Black Caps (NZ) were taking on Bangladesh. The underlying theme of bowlers calling the shots displayed in the match.

In the other fixture of the day, the Black Caps (NZ) were taking on Bangladesh. The underlying theme of bowlers calling the shots displayed in the match. Bangladeshi batsmen got starts and built partnerships but never one big enough to threaten New Zealand. Matt Henry with figures of 4/47 made sure Bangladesh just managed 244.

New Zealand batsmen hit the right notes from the beginning of the chase. The openers powered the score at a decent clip to give them an edge in the game. After an eventful powerplay, New Zealand found themselves in control of the game. From there on, the experienced duo of Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson took over the reins of the chase, steering them towards an easy and enviable victory.

The batsmen fell prey to the slow bowling of the Bangladeshi bowlers and made a complete mess of the chase. It looked like Bangladesh had managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat.

Coasting to victory at 160/2 at the 30 over the mark, New Zealand lost the wicket of Kane Williamson. His wicket led to a dramatic twist in the tale. The batsmen fell prey to the slow bowling of the Bangladeshi bowlers and made a complete mess of the chase. It looked like Bangladesh had managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat. But with spirited batting in the hour of need, the lower order managed to get New Zealand over the line denying Bangladesh a famous win.

If the previous matches held promise on proving the experts wrong on their pre-tournament predictions, this match took the icing on the cake. It was a match where the pendulum swung in favour of either of the teams many a time.

While the Windies bowlers had the hapless Australian batsmen in a world of trouble at 38/4, Sunil Gavaskar in the commentary box was absolutely gushing on their performance and went down the memory lane.

Proving that their performance against Pakistan was not a flash in the pan, the West Indies bowlers launched a bouncing barrage against the Aussie batsmen. They once again revived memories of their iconic past where they bounced out teams with pace and bounce. The sounds of the Calypso music were in the air. While the Windies bowlers had the hapless Australian batsmen in a world of trouble at 38/4, Sunil Gavaskar in the commentary box was absolutely gushing on their performance and went down the memory lane.

From that precarious position, the Australian batsmen showing their indomitable Aussie spirit launched a rear-guard action led by the unflappable Steve Smith. While he stood resolute at one end, Nathan Coulter-Nile came in to play the innings of his life. Riding on his luck, he amassed 92 runs in 50 deliveries helping Australia put 288 on the board in 49 overs.

In an interesting bit of trivia, Australia has never lost a World Cup game when they lost 4 wickets with less than 50 runs on the board. It was up to them to keep their record intact.

Witnessing contradictory styles of play, West Indies were able to stitch top-order partnerships after a couple of quick wickets.

Witnessing contradictory styles of play, West Indies were able to stitch top order partnerships after a couple of quick wickets. Even with Australia trying to keep themselves in the game by picking up wickets at regular intervals, West Indies managed to stay ahead with some resolute batting performances by the middle order. Their captain Jason Holder was at crease keeping their hopes for a win alive.

But Mitchell Starc had other ideas. In a furious spell of fast bowling, he blew out the hope for a Windies win by picking up the scalps of Brathwaite and Holder in 46th over just giving one run away.

But Mitchell Starc had other ideas. In a furious spell of fast bowling, he blew out the hope for a Windies win by picking up the scalps of Brathwaite and Holder in 46th over just giving one run away. He then returned to scalp another in his final over. His figures of 5/46 in his 10 overs ensured West Indies lost the match with a narrow margin of 15 runs.

In a week that followed the insipid opening week, it was up to the task and gave the World Cup a new lease of life. The bowlers rose to the occasion running through batting orders and brought out the best in the batsmen. Truly, the bowlers have set the stage alight.

Photos sourced by the author from the Internet


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