Six tops and flops at Cricket World Cup
19 November 2023
Ahmedabad (India) (AFP) -
Australia beat India by six wickets to lift their sixth title in the Cricket World Cup in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
AFP Sport takes a look at the tops and flops at the 13th edition of the tournament.
- TOPS -
-- The Afghans enjoyed stellar performances starting with their stunning win over defending champions England.
In the first major upset of the tournament, Afghanistan posted 284 and then bowled out England for 215 with spin wizard Rashid Khan taking three wickets.
The performance was no flash in the pan as they kept up their giant-killing act and hammered neighbours Pakistan by eight wickets to trigger wild celebrations.
They finished with four victories including against Sri Lanka and the Netherlands, prompting coach Jonathan Trott to predict a 'bright future' for the team.
-- Maxwell smashed the tournament's fastest century in 40 balls in a match-winning 106 against the Netherlands in New Delhi.
But Maxwell had only just got started as he then defied cramp and back spasms in a knock for the ages when he lifted Australia from 91-7 to victory with an unbeaten 201 against Afghanistan in Mumbai.
Known as 'The Big Show' for his swashbuckling batting, Maxwell destroyed the Afghan bowling attack with 21 fours and 10 sixes in his 128-ball blitz.
He was the dominant partner in a 202-run stand with skipper Pat Cummins, who called Maxwell's knock a 'freak show' and the 'greatest ODI innings'.
-- Virat Kohli lived up to his billing as one of the modern-day greats, recording a 50th ODI century to go past compatriot Sachin Tendulkar's 49 tons.
He achieved the feat in India's semi-final against New Zealand at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, the home ground of Tendulkar.
Kohli, 35, amassed 765 runs including three hundreds in 11 matches to end up as the leading batsman in the tournament.
Teammate and fast bowler Mohammed Shami also played his role in getting the team to the final. He sat out the first four games but made a huge impact on his return with 24 wickets including a 7-57 in the semi-final.
- FLOPS -
-- Babar Azam's team came in with huge expectations and started with two victories before their campaign hit a wall in the shadow of right security which director of cricket Mickey Arthur branded as 'stifling'.
A loss to India and then Australia hit them hard, but it was their defeat to Afghanistan that hurt as pace ace Shaheen Shah Afridi looked out of sorts with 58 runs from his 10 overs and one wicket.
They slipped to their fourth loss in a heartbreaking one-wicket defeat to South Africa, a defeat Azam believed dented their semi-final hopes.
Fakhar Zaman's match-winning 126 not out against New Zealand was a rare highlight before the 1992 champions crashed out and Azam resigned as captain from all formats.
Buttler and England
-- Jos Buttler came into the tournament as captain of one of the fancied teams out to defend their title but their campaign fizzled out early after just one win in the first seven matches.
Buttler failed to provide any inspiration as he flopped with the bat, managing just 138 runs from nine matches.
It was a rare failure for Buttler, who scored 269 in six matches when he led the team to their maiden T20 World Cup victory in 2021.
Spirit of cricket
-- Sri Lanka batsman Angelo Mathews became the first batsman in 146 years of international cricket to be given 'timed out' in an ill-tempered match against Bangladesh.
Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan appealed after Mathews failed to take strike within the two-minute time limit when he came out to bat in New Delhi and was adjudged out.
Mathews branded Shakib 'disgraceful' and the episode left the cricket world divided and the 'spirit of cricket' debate reignited.
Ex-india batsman Gautam Gambhir called the act 'absolutely pathetic'.
India coach Rahul Dravid said 'we won't do it' but 'you can go and debate both the situations'.