The ICC World Cup 2015 is underway and we have seen teams give their best on the field to win their respective matches. Co-hosts Australia and New Zealand as well as hot favorites South Africa and current reigning champions India have won their opening games convincingly. In this article, I shall talk about the biggest highlights and takeaways from the first four games of the 11th edition of the tournament.
1. This World Cup will be a run fest
Make no mistake ladies and gentlemen, the ICC World Cup 2015 will showcase a lot of high scoring matches till the end. The first four games saw all the teams that batted first scoring 300 and above. Australia scored 342, South Africa 339, New Zealand 331 and India 300! However the teams chasing the mammoth totals could not afford to score much except for Zimbabwe, who labored their way to score a decent total of 277 against the Proteas. The trend will continue in the upcoming games as well and we may be fortunate to see new records being created, such as the highest team total in a 50-over match or the fastest century in a world cup.
2. Records will be broken
The inaugural day of this world cup featured 1137 runs, 35 wickets, 7 half centuries, one century, two 5-wicket hauls and a hattrick. Today we saw Miller and Duminy of South Africa score 256 runs, the highest 5th wicket partnership in ODI history. The first two days indicate that records will be smashed and as mentioned above, after the tournament concludes, we may see greater heights achieved by the players and records, that we once took for granted, now being owned by the new generation of cricketers.
However, one record in the world cup is yet to be broken as India won their 6th straight world cup match against Pakistan, which brings us to number 3!
3. India 6-0 Pakistan
The biggest cricketing rivalry, unfortunately could not live up to its hype today! Millions of fans around the world watched as Pakistan continue their woes at the world cup against India, succumbing to yet another defeat, losing by 76 runs. Poor batting performance made the target of 301 impossible to chase! The win was a boost to India’s morale as they picked up their biggest win on Australian soil this summer. They now top pool B with a net run rate of +1.520. They will face the mighty Proteas with much-needed confidence on February 22 at the MCG.
Pakistan, however, wasted a golden opportunity of beating India for the first time in a world cup, even after restricting their arch rivals to 300. They now remain at the bottom of their group and face West Indies on February 21.
4. Umpiring error and DRS controversies
Amidst the run fests, one-sided wins and individual achievements of the players, the world cup has already been clouded with controversial moments. The first one occurred during the Australia-England match. James Anderson was given run out right after James Taylor, who was on 98, was given lbw by the umpire. DRS overruled the decision of the field umpire and ICC later admitted that the ball should have been dead thus judging the decision of the umpire as incorrect (as per Article 3.6a of Appendix 6 of the Decision Review System Playing Conditions).
The India-Pakistan match also had its moment of controversy. Umar Akmal was primarily given not out for the caught behind appeal by India. Dhoni called for a review which showed the ball altered its path a smidgen as it passed the bat although there was hardly any spike on the snickometer. 3rd umpire overruled the field umpire’s decision and dismissed Akmal. There was not enough evidence on his part to overrule the decision which made the dismissal questionable.
Even though the above mentioned events had no impact on the results, umpires (both on field and TV) need to be more cautious with their decisions from now on to stay away from controversial decisions that may have an impact on the result of a game!
5. The heavyweights prove they are ready for the show
Before the tournament started, co-hosts Australia and New Zealand and the mighty South Africa were deemed as the favorites to win the world cup. None of the teams disappointed. All three of the teams cruised their way to big victories and scored 300+ runs in their inaugural matches.
Corey Anderson scored 75 off 46 balls and picked up 2 wickets to lead the Kiwis to glory against Sri Lanka. Aaron Finch overshadowed teammates Warner and Smith scoring a brilliant ton and helped the team post the mammoth total of 342, which till date is the highest total of a team in this world cup! Mitch Marsh picked up 5 wickets annihilating the batting line up of England and leading the Aussies to a 111 run victory.
After being 4 down and just 83 runs on board, David Miller steered the Proteas to 339, scoring an unbeaten 138 off 92 balls. His record 256 run partnership with Duminy enabled South Africa to score 339! Defending champions India also started off with a bang as they beat arch rivals Pakistan in their first game of the tournament.Virat Kohli scored a magnificent century to guide the team to a total of 300 losing 7 wickets in 50 overs.
Barring any upsets, these are the teams that have the highest chance of lifting the trophy on March 29 at the MCG!
The world cup has just begun and the hype is starting to grow. It will be exciting to see which 8 teams make it to the quarter finals after 42 group games. Till then let’s enjoy the cricketing action and hope our heroes will lead their respective nation towards the ultimate glory!