Scott Edwards (Pics AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
INDIA skipper Rohit Sharma is in great form going into the World Cup. Apart from leading India to the Asia Cup win recently, the Mumbai man has scored 194 runs, including three half centuries in the multinational tournament. The opener, however, failed to beat four-time World Champions Australia earlier this year.
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KANE Williamson had been out of the team with a knee injury that occurred during this year's IPL. He scored an unbeaten 54 in the warm-up match against Pakistan on Friday. The New Zealand skipper, however, will miss his team's opening match against defending champions England on Thursday.
BABAR Azam has been in terrific form, scoring 745 runs in 16 ODIs this year, at a strong average of 49.66, including two centuries. Though Pakistan failed to qualify for the Asia Cup final under his leadership, his recent form, including 151 off 131 balls against Nepal and 80 off 84 deliveries in the warm-up match against New Zealand, will be a big confidence booster for the team.
AUSTRALIA captain Pat Cummins made an ODI comeback in the recently-concluded three-match ODI series against India after being out of the ODI side for 10 months due to a wrist injury. He rested for the second ODI against India, which the hosts won by 99 runs (DLS method). Australia will be hoping the fast bowler's recent form (2-103 in two matches) won't hamper the team's preparation for the World Cup.
Dasun Shanaka's batting form this year has been a big concern for Sri Lanka going into the World Cup. Apart from scoring an unbeaten 108 in the first ODI against India at Guwahati earlier this year, the middle-order batsman has failed to even go past 31 in his last 21 innings, scoring just 150 runs at a poor average of 9.37. The all-rounder, however, was effective with the ball, claiming 13 wickets in 22 ODIs this year.
ENGLAND skipper Jos Buttler has been consistent enough this year. He was dismissed on a single-digit score just once in the last 10 ODI innings in which he smashed 548 runs at an impressive average of 60.88. The team will be boosted by the wicketkeeper-batsman's big-hitting and quick-scoring ability, which can put the opposition out of the game within a span of a few overs.
Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan has lived up to his all-rounder tag by scoring 549 runs in 10 ODIs this year at an impressive average of 39.21, in which he also claimed 14 wickets. His best all-round show (75 off 71 balls & 4-35) came during Bangladesh's 50-run win over England during the third ODI at Chittagong earlier this year. He was also impressive during the recently-concluded Asia Cup, smashing 173 runs in five matches, including three wickets.
DESPITE being out for a duck in his last ODI against Australia recently, South Africa captain Temba Bavuma has been in the form of his life this year, smashing 637 runs in 10 ODIs at a strong average of 79.62, including three centuries. The Proteas will bank on the opener to provide them a good start en route to winning their maiden World Cup title.
AFGHANISTAN captain Hashmatullah Shahidi was not in his best form in the ODI series against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh earlier this year, but the middle-order batsman got his form back just in time before the World Cup by scoring back-to-back half centuries in Asia Cup matches against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka respectively. He will look to continue his fine form in the multi-nation tournament.
Netherlands skipper Scott Edwards played a big role, scoring 67 off just 47 balls in his team's shocking win over the West Indies during the ICC World Cup Qualifier earlier this year. The wicketkeeper-batsman led from the front to help The Netherlands qualify for the World Cup, scoring 314 runs in eight matches at an average of 62.80.