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A to Z of the ODI World Cup

Updated on: 23 November,2023 01:35 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Clayton Murzello |

Twenty-six reasons why this big-ticket event was one crazy ride

A to Z of the ODI World Cup

Australia skipper Pat Cummins. Pic/Getty Images

Clayton MurzelloA for Ahmedabad. Largest capacity notwithstanding, what a slow pitch for the final!

B for Blofeld. The retired commentator Henry’s two bits about India didn’t go down well with the Indian cricketing fraternity. “They’re  getting a bit too big for their boots,” he said in a tweet. 

C for Cummins. Proved to be an astute captain. He also lived up to his pre-final statement about wanting to silence the Ahmedabad crowd.

D for Dussen. South Africa’s middle-order batsman Rassie van der proved to be an opponent’s scourge. Hundreds against Sri Lanka and New Zealand proved to be match-winning efforts. 

E for England. The 2019 winners have always been known as poor tourists to the sub-continent and they proved it yet again. 

F for Fakhar. A lesser batsman would have wilted under the pressure of opening the batting after New Zealand piled up 401-6 at Bangalore. But Fakhar cracked 126 off 81 balls, a memorable knock. 

G for Gill. Getting 80 not out after leaving the crease against New Zealand for a bit in the semi-final would have been Shubman’s most satisfying innings of the competition and no prizes for guessing which would have been his most forgettable    – the pull shot off Mitchell Starc in the final which went to Adam Zampa in the fifth over.

H for Hashmatullah Shahidi. Captain of Afghanistan, who beat three former champs  – England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Hashmatullah’s 310 runs included 80 v India, 48* v Pakistan, 58* v Sri Lanka and 56* v the Netherlands, some indication that he lead from the front.

I for India. Form and all-round strength made India deserving favourites. But cricket is a cruel game. Rohit Sharma & Co’s off-day came in the most important game of all. 

J for Jasprit. Shrugging off his back worries, Bumrah lived up to his reputation of being one of, if not the best fast bowler in the game, with 20 wickets in the tournament. 

K  for KL. Indeed, Rahul’s 66 in the final was India’s top-score, but had only one boundary in his 107-ball innings. 

L for Labuschagne. Queenslander Marnus saw Australia’s total boosted by 194 runs from the time he came in 47-3. That he stayed till victory was achieved is a tribute to his grit and determination. Not bad for a player who was not in the original scheme of things. 

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M for Maxwell, who played the finest innings of the World Cup – a double ton on one leg. Maxwell was brilliant and unbelievable. His effort v Afghanistan reminded cricket lovers of Kapil Dev’s epic 175 in the 1983 edition.

N for Neesham. Poor Jimmy was abused on social media post the World Cup final. He was mistaken for an Australian. Trolls had to be told that neighbours Australia and NZ were after all, different countries. Neesham will enjoy a chuckle over this later on, but it was ugly when it happened. 

O for O’Donnell. The former Australia all-rounder and a member of the 1987 World Cup-winning team, didn’t agree to the New Zealanders helping Virat Kohli when he was battling cramps in the semi-final. Hard man, Simon.
P for Paras. India’s bowling coach Mhambrey’s efforts came to fruition as India steamrolled opponent after opponent before the final.  Mohd Shami expressed his gratitude publicly and Mhambrey’s role would have been acknowledged in the dressing room too.

Q for Qualifiers. The competition in Zimbabwe put West Indies out of the World Cup even as Sri Lanka ducked the bullet.

R for Rohit. England’s 2003 World Cup captain Nasser Hussain hit the nail on the head by saying the real hero for India amidst their stars was Rohit Sharma, whose captaincy was outstanding.

S for Shami. Benched initially, Mohammed Shami went on to be the toast of Indian fast bowling in the competition. Twenty-three wickets in six games before the final was a big contributing factor in India’s high moments. Shami got wickets, he got people to smile too.

T for Travis. Joined the likes of Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Aravinda de Silva, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, and Mahela Jayawardene to score a hundred in an ODI World Cup final. Head is destined for similar greatness.

U for Umpire Kettleborough. The fact that India don’t win ICC games whenever Richard officiates went viral before the final and the trend continued on Sunday. He would have not made any friends within the Australian camp too as he adjudged premier batsman Steve Smith leg before wicket off Jasprit Bumrah in the final. Smith didn’t opt for a review and replays showed that he wasn’t out.

V for Virat. Another great World Cup in which he scored three centuries. His supporters were incensed when he was accused of playing for hundreds. An out and out team man didn’t have to face this. By the way, one expected him to make an appearance at one post-match media conference at least. 

W for Wankhede: The India v SL and India v NZ semi-final witnessed a great atmosphere, but a few fans had no drinking water after the first half in the semis.

X for X factor: The aspect India lacked in the final against Australia. 

Y for Yadav. The Uttar Pradesh wrist spinner didn’t run through sides, but Kuldeep’s 15 wickets in 11 games were invaluable.

Z for Zampa. That he had the Netherlands in all sorts of trouble with figures of 4 for 8 at the Kotla was not surprising, but his 4-53 in Australia’s victory over Pakistan at Bangalore was a performance he would be very proud of. 

mid-day’s group sports editor Clayton Murzello is a purist with an open stance. He tweets @ClaytonMurzello

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