With the group stage over and England, Australia, New Zealand and India qualifying for the semifinals, we take a look back at some of the unforgettable moments from the World Cup so far.
Shakib bids farewell in style
Scoring runs and breaking records looked to be a regular matter for Bangladesh’s ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan as ended the tournament having scored more than 600 runs and scalping 10-plus wickets. Shakib became only the first man to score 500-plus runs and scalp 10-plus wickets in one edition of the World Cup. He also became the 10th batsman to have scored 500 runs in the history of the mega event. Shakib also bagged the first fifer for Bangladesh in a World Cup, which made him only the second player in the history of the game to scalp five wickets and score 50-plus runs in a World Cup match.
West Indies lose to New Zealand despite Brathwaite heroics
New Zealand scored an achievable total of 296 in the first innings on the back of Kane Willamson’s 148 and Ross Taylor’s 69 but the West Indies batsmen made the target look harder to chase than it should have been as the middle order batsmen failed to click after Chris Gayle’s 87 off 84 balls. Shimron Hetmyer was the only contributor to the score after Gayle, before being knocked out by Lockie Ferguson. All hopes seemed to be gone for West Indies, until Carlos Brathwaite, the man who scored consecutive sixes in 2016 to win the ICC T20 World Cup for West Indies, came to the field. Brathwaite scored a valiant 101 but failed to take the Caribbean’s over the line. With literally no support from the other end in a game where all seemed lost, Brathwaite single handedly took the West Indies to a spot from where they could win the match.
Tough luck for Malinga-Gayle
The World Cup bids farewell to two of the best entertainers as Lasith Malinga and Chris Gayle played out their last matches against India and Afghanistan respectively. At 35 years of age, Malinga showed why he was one of the best as his toe-crunching yorkers kept the English batsmen in disarray when Sri Lanka played England in the World Cup. On the other hand, Gayle, also termed as “Universe Boss”, had a disappointing campaign as the 39-year-old scored just 242 runs in this edition of the World Cup with 87 being his highest score.
Kohli’s asks fans not to boo Smith
Former Australia captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner faced abuse on and off the field in the World Cup as they came to the tournament on the back of a one year ban for ball tampering. However, in a match between Australia and India, during Virat Kohli’s innings, Indian fans constantly booed the Australian batsman while he was fielding in the boundaries. Seeing this, the Indian skipper pointed to the fans behind Smith, signaling them to clap for the Australian instead. This gesture went viral and has earned Kohli respect from all cricket fans. Later, Kohli also apologized to Smith in the press conference on behalf of Indian fans.
Starc’s perfect Yorker removes Stokes
Aaron Finch’s century and Jason Behendroff’s fifer might have won the match for Australia against England at Lord’s but the in-swinging yorker by Mitchell Starc was the talk of the day. Ben Stokes kept the hopes of English fans alive as he looked to take the hosts over the line in chase of 285. However, a perfect yorker by Starc cut Stokes’s innings short as the ball smashed into the off-stump and the awestruck Stokes kicked his bat in shock and frustration. Social media went wild over the yorker, naming it "the ball of the tournament."
Ben Stokes takes a screamer
In the World Cup opener, where England faced South Africa, the hosts seemed to be on the verge of a comfortable win as the South African batsmen had no answer to the English bowlers. However, Ben Stokes made headlines that day as he took a blinder of a catch to send Andile Phehlukwayo back to the pavilion. Stokes, known for his athleticism, plucked one from the air as he made a leap to catch the ball between mid on and long on. This catch has been termed as the “Best Catch of the Tournament” and has brought accolades for the all-rounder from pundits, team mates and opposition as well. However, a modest Stokes said that he misjudged an easy catch and made it look harder than it was. Whatever, the case may be, it was a treat to watch for any cricket fan.
Cottrell’s unbelievable catch to deny Smith
Steve Smith lifted a ball towards mid-wicket which looked like a definite six but Sheldon Cottrell came running from fine leg to deny the batsman. Cottrell kept his balance as he tucked the ball inside from the boundary line in mid air, then came back to complete an inhumane catch to send Smith back.
Rain Rain Go Away!
Three matches were abandoned in this World Cup due to rain with no balls played, Bangladesh-Sri Lanka, Pakistan-Sri Lanka and India-New Zealand. This was the highest number of matches to be abandoned due to rain since 1975. Players, coaches and pundits alike questioned ICC’s decision to play the tournament during this time of the year as rain played a massive part in the points table. The Tigers would consider it a missed chance for them as they could easily have snatched three points from the Lankans but had to settle for one.
Hopes makes a blunder
Having lost three matches on the trot after the washed out match against South Africa, West Indies looked to bounce back against India. The Indians finished the first innings in which they batted as strong as they started. However, the Caribbean’s wicketkeeper Shai Hope had the chance to bring the run rate down in the 34th over when MS Dhoni went down the wicket to Fabian Allen. Hope had clipped the bails before the ball reached his hands as Dhoni, who himself knew he was stumped came back to the crease comfortably. The former Indian captain went off to score 56 runs later in the match.
Bails stand strong
Five times during the World Cup the ball clipped the stumps but the bails failed to fall. Adil Rashid’s ball clipped the stumps when South Africa’s Quinton De Kock was on the crease, but instead of celebrating a wicket, Rashid saw the ball run away for a boundary. Moments like this happened when Sri Lanka faced New Zealand, Australia faced West Indies, England faced Bangladesh and Australia faced India. Such occurrences left everyone in awe and raised questions over the makers of such stumps.
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