By Debayan Mukherjee
Kolkata, July 15 (IANS) England won the World Cup by hitting more boundaries than New Zealand after the rip-roaring final which was tied both at the end of 100 overs and a Super Over.
It was the finest of margins and cricket showed its cruel side to the Kiwis who were “devastated” according to their skipper Kane Williamson.
Eoin Morgan lifted the World Cup as England won for the first time the coveted trophy at the hallowed Lord’s in London. The end of a stellar competition also brought to the fore performers who rose to the occasion.
IANS picks the top players who could make the best XI from the showpiece event:
Jason Roy’s breathtaking batting at the start of an innings is one of the main reasons why England were such a force at this World Cup. In the three matches — Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Australia — Roy missed in the middle of the group stages, England lost two against the Lankans and Aussies. Once Roy was back against India, there was no looking back for the dashing opener as he overall plundered 443 runs in seven innings with a highest score of 153 and average 63.28.
The Indian vice-captain had a World Cup to remember where he not only finished at the highest run-getter (648 runs in nine innings) but also racked up a record five centuries, the first by any batsman in a single World Cup. India lost to New Zealand in the semifinals where Rohit did not get runs, but personally the Mumbai batsman could not have asked for a better outing.
Kane Williamson (Captain)
He led from the front and but for lesser number of boundaries hit, could not guide New Zealand to their first World Cup triumph. Williamson was the Kiwis’ batting mainstay and almost every time shouldered the responsibility of getting runs alone. He marshalled his troops admirably and especially against India in the semifinal and England in the final, displayed his leadership skills brilliantly. In nine innings, he amassed 578 runs becoming the captain with most runs in a single World Cup. Justly, Williamson received the Player of the Tournament prize from batting legend Sachin Tendulkar.
Indian captain and arguably the best batsman in the world. Although, he did not get a hundred to his name, he scored five consecutive half centuries to take his team to the semifinals. Kohli failed in the knockout game against New Zealand and so did his team, but his class was underlined in those five games where he showcased his full repertoire to the world.
Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib failed to take Bangladesh to the semifinals but did whatever he could to fulfill that goal by scoring 606 runs in eight innings and taking 11 wickets. Shakib was brilliant throughout their campaign and played his best cricket to once again stake a claim as one of the best all-rounders in the world.
Ben Stokes will go down in history as one of England’s best all-rounders. After all, he managed what even the great Ian Botham failed to achieve in Australia in 1992. Stokes had a great World Cup where he scored 465 runs in 10 innings and scalped seven wickets besides taking the catch of the competition in the first game against South Africa. But none more important than his 84 not out off 98 balls in the final against New Zealand which helped the hosts lift the World Cup.
Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper)
He has blown hold and cold in this World Cup but in the final, his swashbuckling 60-ball 59 and the 110-run stand with Stokes helped England win their maiden World Cup trophy. Buttler is one of the best when it comes to hitting the cricket ball, and behind the stumps also he has been decent during the course of the tournament.
Jadeja played just two matches but in those games, he underlined his value in the side and why probably he should have been picked earlier. Jadeja was brilliant in the field with a stunning catch against England, but his fighting 77 against New Zealand where India were down in the dumps and staring at elimination, was the highlight. With the ball, he was very effective, picking up two crucial wickets and keeping the run flow in check.
The highest wicket taker in the tournament with 27 scalps to his name in 10 matches, Starc, like the 2015 edition, came to the party at the biggest stage of all. His toe-crushing yorker to castle Ben Stokes in a group stage game was the ball of the tournament and the Aussie quick did whatever he can to take his team to the semis. In the semis, they were up against England who on the day were far superior.
Just in the England setup and playing his first World Cup, 24-year old Barbados-born Jofra was another reason why England won the World Cup. The gun-quick nabbed 20 wickets in 11 matches and bowled the Super Over in the final against New Zealand, holding his nerve. Although he gave away 15 runs for the Kiwis to match the target, England won on superior boundary count.
Archer yorked, bounced and changed pace with the ball during the entire tournament, bamboozling batsmen and creating all sorts of problem which made him a crucial cog in England’s wheel for years to come.
The best bowler in white-ball cricket at the moment, Bumrah delivered in every single match relentlessly and without dropping his intensity. He took 18 wickets in nine innings but more importantly returned with an amazing economy rate of 4.41. There was never an instance where Bumrah was taken to the cleaners as batsmen failed to read him. India were knocked out in the semis by New Zealand but Bumrah stood out with the ball.
(Debayan Mukherjee can be contacted on [email protected])