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Five trends from the World Cup so far

We have already had more hundreds in this tournament than in the entire 2007 competition. There have been three scores in excess of 400, including the highest ever in a World Cup. Teams are scoring more than 300 - a daunting, impregnable score even a few years ago - and losing. 400 has become the new 300.

india Updated: Mar 11, 2015 16:25 IST
Soumya Bhattacharya

The batting has gone to a different level: We have already had more hundreds in this tournament than in the entire 2007 competition. There have been three scores in excess of 400, including the highest ever in a World Cup. Teams are scoring more than 300 - a daunting, impregnable score even a few years ago - and losing. 400 has become the new 300. We have had the World Cup's first double century. What next? A team score of 500? A triple hundred? The last ten or fifteen overs of an innings have redefined carnage on a cricket field. Against Sri Lanka on Sunday, Australia were 199/4 at the end of the 35th over. In the next 15 overs, they scored 177 runs. That sort of savage hitting has become routine in this tournament rather than noteworthy.

Attacking bowling is thriving: Often buried beneath the avalanche of tall scores and batting records is the fact that good, attacking bowlers are thriving. And low scoring encounters - such as the ones between Australia and New Zealand and India and the West Indies - are adding extra variety and zip to this Cup. Think of Michell Starc, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Ravichandran Ashwin: bowlers who are backing their natural talents and attacking are reaping the rewards, irrespective of the ferocious batting.

South Africa's frailties have been exposed again: The team that was one of the favourites coming into the tournament find themselves with the same number of points as Ireland - after having played one game more than the side condescendingly - and erroneously - referred to as minnows. Chasing down a total remains South Africa's biggest anxiety. After India and Pakistan walloped them, any team batting first against South Africa will fancy their chances against them.

New Zealand have become the neutral's favourite team: Never have New Zealand have had an ODI side as strong and as balanced as the current one. Playing with scarcely credible intensity and ruthlessness and always on the attack, they have been a delight to watch. Brendon McCullum is winning a lot of plaudits for his attacking captaincy (Test match-like field settings; using up his best bowlers in the first 30 overs), and it is wonderful when it works. But it cannot, will not work every time. How the Kiwis handle that will be interesting.

To do well in this World Cup, teams need specialists: Be it at the top of the order or for consolidation till the final charge or for the onslaught of the last 10 overs or for bowling at the death or for being able to swing the ball, you need super specialists in this tournament. The bits-and-pieces players who once were an asset to the 50-overs game will not do. India should take note: Ravindra Jadeja cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be called a specialist. No wonder he is being found out.


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