ICC World Cup 2019: Afridi’s six-fer, Starc’s destruction highlight top five bowling spells of the tournament
The group stage of the World Cup 2019 has come to an end with Australia, India, England and New Zealand finishing at the top four teams. South Africa beat Australia by 10 runs. With the results, India finished in the top spot and will face New Zealand on Tuesday in the first semifinal. Australia will take on England on Thursday in the second semi-final.
Here is a list of top five bowlers from the group stages who made the most impact:
Mitchell Starc (Australia) vs New Zealand
The fact that Mitchell Starc has equaled Glenn McGrath’s record of most number of wickets (26) in a single World Cup edition only points towards his form in the tournament. The left-armer has registered two five-wicket hauls in the tournament, out of which, his performance against New Zealand was a memorable one. Giving away just 26 runs, Starc picked up five wickets, dismantling Aussie middle order and ending their hopes of chasing down 244. Because of Starc’s spell, the Kiwis were bundled out for 157. He has also delivered the ‘ball of the tournament’ when he cleaned up Ben Stokes with an in-swining yorker.
Jasprit Bumrah (India) vs Afghanistan
India set a comparatively low target of 225 for Afghanistan to chase in their fifth World Cup fixture. Openers Gulbadin Naib and Hazratullah Zazai gave the opposition a good start, which Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi were carrying on forward. Afghanistan looked to be cruising towards the target. Then skipper Virat Kohli handed the ball to Jasprit Bumrah, who dismissed both the batsmen in the same over. Mohammed Shami made the news with hat-trick in the final over, but it was Bumrah who won the game for his side. This is the impact the seamer has in the tournament. Against England, where every Indian bowler struggled, the 26-year-old recorded figures of 44/1. In 9 games, the fast bowler picked 17 wickets at an economy rate of 4.48 and an average of 19.52. He was expected to be a crucial part of Indian bowling set-up in the World Cup, and he certainly lived up to the expecations in the group stages. Can he make a similar impact in the final two games, if India reach the final? Time will tell.
Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan) vs Bangladesh
Pakistan must wonder if their tournament could have been extended longer if they had given a more consistent run to the teenager Shaheen Shah Afridi in the early stage of the competition. The left-armer played just five out of Pakistan’s eight group stage matches, and finished with 16 wickets at an average of 14.62 with an economy rate of 4.96. His performance against New Zealand, in which he dismantled Pakistan’s top order ensured he remains a permanent member of the team in the remainder of the matches. The seamer bowled 10 overs in which he rattled Kiwis top order to finish with figures of 3/28. His best, though, came in Pakistan’s final match against Bangladesh, in which he became the first teenager to register a World Cup fifer. He registered figures of 6/35 as he helped his side to a win. He will be missed in the business end of the tournament.
Jofra Archer (England) vs South Africa
Jofra Archer, playing his first World Cup tournament, impressed from the get go as he troubled opposition with varying pace and bounce. Archer picked up three wickets in five of the nine games in the group stages, and ensured he does not give too many runs away, if he is unable to pick a wicket. His best performance came against South Africa in the opening match of the tournament, in which he dismantled Proteas middle order, dismissing Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen. The seamer finished with figures of 27/3 in 7 overs as the hosts bowled out the visitors for 207. Overall, the right-armer picked 17 wickets in 9 games, and remained one of the most economical bowlers in the tournament with a rae of 4.78. The seamer also maintained an average of 22.76 in the group stage, and was one of the reasons for England’s success with the ball in the tournament.
Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka) vs England
After a poor start to the tournament, no one expected Sri Lanka to beat hosts England. The Eoin Morgan-led side had just thrashed Afghanistan and Bangladesh in their previous two games, and expectations were that similar miseries will befall upon Sri Lanka. After being asked to bat first, the Dimuth Karunaratne-led side put a total of 233 runs for England to chase, which seemed like an easy task. Then Lasith Malinga worked a miracle. The right-arm seamer dismissed Jonny Bairstow for a duck ans then also got the big wickets of James Vince and skipper Joe Root. When Malinga trapped Jos Buttler, the momentum completely shifted. Ending with figures of 43/4 in 10 overs, Malinga helped his side to a thrilling 20-run win. Overall, the fast bowler picked 13 wickets in 7 games at an average of 28.69. But the winning performance against England was one of the many highlights of Malinga’s career.