England: Mission 2019 accomplished
Jofra Archer was not part of the provisional World Cup squad but he bowled the Super Over that won England its maiden World Cup. Eoin Morgan and co. recovered from a slump towards the end of the league stage with back-to-back wins against India and New Zealand to qualify for the semis.
It beat defending champion Australia by eight wickets in the last-four before prevailing in the unprecedented Super Over in the final to lift the trophy at the Home of Cricket (Lord’s).
New Zealand: Denied the trophy on boundary count
Kane Williamson and co. couldn’t have done much more in the Lord’s final against England, but the trophy eluded it because the side had hit lesser boundaries (17) than the eventual winner (26). Captain Williamson described the loss as “devastating” and his England counterpart, Eoin Morgan, offered commiserations.
India: ‘45 minutes of bad cricket’
Virat Kohli attributed India’s exit from the World Cup to the poor start to the run-chase against New Zealand in the semifinal. It was reduced to 5 for three in the fourth over and it wasn’t long before India was four down for 25 with the dismissal of Dinesh Karthik, who walked in at No. 5, ahead of M. S. Dhoni.
Rohit Sharma (648 runs) and Jasprit Bumrah (18 wickets) were the standout players for India.
Australia: One top order failure too many
Alex Carey played 'back-to-the-wall' knocks against West Indies and New Zealand during the league stage to bail out Australia after the top order had been dismissed cheaply.
Steve Smith and Carey, who produced a brave effort with the bat in the semifinal, after taking a blow to the chin, couldn’t take Australia to a total that might have put England under pressure.
Pakistan: Poor start ultimately proves fatal
Pakistan won four matches in a row to conclude its World Cup campaign but the damage was done upfront, when it could manage only a win in five matches (including a washout against Sri Lanka).
Mohammad Amir (17 wickets), Shaheen Shah Afridi (16 wickets) and Babar Azam (474 runs) were Pakistan’s standout players in a somewhat disappointing campaign.
Sri Lanka: Neither here nor there
Sri Lanka came into the World Cup as the most unsettled side and it began the tournament with a thrashing at the hands of New Zealand.
But through the tournament Sri Lanka beat the likes of Afghanistan, West Indies and favourite England to keep itself in the hunt for a semifinal berth. However, the team couldn’t make it through mainly because it had no consistent match winners.
Avishka Fernando became the third-youngest Sri Lankan to score a World Cup century, but Sri Lanka ended the tournament as a work in progress.
South Africa: Thin on resources
The Proteas began the tournament as only an outsider to qualify for the semifinals, but its shortcomings became apparent with every passing match.
Losing Dale Steyn to a shoulder injury was a big blow and with the other bowling spearhead Kagiso Rabada not at his best, South Africa’s bowling attack lacked the firepower to trouble batting powerhouses like England and India.
Despite these weaknesses, three wins in eight completed matches was unimaginable before the tournament.
Bangladesh: Bowlers fail to complement batsmen
Bangladesh came into the tournament with the confidence of having won a tri-nation tournament in Ireland and translated it into a 21-run win over South Africa in its opening game.
However, Mashrafe Mortaza and Co. managed only two more wins in tournament and those came against teams which finished below it in the points table (West Indies and Afghanistan). In its eight games, Bangladesh conceded six 300-plus totals and its bowlers undid all the good work done by its batsmen.
Shakib Al Hasan's almost superhuman effort to score 606 runs and take 11 wickets was the standout feature of a largely disappointing World Cup for Bangladesh.
West Indies: Series of missed opportunities
Many considered the 'Men in Maroon' as the dark horses in this edition of the World Cup. And it initially justified that tag as the side thumped Pakistan in its first game.
In the next game against Australia, West Indies took early wickets but let it slip as Nathan Coulter-Nile scored a 60-ball 92 to hand the Windies a 15-run defeat.
Afghanistan: Lacking the cutting edge
Many backed Afghanistan to upset a few of the top sides at this year’s World Cup but it ended the tournament bottom of the table having lost each of its nine matches.
It came close to beating Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan, but the pressure of the crunch moments got the better of it.
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