Sportstar picks its Team of the Tournament for the 2023 World Cup, which witnessed established stars furthering their legacy and budding prospects making their mark over the past one and a half months.
1. Rohit Sharma (captain)
Leading from the front and by example, the Indian skipper’s aggressive intent right from the outset didn’t result in him topping the run charts but paved the way for his team’s dominating performances with the bat. His strike rate in the PowerPlay—a whopping 135.01 and the highest for a batter with a minimum of 150 runs during this phase of the tournament—underlined Rohit’s fearless approach. His average of 88.50 in the first 10 overs meant his flamboyance didn’t come at the cost of consistency, and he almost always set a solid launchpad for the middle order.
M: 11; Runs: 597; Ave: 54.27; Strike Rate: 125.94; Highest: 131; 100s/50s: 1/3
2. Rachin Ravindra
The precocious left-hander tamed attacks and toppled records, all the while marrying classical strokeplay with audacious power-hitting. Ravindra had never batted higher than No. 6 in the 12 ODIs he had played before the tournament but scored a sparkling hundred on his World Cup debut against defending champion England at No. 3. His 77-ball hundred against Australia in a high-scoring thriller showcased his ability to accelerate seamlessly, and when asked to open the batting upon Kane Williamson’s return against Pakistan, Ravindra made the spot his own by hammering a third century before breaking the record for the most successful maiden World Cup campaign.
M: 10; Runs: 578; Ave: 64.22; Strike Rate: 106.44; Highest: 123*; 100s/50s: 3/2
3. Virat Kohli
Just when you thought there was little left for the artist to paint on the canvas of his already illustrious ODI career, Kohli, at 35, pulled out the proverbial clean slate to splatter new records and burnish a legacy. The staggering consistency, a hallmark of his journey, went into overdrive as Kohli churned out three centuries and six half-centuries in 11 innings to tally a record 765 runs, going past Indian great Sachin Tendulkar’s haul in a single World Cup. When he reached the solitary peak of 50 tons and bowed to Tendulkar, the coronation of the format’s greatest seemed complete.
M: 11; Runs: 765; Ave: 95.52; Strike Rate: 90.31; Highest: 117; 100s/50s: 3/6
4. Daryl Mitchell
A late bloomer, Mitchell hasn’t allowed the time spent on the sidelines to dim his grit, hunger, or streetfighter spirit. Playing his first World Cup at 32, Mitchell made it count with two hundreds against the rampaging Indians. Those centuries involved rare passages of play when Rohit’s men and Indian fans wrinkled their brows. In Dharamsala, Mitchell blunted Kuldeep Yadav during a 159-run stand with Ravindra and then, with Kane Williamson, laid into the vaunted Indian attack to give the host a mighty scare in the semifinal. His efficient technique and penchant for clean hitting have seen Mitchell evolve as both anchor and aggressor at No. 4.
M: 10; Runs: 552; Ave: 69.00; Strike Rate: 111.06; Highest: 134; 100s/50s: 2/2
5. Heinrich Klaasen (wk)
Klaasen had announced himself as South Africa’s middle-order enforcer in the lead-up to the World Cup with a stunning 83-ball 174 against Australia. He reinforced that notion in the tournament with a blistering hundred against England at Wankhede and followed it up with a 49-ball 90 versus Bangladesh. The insurance that Klaasen brings with his belligerence at No. 5 allowed opener Quinton de Kock, South Africa’s top scorer, to play his natural game and rack up four hundreds. When the Proteas’ methods failed in the semifinal, Klaasen showed his versatility and ability to dominate spin and set up a fighting total.
M: 10; Runs: 373; Ave: 41.44; Strike Rate: 133.21; Highest: 109; 100s/50s: 1/1
6. Glenn Maxwell
Maxwell’s unbeaten double-hundred against Afghanistan—arguably the greatest ODI innings ever—shows why teams, sometimes to the bewilderment of fans, back ability over form. After aggregating 49 runs in four innings at the World Cup, Maxwell battered the Netherlands into submission with a 40-ball century—the fastest in World Cups—before cruelly extinguishing Afghan hopes while suffering excruciating cramps. In the first couple of games, Maxwell seemed to be leading Australia’s spin duties as Adam Zampa took time to find his rhythm. His six wickets at an economy of under-five and strike rate in excess of 150 with the bat underline Maxwell’s all-round value.
M: 9; Runs: 400; Ave: 66.66; Strike Rate: 150.37; Wickets: 6; Econ: 4.81
7. Marco Jansen
A potent threat with the new ball in the PowerPlay and a force with the bat in the late overs, Jansen has added flexibility to a South African lineup that has otherwise relied on specialists. The lanky left-arm pacer has picked up the highest number of wickets in the PowerPlay in the tournament. His 12 scalps in the first 10 overs have come at under six runs an over, and his career-best 42-ball unbeaten 75 took the wraps off an innate talent. Though he tends to leak runs, particularly in the death overs, Jansen’s consistent wicket-taking ability stands out.
M: 9; Wickets: 17; Ave: 26.47; Econ: 6.52; Runs: 142; Strike Rate: 110.56
8. Mitchell Santner
The all-rounder has gone about his craft with an unstated efficiency that has come to define the brand of cricket the Kiwis play. Just like New Zealand tends to fly under the radar, Santner’s 16 wickets in the tournament, more than any other Kiwi, at 4.84 runs an over, may have been eclipsed by the attention the likes of Trent Boult and Matt Henry command. The left-arm spinner’s ability to skillfully vary pace makes him a difficult bowler to score against, even in the death overs, where he goes at less than five runs an over. Santner has also added some handy late-over runs at a brisk rate.
M: 10; Wickets: 16; Ave: 28.06; Econ: 4.84; Runs: 103; Bat Strike Rate: 127.16
9. Adam Zampa
After an underwhelming start to the tournament, Zampa’s uptick in form coincided with Australia’s changing fortunes. The leg-spinner wreaked Sri Lanka’s middle and lower order to claim a four-wicket haul and fashion Australia’s first win, and he picked up 14 wickets in the next four matches, including two back-to-back four-fers, to keep the Aussie juggernaut on course. Zampa equalled Muttiah Muralitharan’s record for most wickets by a spinner in a World Cup, and his middle-overs scalps (17), the most by a bowler in that phase of the tournament, compensated for Australia’s lack of PowerPlay wickets.
M: 11; Wickets: 23; Ave: 22.39; Econ: 5.36; Strike Rate: 25.0; BBI: 4/8
10. Mohammed Shami
Shami sent a warning notice in his very first ball of the tournament by nipping one into Will Young and shattering his stumps. After missing India’s first four matches of the World Cup campaign, Shami set the tournament alight with 24 wickets—the most by an Indian in a World Cup—in just seven games. The 33-year-old, who even overshadowed Jasprit Bumrah in scripting India’s dominating wins, conceded less than six runs an over and picked wickets in all phases of play. His penchant for prising out wickets in the face of threatening partnerships constantly kept viewers on the edge.
M: 7; Wickets: 24; Ave: 10.70; Econ: 5.26; Strike Rate: 12.2; BBI: 7/57
11. Jasprit Bumrah
The inimitability of his action and the awkward length of his deliveries continued to trouble batters around the world as Bumrah ended the tournament as the most economical pacer and also had 20 wickets to show for. Coming off a prolonged injury lay-off, Bumrah showed no sign of rust at the Asia Cup and carried that form into the World Cup. Though his best figures in the tournament came against Afghanistan, his most memorable spells came against Pakistan and England, where some magical deliveries completely turned the match around for India. His scalps of Mitchell Marsh and Steven Smith held the promise of a similar tale unfolding before Travis Head buried those hopes.
M: 11; Wickets: 20; Ave: 18.65; Econ: 4.06; Strike Rate: 27.5; BBI: 4/39
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