ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 (League Stage) – in a nutshell

After an exciting league stage (Courtesy Sri Lanka) of 45 (read 41) matches played between 10 teams over five weeks, four – India, Australia, New Zealand and hosts England remain. All of them stand two wins away from lifting the prestigious Cricket World Cup at Lord’s, the Home of Cricket, on the fourteenth day of July 2019. Sorry, but you can’t blame me for the first sentence being loaded with numbers when the sport itself is all about the stats.

Oh! Before I forget, it is the twelfth edition of this tournament and the fifth time that England is hosting it. Previous occasions were the 60-overs-a-side competitions of 1975, 1979 and 1983 and the one held in 1999 based on the modern 50-overs format. Okay, enough with the numbers. http://alleysport.com

When it rains, it’s summer!

It has been a typical British ‘Summer’. Rain forecast for every other match, interruptions every now and then with some games totally washed out. Valuable points were lost and the race for semifinals got even more interesting. If only the seasons in UK were not this messed up.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 (League Stage) – in a nutshell 1

South Africa lost the plot

The modern-day standards of Fielding are such that it was hardly a surprise to see the likes of Ben Stokes, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Woakes and many others take the so-called ‘blinders’ . But what still made them look other-worldly was the equally ordinary effort put in the field by Pakistan and Afghanistan. The bizarre and actually quite disturbing part though was watching the Proteas spilling all those catches which they are supposed to take single-handedly with one eye closed. https://alleysport.com/2019/07/07/cricket-world-cup-2019-semi-finals-preview/

Bring on the toe-crushers!

Yorker – an anomaly in modern day cricket, came to life at this World Cup. And boy, did it come well. Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell Starc, Trent Boult, Mohammed Shami and the lad who began it all – Lasith Malinga, perfectly executed this dying art of bowling at the base of the stumps and were aptly rewarded with two of those clinching hat-tricks. Guess which two?

Smack-ed that…..out of the park!

Some of the batting displays in this world cup have been absolutely disrespectful. Eoin Morgan dismantling the poor Afghans, Rohit Sharma making hundreds for fun, Shakib Al Hasan showing tremendous consistency and David Warner covering up for the amount of cricket he had to miss because of the ‘Sandgate‘ scandal. It has been carnage all around. Still, the bowlers have been able to pull things back in the last ten overs in most of the games just shows that overall, the things have been quite balanced.

We’ve seen this before!

What’s a world cup without – South Africa choking when it matters. West Indies entertaining but having nothing to show in reality. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka causing the occasional upsets, New Zealand making it to another semi-final. Australia and India displaying sheer professionalism and Pakistan……..well, being Pakistan. A special mention for Afghanistan who did make things tough for their Asian counterparts.

Can England do it?

PS– England making it to the semis after 27 years is great for the nation who invented the sport but never ruled the world. It’s just that both of their men’s and women’s football teams also made it to the semi-finals of their respective world cups in 2018 and 2019. Their men’s team also made it to the semifinals of the UEFA Nations League. But what happened afterward is something that their cricket team will surely not want to emulate.