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Surprise performers of the World Cup


Surprise_performers_World_Cup_ODI_Cricket_2019After six weeks of intense action, the World Cup 2019 ended with a nail-biter, where England edged out New Zealand on boundary count. As is the case in every edition of the quadrennial event, some players impress with their consistency and temperament, while a few others are unable to bring out their best on the big stage.

Others overshadow the big names and emerge as the surprise performers of the competition. Here is a list of a few surprise packages from the recently concluded world Cup.

Liam Plunkett - England

Plunkett was playing in his second World Cup and he emerged as a consistent wicket-taker with the old ball in the middle overs. On good batting tracks, Plunkett impressed with his ability to use the cross seam on the old ball, which got him plenty of wickets.

The seamer played seven games in the edition and England won all of those seven games. This highlights the impact that he had. He scalped 11 wickets in the tournament, including the dismissals of Hashim Amla, Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle.

In the final, he played a huge role in stalling the run flow in the middle overs against New Zealand. He was the underrated match-winner as he walked away with three wickets. Plunkett also got the crucial wicket of Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson with a cross seamed delivery that deviated to catch his outside edge. This wicket helped New Zealand get restricted to less than 245.

Rassie van der Dussen - South Africa

The only silver lining in South Africa’s World Cup campaign was the emergence of Rassie van der Dussen as a reliable bet in the middle order. After the retirement of AB de Villiers, the South Africans were struggling to find a solid middle order player who could steady the ship after an early loss of wickets. In van der Dussen, they have found a player who not only can play patient knocks under pressure, but can also stay till the end and pile on as many runs as possible.

His calmness and mature batting were on fine display during various games. On a slow track against New Zealand, the batsman hit an important 64 off 67 balls, which helped his team to a competitive total, while his 95 off 97 balls against the Aussies displayed his skills. Ripping apart a world class bowling unit, van der Dussen impressed with his technique and his temperament. He eventually finished with 311 runs from six innings, including three fifties.

Alex Carey - Australia

Before the World Cup, it was hardly expected that Australia’s Alex Carey would rise to the occasion and be one of the keepers to watch out for. He proved himself by playing some crucial knocks, and had an instrumental role in his team’s progress to the semis.

Against West Indies in the league stage, when the Aussies were reeling at 79 for 5, Carey accompanied Steven Smith and laid the foundation for Nathan Coulter-Nile to take the total past 280. Carey showed his skills in the semi-final against England as well, where he was promoted to bat at five after his team had lost early wickets. He was hit on the chin by a nasty bouncer from Jofra Archer, but he continued batting and kept his composure to make a fine 46. He ended the World Cup with 375 runs in nine games at an average of just over 62. He was part of the team of the World Cup that was announced by ICC.

Lockie Ferguson - New Zealand

The Kiwi bowler had a below-par IPL season with KKR, but turned up the heat in the 2019 Cricket World Cup. He ended with 21 wickets in nine games and was one of the top pace bowlers. After bowling fuller balls in the IPL, Ferguson changed his lengths in the World Cup, bowling shorter and surprising the rivals with the quick bouncer. He varied his lengths perfectly as well, following up the back of a length deliveries with the fuller ones aimed at the stumps.

The fact that he outshone Trent Boult, who has long been considered the premier bowler in the Black Caps side, shows the kind of tournament that he had.

KL Rahul - India

After the injury to Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul was entrusted with the role of opening the innings. Though he has played at the top before, his weaknesses against the swinging ball meant that there was always doubt about him as an opener. However, in the absence of the left-hander, Rahul opened alongside Rohit Sharma, and pitched in with handy contributions throughout.

In his very first game at the top of the order, he struck 57 against Pakistan, which was followed by handy knocks of 30 and 48 against Afghanistan and West Indies, respectively. He managed 77 against Bangladesh and then a hundred against Sri Lanka. His knocks were instrumental in giving his team a solid start consistently at the top. By taking the pressure off Rohit, Rahul played his role to perfection as India ended the league stage as the number one side.

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