The World Cup produced both the best entertainment, as well as disappointments that brought the game into disrepute.
Every World Cup has its negatives and positives, and usually the good outweighs the bad. Setting new records, incredible catches, and stunning early World Cup exits – the 2015 Cricket World Cup left millions glued to their screens. There were many talking points, and trying to cover them all would probably freeze the web.
Many, many, many records were made and broken, each newly set record better than the last. Teams and individual players made sure there was entertainment aplenty.
Two teams posted 400+ scores: Australia and South Africa. Although Australia broke the record set by India in 2007, making 417 the highest total in a World Cup, South Africa were the talk of the town when they scored two consecutive 400+ scores, 408 and 411, against West Indies and Ireland respectively.
New Zealand’s Trent Boult and Tim Southee were the most effective new ball pair, and they were not to be missed. Together, they ripped through any top order and exposed the tail in no time. Not only that, they managed to record the best and third-best bowling figures in the World Cup. So, without a doubt, their ball swinging skills led New Zealand to their maiden World Cup final.
Hats off to Brendon McCullum who led from the front, taking ownership of the team and doing what needed to be done. Home ground advantage was a bonus but as skipper, he came to the party. Batting at the top of the order, he made sure he scored some runs while leaving some for the rest. Against England, he scored the fastest World Cup fifty from 18 balls, which was also the third fastest fifty in One Day Internationals. Now that’s how a skipper leads.
Chris Gayle and Martin Guptill played the innings of their lives when they scored double centuries. Gayle’s 215 and Guptill’s 237 are the only 200+ scores a World Cup has ever seen.
Although Kumar Sangakkara did not score 200 in one innings, he became the first cricketer to score 4 consecutive centuries in a World Cup.
Afghanistan had made it to their maiden World Cup and were able to record at least one victory. Bangladesh’s victory over England landed them in the quarterfinals for the first time in their World Cup history. South Africa also managed to break the voodoo by winning their first knockout match against the mighty Sri Lanka in the quarter finals.
It would be a shame if cricket umpires were expected to have x-ray vision and supersonic hearing. This is why there is the review system, even though some captains don’t know how to use it to their full advantage. There will always be that no ball, that nick or lbw the umpire will get wrong or will miss. It happens, they’re human too. However, umpires are also scrutinised for decisions they do get right. For instance, England’s Chris Jordan was given out for a run out after his bat bumped off the ground when he dived into his crease.
It came as a shock when Brendan Taylor decided to retire at the tender age of 29. Come to think of it, who retires at such a young age?
No use dwelling on that. The best part was Taylor scoring a goodbye century for Zimbabwe.
Sri Lanka bid farewell to two of their most successful cricketers, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Sangakkara scored over 14,000 ODI runs while Jayawardene scored over 12,000. Batting together, they’ve made partnerships of over 13,000 runs. Sri Lanka will never find a pair as majestic as those two. One cannot help but wonder what their retirement will do the Sri Lankan cricket team.
It was not a pretty sight watching Bangladesh thrash England and dump them out of the competition. England’s form has been questionable of late while Bangladesh just keep improving their ball game.
The current World Cup format could be the last of its kind, and I say could be because it changes all the time. The ICC has decided to reduce the number of teams from 14 to 10 for the next World Cup in 2019 to shorten the length of the tournament. This means that some Test playing nations could possibly miss out, while a lot of Associate teams will definitely miss out after those above the 8th ICC ranking will go head to head in a qualifying round. The majority of nations are against this reduction, as it is essentially kicking the associate teams to the curb.
Imagine being sent home in the beginning of your World Cup campaign. Well, Al-Amin Hossain doesn’t have to imagine it, because he lived it. Why? Because he failed to abide by the rules set out by the Bangladesh team. Hossain was sent home after he breached the team curfew. How about that? He just couldn’t keep time.
As if Scotland were not drowning enough, Majid Haq had to post an unsavoury, race related tweet after he was left out of the side that would play Sri Lanka. The result: he was sent packing for breaking Scotland’s code of conduct.
These acts just give cricket a bad name, and behaviour like this should be punished. Many would kill to be in an international side, while others don’t even appreciate the opportunity they have been given.