The much anticipated 2019 World Cup has come and gone and hosts England won their first ever World Cup title. While there weren’t as many tall scores as expected before the tournament, there were multiple individual performances that stole the limelight.
Thus, here we look at the top five knocks of this World Cup.
Ben Stokes 84* vs New Zealand – Final (Lord’s)
Ben Stokes was England’s crisis man in this tournament. The 28-year-old Durham all-rounder stood up every time England were under pressure. In fact, he was the lone warrior for the hosts on a couple of occasions as well.
In the big final, England were chasing 242 but found themselves in trouble at 71/3 when Stokes walked out to bat. That soon turned into 86/4 when Jos Buttler joined him in the middle. The duo shared a brilliant 110-run stand to put England back on track. But when Buttler was dismissed, Stokes had just gone past the 50-run mark. The left-handed batsman had taken 80 balls to get to his fifty. However, once Buttler went, he took over the mantle.
With England needing 46 off the last five overs, Stokes found the boundary regularly. With 22 needed from 10 balls, England’s premier all-rounder got a reprieve as Trent Boult took a catch at long-on but stepped on to the boundary cushions. The equation came down to 15 off the final over and the same from the last four balls. Under pressure, Stokes slog swept Boult for a six before a controversial overthrow resulted in six runs. With three runs required off two balls, Stokes opted to play it safe and the game was tied.
It was Stokes with his unbeaten 84 who took England to this stage. He was once again there when England needed him. In the Super Over, he scored 8 off 3 balls as England got to 15. Thus, he was adjudged the player of the match for his fabulous knock.
Kane Williamson 106* vs South Africa – Match 25 (Edgbaston)
Kane Williamson was New Zealand’s best batsman in this World Cup. No other Kiwi batsman was as consistent as Williamson throughout the tournament. His lowest score in the tournament was 27.
However, his best came against South Africa in what was a must-win game for the Proteas. They got 241 batting first on a tricky pitch at Edgbaston. New Zealand lost an early wicket but skipper Williamson and Martin Guptill rebuilt as they shared a 60-run stand. However, the Kiwis lost three quick wickets and suddenly, the pressure was back on them.
Williamson who had started fluently had to slow down. He had got to a run-a-ball 26 before Guptill got out but reached his half-century off 72 balls. At 137/5, things looked bleak for the Kiwis but Colin de Grandhomme walked in and changed the momentum. He scored 60 while Williamson constantly chipped in and played second fiddle brilliantly. However, once the all-rounder was dismissed, the Kiwi No. 3 guided New Zealand to a thrilling win. With 14 needed off 11 balls, Williamson kept his cool and played very smartly. He got a boundary on the last ball of the penultimate over before killing the contest with a magnificent six in the last over.
Carlos Braithwaite 101 vs New Zealand – Match 29 (Manchester)
This has to be one of the best knocks of this World Cup. Carlos Braithwaite almost single-handedly led the Windies to a memorable win. Kane Williamson’s fantastic 148 and Ross Taylor’s 69 helped New Zealand get to 291 in their fifty overs.
West Indies lost a couple of early wickets but a 122-run stand between Chris Gayle and Shimron Hetmyer put West Indies on track. Both of them scored fifties but Windies suffered a mini-collapse as they slipped from 142/2 to 164/7. That’s when Braithwaite took over. He started slowly but picked up pace as the innings went along. Along with the lower order, he rallied along beautifully.
He constantly lost partners at the other end too but he kept going. He targeted the Kiwi bowlers brilliantly and brought the equation down to 8 off the last two overs (with just one wicket remaining). The Barbados all-rounder brought up his maiden international ton in that over with a couple but didn’t score off the remaining deliveries. With 6 needed off 7 deliveries, Braithwaite decided to go for the big shot and holed out at long-on. He was absolutely distraught as he fell short by a few metres and Windies lost by five runs.
Shakib Al Hasan 124* vs West Indies – Match 23 (Taunton)
There was a lot of talk about how chasing might be the preferred option in this World Cup. However, there was just one score of over 300 that was hunted down in this tournament. And that was by Bangladesh against West Indies.
Half-centuries from Evin Lewis, Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer and a quickfire cameo from Jason Holder helped Windies get to 321/8 in their 50 overs. Chasing a stiff target, Bangladesh did get off to a good start but wobbled a touch in the middle. They were 133/3 at the end of the 19th over.
Shakib who had walked out at No. 3 (at 52/1) got off to a very good start. He had reached 44 off just 33 balls when the third wicket fell. The left-handed all-rounder was striking the ball really well. However, he had to slow down a touch with a couple of quick wickets at the other end.
But once Liton Das started scoring fluently, Shakib picked up pace as well. The duo then put the Windies bowlers under pressure and upped the ante. Shakib found the boundary regularly and reached his ton off 83 balls. It was his second ton on the bounce as he drove Bangladesh to a memorable win with an unbeaten 124.
Rohit Sharma 140 vs Pakistan – Match 22 (Manchester)
Rohit Sharma was the highest run-getter in this World Cup. He scored as many as five hundred in this competition which is the most by any batsman in a single edition of the World Cup.
However, one of his best came against Pakistan. Before this game, he had scores of 122 not out (against South Africa) and 57 (against Australia). However, in this game, India were without their premier opener Shikhar Dhawan who had scored a ton against Australia. With Dhawan injured and KL Rahul pushed up the order (from No. 4) to open the batting, Sharma took it upon himself to up the scoring rate. Generally, Dhawan does that with Sharma taking his time. However, with Rahul taking time to settle, the Indian vice-captain got off to a solid and a fast start. He raced away to 32 off 25 balls before bringing up his half-century of just 34 balls.
He took over Dhawan’s role beautifully. He slowed down a touch but held firm. He didn’t throw it away and made it big. He got to his hundred off 85 balls before ending up with 140 off just 113 deliveries. Sharma was livid with himself when he was dismissed in the 39thover. It was in fact, a perfect chance to make another double. However, that 140 set up the game for India as they thrashed arch-rivals Pakistan by 89 runs (D/L).