This was the World Cup everybody hoped for after the debacle in 2007. With India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka reaching the last four, and an Indian victory, the ICC could not have asked for a better script. This World Cup will also be remembered for a dream of a billion people getting fulfilled, and Sachin Tendulkar getting this one final jewel in his bag of crowns, which was no secret. India won the World Cup after 28 years, putting Dhoni right among the top when it comes to captaincy greats.
This World Cup will also be known for some extraordinary and unexpected performances from few players, like how Pakistan rallied behind Shahid Afridi the bowler to surprise many and reaching the semis, or how Yuvraj marked his comeback with superb all round performance which won him four man of match and the man of the series award. It was also marked by the clear end of Australian dominance in ODI cricket. England proved the most entertaining team of the tournament, losing to Ireland and then winning against South Africa, who in-fact, did a deja-vu by confirming their ‘chokers’ tag by losing to New Zealand in the quarters.
How my predictions fared?
I predicted India and Australia as favorites before the World Cup and India took home the trophy. However, my other predictions were not upto the mark and you can see below how they fared –
- Most sixes in single over – I predicted two overs where all balls will be hit for sixes but this World Cup did not produce even a single such over.
- Most sixes in an innings by a team – New Zealand hit 13 sixes in the game against Pakistan while I predicted 25.. Did the bowlers bowl too well?
- Most sixes in an innings by a player – Ross Taylor hit 7 sixes in the above said game, while I predicted 10.
- Most sixes by a player in tournament – Ross Taylor hit 14 sixes, the highest in the tournament while my prediction stood at 25
- Fastest Fifty – 23 balls by Kieron Pollard v Netherlands, very close to my prediction of 20 balls
- Fastest Century – 50 balls by Kevin O Brien of Ireland v England. This was one hell of a knock which shook England and bettered my prediction of 65 balls.
- Highest total – 370/4 by India in the first match against Bangladesh was the highest total, and no team managing to get more than 400 as I predicted. The associate teams seems to have improved.
- Highest Individual Score – 175 by Sehwag, again in the first game itself and the 200* by God still remain the highest score in an ODI.
- Hat Tricks – Here I was right on the target with Lasith Malinga and Kemar Roach providing the two instances of hat-tricks in this world cup.
- Most Wickets – Afridi and Zaheer Khan took 21 wickets each while I predicted 22-25 wickets. Afridi came from no-where and proved to be the best and most intelligent bowler on the subcontinent pitches.
- Most Runs – Dilshan emerged the top scored with 500 runs with Sachin following behind with 482 runs. My prediction of 650 runs was way off the mark here.
- Strike Rates with runs over 300 – Again as I predicted, Sehwag made 380 runs at a strike rate of 122 to emerge the player with the highest strike rate with more than 300 runs.
Other notable stats
Apart from the above predictions, there were some other important statistics which need a mention. They are :-
- Highest run rate in any World Cup – This World Cup saw the average run rate of 5.03, which was the first time it has crossed 5 in all World Cup history.
- Highest number of centuries – This World Cup saw 24 centuries which was the highest ever in any World Cup, surpassing the 21 in the 2003 World Cup.
- Yuvraj Singh scored 362 runs and took 15 wickets, grabbing four man of the match awards, only the third player after Arvinda De Silva and Lance Klusener to do so. He was only the fourth player and second Indian after Kapil Dev to achieve the doulbe of 300 runs and ten wickets in a single WC.
Overall, it was a world cup where spinners came into their own. They opened the bowling attacks quite regularly with every team, and also featured among the major wicket takers. All that can attributed to the slow pitches of the subcontinent aided by the fact that this was the end of a season. Pakistan and South Africa were the best bowling units in the World Cup, and India and Sri Lanka the best batting units. In the end, it was cricket that won and that is what matters.