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10 Reasons To Remember The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

March 30, 2015

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We have talked a lot about how the things went last time. For the first time we had a final of the hosts, one of them had been winning matches at their home soil while the other knocked the defending champions out of the tournament and eventually went on to lift the trophy. As the blackcaps were through to the final and the India-Australia match was round the corner, all these stats were being thrown. But what probably went unnoticed is how the Aussies played the finals since they were beaten in 1996. Whether against Pakistan in 1999, India in 2003 or Sri Lanka in 2007, they have always been smart enough to save their best for the last match. If the earlier things were the indication for the repetition of the history, today we got the confirmation as the Aussies once again blew their opponent away in a one sided world cup final.

The final itself reflected the story of the most number of matches of this tournament. This has not been the most thrilling world cup by any means. But if not so, yet it should be remembered as one of the most significant world cups in the history of the game. Many a few points I find while considering this one ahead of many others.

  1. Associate nations’ performance: If you are a follower of my blog then this point may bore you a little bit. But frankly speaking, I can’t stop myself from backing up the associates. We have seen some inspired performances from them. I found myself at the edge of my seat in almost every occasion when the two associate nations played against each other. Even though in the next world cup their inclusion is under the carpet, but I must say, they have played their part well. If they are excluded from the next edition of the tournament I won’t appreciate this as a wise decision from the ICC.
  2. Right teams at the right place: We inarguably had the best 8 teams competing at the knockout stage, with the better of each pair of competitors going into the semis. The hosts I felt to be the most deserving to compete for the last shot at the title where Australia were the better team from the first ball of the match and hence the champions.
  3. A tournament full of runs: Runs have flown everywhere in this tournament with an average of more than 500 runs and 10 sixes per match. The game itself has changed a lot in the last 4 years. Last time in India we saw that if the team batting first put 300 on the board, it was often well above par. This time with the amount of runs scored, it was really difficult to decide what could actually be a par score. Records always looked like tumbling here. The world cup saw its first ever double centurion in form of Chris Gayle, while weeks later Guptil went on to break that record with a comfortable margin. It just goes to show how flat the pitches had been.
  1. Goodbye to some of the legends: It’s time to say goodbye to many a few legends of the ODI cricket as this tournament comes to an end. The whole world will miss the classic duo of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. The latter of the two of course had his finest world cup ever with the bat setting a record of back to back four hundreds in an ICC world cup which will be as hard as ever to break under any circumstances. One of the greatest entertainers in the limited over format and one of the greatest I have seen when it comes to commitment – Shahid Afridi and Misbah-ul-Haq respectively, will no longer be seen to take part for the men in green in ODIs. Daniel Vettori too had a great last tournament with some wonderful memories. But nobody can ask for a better farewell than Michael Clarke’s. With more than 70% win ratio and now a world cup, he will surely be remembered as Australia’s one of the greatest ODI captains ever. Finally the last, but not the least; Brendan Taylor is not someone whom one may list as a legend, but the way he played in his final tournament including the final match definitely has put him in the same seat along with the retiring legends.
  1. About the crowd: The fans have been fantastic throughout the tournament. The final of course witnessed an all time record attendance during a cricket match. Apart from that New Zealand in particular saw a great amount of crowd at their home while Team India were not far behind as well. People turned up in numbers to support the defending champions, and it was amazing to see how the Aussie fans were outnumbered by the Indian fans during the biggest match of the tournament.
  1. Emerging players: Players from different countries showed their skills in their first ever world cup. All of them might not have been the freshest of faces, but their performance in the biggest stage has been way above their age. We saw Steve Smith hitting five consecutive half centuries. Maxwell and Corey Anderson delivered their all-round performances. Shami led the bowling attack of his team remarkably well and that too in a consistent basis. Although Starc had the last laugh as he got the highest number of wickets, but overall there was hardly anything that could separate him and Trent Boult.
  1. Man of the tournament: It’s great to see that in a tournament where most of the bowlers have been disappeared all over the park a fast bowler claiming 22 wickets at an economy of under 4. Mitchel Starc bowled some furious spells and rightly adjudged the player of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. His lethal Yorkers remind me those of top-form Lasith Malinga. Many of you may agree that the way he came in and knocked over McCullum’s sticks in the very first over of the big final had a lot to do with the victory of Australia.
  1. The defending champions: The men in blue may not have been able to win the trophy, but definitely won the heart of billions of cricket fans around the globe. Team India were not even considered to be one of the top three contenders just before the tournament. But as the tournament took off, so did their performance graph. They won 7 in a row and at that time were looking as good a side as anyone will get to see. India is nevertheless a big country with a massive amount of expectation which I thought was well dealt by MS Dhoni and Co. So many people will keep saying so many things once they lose a match, but at the end of the day they should have their heads held high thinking that they lost to the champion team, something that they should never be ashamed of.
  1. The runners up: New Zealand on the whole played some refreshing cricket. This has been their best world cup performance so far. They won all the matches before their dream run finally came to an end against the Aussies. Someone has to win and someone has to lose and at the end of the day it’s only one team who wins the tournament and the rest have to lose sooner or later. So it’s all about to give your best till you are given the opportunity to do so. They made the most of the opportunities they had and promise many more in the days to come.
  1. The champions: A team can’t always be accredited for its past achievements. This Australian team knows this very well and they have the hunger for victory. Every team has to go under a transition phase from where it takes a lot of rebuilding work. That’s what Michael Clarke has done so well with this team. He knew how does it feel to be a champion and he really inspired his fresh set of players, made them hungry for the championship. That’s why even after winning four world cups the Aussies were equally hungry for the fifer which they have now. They have been the best team by far in the history of ODIs. Remember that they have had some ideal model teams in the past too. They have contributed a lot towards the game. The introduction of the concepts like finisher and a batsman wicketkeeper (old concept was to have a wicketkeeper who can bat, rather than a genuine batsman who can keep wickets) have changed the game completely. The other teams always had something or other to learn from the Aussies for their betterment. As a result we have had some great players casting such roles coming into this game which in turn lifted the level of competition between the teams. I am pretty sure about the fact that this time too there won’t be any exception. As the more players keep coming from different parts of the world, we should be able to see a more entertaining, thrilling and fascinating world cup four years later. Till then the championship will remain in the safe custody of the Baggy Greens.

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