The group stage of the cricket World Cup is now officially in the books.
After 42 matches, there is a reasonable amount of “data” to analyse when handing out gongs for the best and worst performances in the tournament, but from a slightly left-field perspective:
The Virender Sehwag Award for bowler-bullying: Glenn Maxwell, Australia
35 tons have been scored during the tournament so far. Only six were managed in the entirety of 1975’s inaugural competition, highlighting just how much of a batters paradise this World Cup has been.
Of the 28 men to raise their bat aloft in celebration of reaching three figures, nobody has bludgeoned the ball quite as much as Maxwell.
His 102 against Sri Lanka came off just 51 balls and he’s scored his 257 tournament runs at a clip of 190.37 per 100 deliveries faced.
It’s unclear whether Charles Dickens’ non-fictional Christmas hater was a cricket fan; but with bat belittling ball so consistently even old Ebenezer could send a nod of approval Vettori’s way.
As a spinner in a tournament that sees sixes hit with the regularity of a Jeremy Clarkson blunder, the Kiwi left-armer has conceded just 3.21 runs per over during the group phase. That’s comfortably the best mark of anyone to have sent down at least 20 overs.
Chasing back towards the boundary from mid-on to take a fine diving catch, the Protea quick’s momentum left him with his face buried deep into the turf.
But he had just taken one of the tournament’s best catches, so he couldn’t let a celebration pass him by. He chose to do what anyone would in that situation: imitated a bird in flight….sort of:
The Graeme Smith sponsored Award for dignified leadership: Jason Holder, West Indies
Before he was named ODI captain at the age of 23, Jason Holder had played just 21 matches in the format.
There was talk that the big names in the West Indies dressing room didn’t fancy being led by a young pup.
If they didn’t, they should now.
The stringy all-rounder has led from the front with impressive composure thus far, scoring either a half century or taking at least three wickets in each of the last four outings.
During the Irish pursuit of the UAE’s 278 Ed Joyce was bowled by Amjad Javed. At least he would have done had the bail, flashing as it rose up out of the stump’s groove, didn’t drop straight back down and nestle in its natural habitat:
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