India's coach Rahul Dravid (in orange) stands along with his team players at the end of the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup one-day international final match between India and Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on November 19, 2023. Image: Punit Paranjpe/ AFP
A 46-day cricketing extravaganza came to an end in Ahmedabad on Sunday with Australia lifting their sixth ODI (one-day international) World Cup. The 10-team event hosted by India witnessed some extraordinary performances—many records were broken, and several milestones achieved during the tournament.
Fans in huge numbers thronged to almost every venue, making it an exciting World Cup at a time when there are questions about the survival of ODI cricket. It helped that India had a brilliant performance with 10 victories on the trot going into the final.
From the highest run-getter to the top wicket-taker, Indians led from the front till Australia beat them in the final. We look at players who stood out from the rest in the tournament.
1. Rohit Sharma (India) – Captain
The Indian skipper defined what ‘leading from the front’ means during the World Cup. He took the toughest job of getting his team off to a good start in every game. It meant that the rest of the batters had no pressure of the scoring rate—a primary reason why India out-batted most of the teams. Sharma finished as the second-highest run-getter in the tournament with 597 runs in 11 matches at a staggering strike rate of 125.94, the highest for any opener in the tournament. His captaincy was also on point. He ensured the team was in the right spirits and took many strategically correct decisions.
2. Quinton de Kock (South Africa) – Wicketkeeper
Playing his last ODI World Cup, the South African wicketkeeper was exceptional both in front and behind the stumps. He hit four hundreds—the most in the tournament—playing a vital role in leading South Africa to the semi-finals. De Kock also didn’t miss much with the gloves. He had the most dismissals for a wicketkeeper apart from scoring 594 runs with the bat.
3. Virat Kohli (India)
The modern-day batting maestro had yet another dream ICC event. With 765 runs under his belt, Virat Kohli finished as the highest run-getter of the tournament. He scored three hundreds and six fifties in 11 matches, winning the prestigious Player of the World Cup award. Kohli was given the role of steadying the ship in the middle overs and he did it brilliantly. He also won India a couple of games while chasing.
4. Daryl Mitchell (New Zealand)
The New Zealand batter played one of the best knocks in a losing cause in the semi-final against India in Mumbai. He played his natural aggressive game throughout the tournament, irrespective of the conditions. Most of the time when he came out to bat, New Zealand was either in trouble or needed quick run-scoring, and he didn’t disappoint. The right-hander made 552 runs in 10 matches at a strike rate of 111.
5. Rachin Ravindra (New Zealand)
Although Rachin Ravindra opened the innings for New Zealand, it was hard to leave him out of the team of the tournament. The 24-year-old was the find of the World Cup, scoring 578 runs in 10 matches. For a youngster playing his first World Cup, striking with a fearless approach was something that not many would have expected. But he didn’t let pressure get the better of him at any point. Rachin also picked up a few wickets with his left-arm spin bowling.
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6. Glenn Maxwell (Australia)
Although Glenn Maxwell missed a few games for Australia in the tournament, he was the one who sparked their spirits with one of the most marvellous innings ever played in cricket history against Afghanistan. The all-rounder not only brought his batting powers to the fore, but also played the role of a second spinner for Australia. He scored 400 runs and picked up six wickets with the ball in nine matches.
7. Azmatullah Omarzai (Afghanistan)
This inclusion might surprise many, but the way Azmatuallah Omarzai contributed for Afghanistan, who had a dream World Cup, with both bat and ball deserves a mention. Pace-bowling all-rounders are a rarity in the game and Omarzai was exceptional. He gave Afghanistan the freedom of playing an extra spinner without tinkering the balance. The 23-year-old scored 353 runs and scalped seven wickets in nine matches.
8. Ravindra Jadeja (India)
Ravindra Jadeja was at his best again. He bowled tight spells, not giving anything to the batters. The left-arm spinner played a major role for India in the middle overs. He restricted run-scoring and grabbed wickets at regular intervals. Jadeja took 16 wickets at an economy of 4.25. He also contributed with the bat in a couple of matches.
9. Adam Zampa (Australia)
Adam Zampa, the second-highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 23 wickets, was key to Australia’s success with the ball. The leg-spinner has a great record in the sub-continent and he continued his good form in India. His ability to strike whenever his team needed it sets him apart from the other spinners and he delivered big time for Australia.
10. Mohammed Shami (India)
Mohammed Shami came close to winning the Player of the World Cup award—such was his brilliance with the ball. He was benched for the first four matches of the tournament, but he came like a storm with his fierce bowling, taking away a bunch of wickets in almost every match. The right-arm pacer took 24 wickets in seven matches, including three five-wicket-hauls, to finish as the highest wicket-taker in the World Cup.
11. Jasprit Bumrah (India)
His name might feature at the end of this team, but Jasprit Bumrah was the key to India's almost-impeccable performance in the World Cup. Coming off from a long injury, Bumrah looked unplayable, especially in the powerplays. He swung the ball big time, bowling those tight lines and lengths to ensure India got early breakthroughs in each match.
Honourable Mentions: Dilshan Madushanka (Sri Lanka), David Warner (Australia), Gerald Coetzee (South Africa), Shreyas Iyer (India), KL Rahul (India)