Another Worldcup comes to an end and once again Australia are the champions. Their fifth Worldcup and they have done it in five different continents, wherever Worldcup was held. They are world champions in cricket for sure, now why don't they just retire from playing in Worldcup, sigh.
Since my childhood this is the first Worldcup which didn't feature Sachin. Really missed him and looking at the stats I wonder how much he would have scored, who was always at his best when it comes to Worldcup.
As an Indian team fan I'm more surprised than anything else. To be frank I didn't even think they would cross quarterfinals. I expected them to win some four games and will be placed as a 4th team in the pool side and lose to some strong team from Pool A. The reasons are, we are not strong when we play away and also our bowlers failing consistently. The tri-series we played before the Worldcup just proved my points.
After the WeWontGiveItBack and Mauka Mauka campaign, I was wondering whether this will be our first loss in Worldcup against Pak. But, we were fantastic, played like a champion or it may be some jinx which Pak cannot break. Whatever, it was a right game for India to begin the campaign and their first victory in Australia in three months. The second game was against the mighty SA and we played even better confirming we are totally a different team from what we were in the last three months. Winning SA must be one of our highs in this Worldcup.
It was Raina’s innings against Pak and Rahane’s against SA which made all the difference to our total and everyone kept contributing in every match. Then, it was little tough game against Zim, but Raina and Dhoni made sure we win all the Pool games and finish on top. All other games were just a formality. It was an unbelievable achievement to finish on top winning all the games and especially bowling out all the teams. Our bowlers came to party big time, especially our pacers which was really unbelievable. Shami and Yadav were brilliant where Mohit was providing good support. And, the surprise was Ashwin, who usually struggles away from India, but he was brilliant throughout the tournament.
Quarterfinals against Bangladesh was almost one-sided except for few controversial decisions. And, the semifinals against the champions Aussies were forgettable. We played like how we did against them before the Worldcup. Nothing went in our way, we couldn't bowl out our opponent for the first time, let them score more than 300, lost wickets in power play. If only we could have restricted them below 300 by getting out Johnson early and if only Dhawan didn't play that shot, things could have been different. But, it was a good tournament for India, they did surprise me. Dhoni once again proved we won't get a better captain for India to replace him in the ODI.
This Worldcup was mostly dominated by batsmen. Two double centuries and 38 centuries were scored. And, ABDV was hitting all over the park even though he didn't score a double and Sanga was absolutely brilliant, scoring four consecutive centuries. Among the bowlers Starc, man of the tournament, was brilliant along with Boult.
We had a few close encounters, some of them were involving associates. The game of the tournament is the first semifinal between SA and NZ, followed by AUS vs NZ’s league match, which Aus almost snatched the victory from NZ.
Among the associates Ireland were brilliant, Afghanistan were promising. England’s campaign were disastrous, Srilanka and SA’s campaign were disappointing. Pakistan’s campaign were mixed, after losing badly against WI they came back strongly to win against SA. Also, they played well against Aussies in the quarterfinals. Wahab Riaz's spell was brilliant in that game. Bangladesh were lucky. NZ were unlucky to end up as a runner after a wonderful campaign. Aussies were as usual brilliant and made everyone to hate them even more by winning the Worldcup again and again.
This Worldcup also saw few great players bid adieu to this format. Sanga, Mahela, Misbah, Afridi (who can come back again), Vettori and Clarke, among them Clarke had a memorable send off. Winning the Worldcup at home, he couldn't ask more. It was sad ending for Misbah, who couldn't make even one century in this format. And, a very bad last game for the SriLankan greats.
It was a memorable tournament for many reasons even though the result wasn't the one I expected. I just hope Dhoni plays the next Worldcup. Winning it in the Lord's just like Kapildev will be the perfect ending for his wonderful career.