New Delhi [India], October 1 (ANI): The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 India is just a few days away, with cricket fans anticipating some high-quality cricket from some of the best teams, and players in the game. Besides the on-field action and glamour attached to some of the top players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Babar Azam, Ben Stokes etc, another thing that will keep fans fascinated throughout the tournament is statistics.
These statistics are a product of on-field performances. With every match, fans and players themselves will have their eyes on certain statistical milestones. Finishing among the top run-scorers and wicket-takers and having an all-time great campaign that contributes to a team's World Cup victory is a dream for every player. While some players are able to lead from the front with their performances, some are left all alone, fighting a lone battle for their team. Despite the highly result-oriented nature of the sport, players left fighting for trophies by themselves are still well appreciated and lack of trophies does not lead to denial of their greatness.
Throughout the history of the cricket's marquee tournament, players have been on both sides, either delivering rich contributions for a World Cup-winning side or being just one of the few bright spots in an otherwise weak campaign for their team. Let us look at some of the best World Cup campaigns by players:1).Sachin Tendulkar (673 runs, 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup)The legendary Indian batter holds the record for scoring the most runs during a single World Cup edition. In 2003, the Master Blaster scored 673 runs in 11 matches at an average of 61.18 and a strike rate of above 89. In 11 innings, he scored a century and six fifties, with the best score of 152. His knock of 98 in 75 balls against arch-rivals Pakistan is considered as one of the most iconic knocks by an Indian in tournament history.
2).Yuvraj Singh (362 runs and 15 wickets, 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup)Determination. Courage. Resilience. Heroic. Words will fall short of describing Yuvraj's 2011 World Cup campaign. The left-handed batter and part-time spinner perhaps had the best campaign by a World Cup-winning player, despite battling cancer unknowingly, feeling unwell before many matches. Coughing and throwing up on the cricket pitch did not steer his focus away even once. In nine matches and eight innings, Yuvraj scored 362 runs at an average of over 90 and a strike rate of over 86. He scored one century and four fifties, with the best score of 113. He also took 15 wickets with the best figures of 5/31. He finished as the eighth-highest run-scorer and sixth-highest wicket-taker in the tournament. His performance against West Indies, a century and two wickets for 18 is one of the best all-round performances in WC history.
3).Mitchell Starc (27 wickets, 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup)In 2019, Australian pacer Mitchell Starc was breathing fire on the pitch. His scary left-arm pace, swing and toe-crushing yorkers were a fear factor for batters. In 10 matches, he went on to take 27 wickets, a record for most wickets in a single edition of the World Cup. These wickets came at an average of 18.59, with the best bowling figures of 5/26 against New Zealand. His yorkers deceived the batters' limbs, crashing into the stumps and at times, leaving batters cowering for cover.
4).Rohit Sharma (648 runs, 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup)The 'Hitman' of Indian batting was in his prime during the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales. The right-hander went on an unprecedented run, topping the run charts with 648 runs in nine matches at an average of 81.00 and a strike rate of 98.33. He scored five centuries and one fifty in the tournament, including a knock of 140 against arch-rivals Pakistan, which is considered as one of the finest knocks in WC history. Rohit became the only batter ever to smash five centuries in a single World Cup. But despite that, he could not win a World Cup for India.
5).Shakib Al Hasan (606 runs, 11 wickets, 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup)Bangladesh has not had the greatest track record at 50-over World Cups, qualifying for the quarterfinals in 2015. After this, the second biggest success story of Bangladesh's World Cup history is their veteran all-rounder Shakib al Hasan's performance in the 2019 World Cup. He delivered perhaps the best performance by an all-rounder in the tournament's history. He emerged as the third-highest run-scorer in the tournament, giving competition to top batters like Rohit Sharma, David Warner and Kane Williamson, scoring 606 runs in eight matches at an average of 86.57 and a strike rate of over 96. He scored two centuries and five fifties, with the best score of 124. To top it off, he also took 11 wickets, with the best figures of 5/29 against Afghanistan, scoring a fifty in the same match.
6).Roger Binny (18 wickets, 1983 World Cup)Roger Binny's run in the 1983 World Cup could look extremely ordinary with the progress the game and bowlers have made since then. But for that time, when West Indies, England and Australia were the superpowers of cricket, it did more than enough to bring a shift in the power centre of the game by helping India, the underdogs, secure their first-ever WC. He ended as the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 18 in eight matches with the best figures of 4/29 that demolished Australians in the group stage. He also contributed 73 runs down the order, providing some valuable lower-order cameos and holding the crease at the other end for key batters to play their natural game.
7).Matthew Hayden (659 runs, 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup)The legendary left-hander was absolutely impeccable with the bat, helping Australia capture hat-tricks of World Cup titles. In 11 matches, he scored 659 runs at an average of 73.22 at a destructive strike rate of over 101. He scored three centuries and a fifty in 10 innings, with the best score of 158 against hosts West Indies. The 'Walking Demon', known to step down the crease and smash sixes against the most fearsome bowlers in the game, fell just 15 runs short of breaking Sachin's WC record, but the trophy more than made up for it.
8).Shane Warne (20 wickets, 1999 ICC Cricket World Cup)This is perhaps the best-ever World Cup campaign by a spinner. In Australia's winning World Cup campaign in Europe that started their historic run of WC hat-tricks, Warne took 20 wickets in 10 matches, topping the wicket-taking charts. He had an average of 16.25 and the best bowling figures of 4/37 against South Africa in the semis that dismantled the fearsome Proteas top-order consisting of Gary Kirsten, Herschelle Gibbs, Daryl Cullinan and Jacques Kallis, the players he removed during his spell.
9).Lance Klusner (281 runs and 17 runs, 1999 ICC Cricket World Cup)This is the most iconic performance by a South African player in World Cup history. The all-rounder, known for being a hard-hitter with the bat, effective with the ball and being a gun fielder, was at his absolute best during the 1999 WC. He scored 281 runs in nine matches at an average of 140.50, with two half-centuries and best score of 52. His ability to provide hard-hitting knocks and up the run rate proved to be helpful in taking SA to semis. With the ball also, he took 17 wickets with the best figures of 5/21, ending as the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the tournament.10).Kumar Sangakkara: 541 runs (2015)In Sri Lanka's quarterfinal run during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Sangakkara was an absolute warrior for the Lankan Lions, never failing to leave an impact with the bat. In seven matches, Sangakkara made 541 runs at an average of 108.20 and a strike rate of 105.87, something which is still unbelievable to this day despite a more attack-oriented approach to batting these days. He smashed four successive centuries, becoming the only player to do so in World Cup history. He finished as the second-highest run-getter in the tournament, falling short of Martin Guptill (New Zealand) tally of 547 runs.
Honorable mention: Glenn McGrath (26 wickets, 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup)Glenn Mcgrath's final World Cup campaign was a memorable one. He walked away from the ODI cricket with the trophy, the top position in wicket-taking charts and a world record to his name. In 11 matches, McGrath took 26 wickets at an average of 13.73 and best bowling figures of 3/14.
All pictures from ICC/cricket.com.au. (ANI)