Now that the ICC World Cup has come to an end, here are some of my favourite moments, performances or matches.
- Sehwag starting his first five innings with a first-ball four each time! After his 175 in the first game, I thought someone would score a 200 in the tournament but it wasn’t to be.
- It was wonderful to see how Bangladesh really embraced the tournament as first-time hosts (aside from one incident following their big loss to the West Indies).
- Afridi starting the tournament with 5/16 (vs Kenya), 4/34 (vs Pakistan) and 5/23 (vs Canada). He later took 4/30 against the West Indies. Previously no bowler had taken 4 wickets more than twice in a single World Cup.
- The batting of two of my favourites in Tendulkar and Sangakkara – a joy to watch.
- South Africa’s comeback against India, reducing them from 1/267 to 296 all out in 55 balls! Steyn took 5 wickets in 16 balls. It was to be India’s only loss in the tournament.
- The amazing innings of Ross Taylor vs Pakistan (131* off 124 after being 69 off 108, 92 by NZ in the last four overs!) and Kevin O’Brien vs England (113 off 63 in a successful chase of 327 after being 5/111 in the 25th over)
- All of England’s matches were amazing, losing to Bangladesh and Ireland, but beating South Africa in a low scorer, tying with India in a high scorer (338 each, including 158 by captain Strauss) and then getting out of jail against the West Indies in a must-win situation.
- Malinga’s 6/38 against Kenya, all wickets brilliant yorkers. It included a hat trick too. See video below.
- Yuvraj Singh’s performances in the tournament with bat and ball with four man of the match awards and man of the tournament.
- Ryan ten Doeschate’s two centuries, especially his all-round performance against England. His other century helped Netherlands reach 306 against Ireland in an excellent match between two associate nations. After 33 matches he averages 67 with the bat and 24 with the ball in one day internationals!
- Dilshan and Tharanga’s opening partnerships against Zimbabwe and England of 282 and 231* respectively (the latter in a quarter-final). These were the two highest partnerships in the tournament.
- Zaheer Khan was Mr Consistent, with wicket hauls of 2, 3, 3, 3, 1, 3, 2, 2, 2 in his 9 games.
- Ponting’s 104 in the quarter final and Jayawardene’s 103 in the final (both against India) in losing causes, hugely significant innings for different reasons.
- Jacob Oram seemed to be involved in everything (4 wickets, 2 catches including a great one to dismiss Kallis) in New Zealand’s win against South Africa in the quarter-final. South Africa are 0-5 in World Cup knockout games while New Zealand are 0-6 in World Cup semi-finals.
- The buildup to the India vs Pakistan semi-final. The match itself did not disappoint. India are now 5-0 against Pakistan in World Cup matches despite being 47-69 overall in one-day internationals.
- The innings of Gambhir and Dhoni in the final, under intense pressure. The match itself was played in fine spirits by both India and Sri Lanka. It was the first time the nation hosting the final won the Cup.
Here is a look at Malinga’s yorkers in his 6/38 against Kenya.