The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 has been a complete package of entertainment so far. Nail biting finishes, double centuries and 400 plus totals have been interspersed with excellent bowling performances and top class fielding displays, ever since the tournament began the previous month. In this article, we take a look at how things shaped up in the 2nd week of this mega event of cricket.
Proceedings for the 2nd week, in Pool A, began with Afghanistan giving a real scare to Sri Lanka when they almost managed to defend a target of 232 against the might of Sangakkara and Co, at Dunedin. A nail biting finish, however, failed to produce positive results for the Afghans as Thisara Perera managed to secure a tense victory for the Lankans.
England registered their first victory in the tournament, beating Scotland by 119 runs at Christchurch. Moeen Ali appeared to have brought his team back on track, with a skillfully constructed century.
Excitement levels in the World Cup reached a crescendo at Dunedin, once again, when minnows Afghanistan and Scotland locked horns in what appeared to be an inconsequential game. The match ultimately went down to the wire and Afghanistan somehow managed to chase down a total of 210, with 3 balls and a solitary wicket to spare!
Sri Lanka reinforced their claims on a Quarter Finals spot, with a confident 92 run victory against Bangladesh at Melbourne.
The most talked about match of this World Cup came on the last day of February, when arch rivals Australia and New Zealand took on each other at Auckland. The match looked well and truly over for the Aussies when they were bowled out for just 151, courtesy some unplayable deliveries from the Kiwi bowlers led by Trent Boult. Brendon McCullum’s 23 ball half century took New Zealand halfway past the target in just 7 overs, before the Aussies hit back with full force. A flurry of wickets ruffled the Kiwi feathers badly, and Mitchell Starc terrorized them with a 6 wicket haul that brought Australia within striking distance of a magical win. However, even with just 1 wicket, Kane Williamson’s nerves of steel prevailed. Requiring six runs to win, the gritty Kiwi batsman’s lofted shot managed to clear the long on fence and secure New Zealand a slender win.
It was the high profile India vs South Africa encounter at Melbourne that set things in motion in Pool B, in the 2nd week. In an astonishing display of superiority in all three departments of the game, India humbled the mighty title favorites South Africa by 130 runs. The Indian pacers brilliantly complemented the good work done by Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli with the bat.
Chris Gayle decided to turn on the heat against Zimbabwe, at Canberra, with the fastest double hundred in ODI history. Gayle’s 147 ball 215 was enough to stifle the Zimbabwean challenge, as West Indies kept their momentum going with a 73 run victory.
Ireland and UAE produced an entertaining finish to their match at Brisbane. Kevin O’Brien’s heroics with the bat took Ireland to a tense win in the last over, in a chase of 279.
The game between West Indies and South Africa had ‘AB de Villiers’ written all over it! The innovative South African skipper registered the fastest 150 in ODI history, en route to a 66 ball 162, which was decorated with 17 fours and 8 sixes. An all round performance from the Proteas first took them to 408/5 and then dismissed the West Indians for 151 in 33.1 overs!
India ran through UAE in their third game of the tournament, at Perth. Ravichandran Ashwin produced figures of 10-1-25-4, and the other Indian bowlers chipped in with disciplined performances to send UAE packing for a paltry 102. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli’s 75 run stand ensured that India were home in just 18.5 overs.
ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 – The road ahead
There appears to be no denying the fact that this World Cup may be rated the best ever in history, in terms of popular participation and on-the-field performances by teams and individuals. The Quarter Finals are knocking at the door, and ardent cricket fans better fasten their seat belts now – it’s going to be one memorable ride for all!