In the third round of this year’s Cricket World Cup, we got to see some teams open their World Cup account, some fall behind others and of course close, thrilling encounters. India started their campaign late against a rather weakened, but fearless South Africa. Bangladesh came oh so close to worrying New Zealand. And Australia came back from 79-5 to beat the West Indies by 15 runs.
Unfortunately, fans were not able to see Sri Lanka fight Pakistan as that match was rained out in Bristol. Let’s which factors steered the three matches played in the directions they did. Also, stick around till the end to see my predictions for four matches: England v Bangladesh, Afghanistan v New Zealand, Australia v India and South Africa v West Indies.
India vs South Africa
Winner: Jasprit Bumrah
The hype around Jasprit Bumrah’s bowling has been around for years, but Wednesday’s match against South Africa was actually his World Cup debut. And he did brilliantly. He got the two South African openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock out, but more importantly, his ten overs only yielded 35 runs.
Winner: Yuzvendra Chahal
India knew spin was the key to victory and Yuzvendra Chahal stepped up. He took four wickets at 51 runs from ten overs, bowling both Faf du Plessis and Russie van der Dussen, catching David Miller and stumping Andile Phelukwayo.
Loser: Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan has a reputation for performing well in international tournaments but since arriving in the UK, he hasn’t been able to strike gold yet. In India’s warm-up matches, Dhawan was only able to score 2(7) and 1(9). When it really mattered, against South Africa, Dhawan was caught behind for just eight runs.
Winner: Kagiso Rabada
Even though South Africa failed with the bat, their bowlers gave one hell of a fight. Especially fast bowler Kagiso Rabada. India shouldn’t need 43 overs to chase 228, but Rabada fought till the last ball. Rabada managed to find the two wickets of Dhawan and KL Rahul and conceded only 39 runs, including a maiden.
Winner: Rohit Sharma
Yup. That man again. Rohit Sharma alone has won matches for India and he did it again. While the rest of the Indian batsmen struggled against South Africa, Sharma ended up scoring a century and putting 13 fours and two sixes past the ropes along the way. His century awarded him Man of the Match.
Bangladesh vs New Zealand
Winner: Ross Taylor
Batting against Bangladeshi fast bowling and heavy spin isn’t easy by any means but Ross Taylor stayed at the crease, defending his wicket. Taylor scored 82(91). Taylor was also involved in a 105-run match-winning partnership with captain Kane Williamson, who scored 40.
Loser: Mushfiqur Rahim
After fairing just 19 with the bat, wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim made an even bigger mistake in the second innings. After Tamim Iqbal had collected the ball at mid-on and threw it at the batting end, Taylor was set up to be run-out but Rahim’s arms came in the way, knocking the bails off the stumps before the ball, saving Taylor. Taylor then went on to score his 82, costing Bangladesh dearly.
Australia vs West Indies
Winner: Sheldon Cottrell
First with the ball, then in the field, Sheldon Cottrell impressed. His two wickets for 56 runs were a part of Australia’s dismal collapse, in the beginning, claiming the names of David Warner and Glenn Maxwell, saluting them back to the pavilion. But the craziest moment came when he helped dismiss Steve Smith by taking a catch on the boundary line. When Cottrell had grabbed onto the ball, he threw it back up in the air as his momentum took him past the boundary edge, then came back in as the ball was returning to secure the wicket.
Winner: Alex Carry
The Australian wicket-keeper knew exactly what to do when he came out to bat. He knew before runs, the Australians somehow had to prevent losing their wickets, so Alex Carey did exactly that. After defending for a few overs, Carey then leaked runs scoring 45 from just 55 before being caught behind by Shai Hope.
Winner: Steve Smith
It seems that Steve Smith might be one of the most consistent batsmen in this tournament, along with the likes of Sharma, Taylor or Babar Azam. Smith batted with such composure against the West Indies, it was as if the batting collapse prior to his innings never occurred or was never in the back of his mind. Smith, just like Carey, had defended for quite some time before going onto the attack. The result? A masterclass 73(103) by the Aussie.
Winner: Nathan Coulter-Nile
He’s in the side as a bowler, but when Australia needed someone to bat well, Nathan Coulter-Nile stepped up. The no. eight batsman nearly earned his maiden century, scoring 92 from just 60 deliveries, setting him up at a strike rate of 153.33! That match-turning innings fairly earned him Man of the Match.
Winner: Chris Gayle
If you were to check the scorecard, you’d ask how does someone call themselves a winner after scoring just 21? Well, you’d be surprised what occurred during Gayle’s 21. From ball one to 17, Gayle had crossed a personal achievement of 3000 World Cup runs! And in the innings prior to, Gayle in the fielding saw him become a hero to the crowd, saluting the crowd every time the ball just came in his hands. Hmm…is there a way to insert a laughing emoji in this article?
Winner: Shai Hope
After coming into this World Cup on impeccable form, Hope scored his maiden World Cup half-century. After taking four catches in the first innings, Hope went on to score 68(105), putting the West Indies in a winning position.
Losers: The Umpires
But the West Indies didn’t win, did they? Honestly, even though the Windies lost wickets late, I still feel like they deserved the win. And the umpiring stole it from them. By the time captain Jason Holder was dismissed in the 46th over, West Indies hadn’t lost a review despite using a review four times to that point. Meaning the umpires had been wrong multiple times. But the worst bit came in the fifth over, when Gayle was dismissed by an LBW from Mitchell Starc. Gayle shouldn’t have been dismissed as the ball prior to was a No-ball, but none of the umpires had caught it. As commentator Michael Holding puts it: “Umpiring in this game has been atrocious. Even when I was playing, when they weren’t as strict as now, you were allowed 1 appeal, you don’t appeal 2,3,4 times. If umpires are intimidated that means they’re weak – this has been atrocious by both umpires.”
Starc still bowled excellently, though. He earned his sixth five-for in One-Day Internationals, conceding just 46 runs in this match. Towards the end of the innings, Starc ended up getting the key wicket of Holder, who had crossed the fifty mark, threatening Australia’s winning chances. But Starc made sure that didn’t happen and Australia took the two points home.
Those were some action-packed matches, but I don’t suspect that’ll be the end of it. India will take on Australia next in a thrilling blockbuster for sure, as the rivalry between the two sides has heated up in the last few years. Bangladesh will look to beat England once again while England needs to get back to winning, after losing to Pakistan. New Zealand’s next encounter is against Afghanistan, who need a win, and South Africa will search for two points against the West Indies. Let’s see some of my predictions for a few of these matches:
England vs Bangladesh @ Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on Saturday, June 8:
If England bats first: Bangladesh to win by two wickets.
If Bangladesh bats first: England to win by six wickets.
Afghanistan vs New Zealand @ Taunton County Ground on Saturday, June 8:
If Afghanistan bats first: New Zealand to win by five wickets.
If New Zealand bats first: New Zealand to win by 100 runs.
Australia vs India @ The Oval, London on Sunday, June 9:
If Australia bats first: Australia to win by 20 runs.
If India bats first: India to win by 30 runs.
South Africa vs the West Indies @ The Rose Bowl, Southampton on Monday, June 10:
If South Africa bats first: West Indies to win by three wickets.
If West Indies bats first: South Africa to win by five wickets.