Cape Town - Hits and misses at the 2015 Cricket World Cup which ended on Sunday with Australia lifting the title.
Australia cemented their status as the world's top-ranked team in
one-day cricket by seeing off New Zealand in the final to clinch their
fifth World Cup. It was also a perfect finish to his ODI career for
skipper Michael Clarke, who made a fine 74, and movingly dedicated
victory to his former team-mate Phillip Hughes who died last year.
Cricket's boys from nowhere gave Sri Lanka and Bangladesh a scare
before losing by 275 runs to Australia, who racked up a World Cup record
total of 417, and by nine wickets to England.
But in between they clinched a thrilling one-wicket win over Scotland
with tailender Shapoor Zadran hitting the winning runs before sprinting
off and collapsing to the Dunedin ground in a memorable celebration.
Team-mate Hamid Hassan became a cult hero with his red and green
bandanna, Afghan flag face paint and cartwheel wicket-taking
Bigger bats and tighter fielding restrictions made the 2015 World
Cup a batsman's paradise. There were three 400-plus totals. Australia
made 417 for six against Afghanistan while South Africa twice went
through the barrier - 408 for five against the West Indies and 411 for
four in their game with Ireland.
New Zealand opener Martin Guptill hit a World Cup record 237 not out
against the West Indies, surpassing the previous World Cup best of 215,
made by Chris Gayle against Zimbabwe at Canberra earlier in this
Gayle and Marlon Samuels also set a new partnership record for any ODI wicket of 371 in the win over Zimbabwe.
England exited in the first round having failed to beat any of the
four Test nations in their pool. Their misery was completed in a loss to
Bangladesh in Adelaide where they were bowled out for 260 chasing 275
to win. England have never won the World Cup despite being finalists in
1979, 1987 and 1992.
The sport's rulers were both praised but largely criticised for
their plan to cut the number of teams taking part at the 2019 World Cup
in England from 14 to 10.
They also came under fire for fining Wahab Riaz and Shane Watson
after the pair went eye-to-eye in a compelling ball v bat confrontation
in Pakistan's quarter-final with Australia, while merely giving their
own president Mustafa Kamal a slap on the wrist for his claims that
Bangladesh's 109-run loss to India had been "pre-arranged".
Stars go out
Dale Steyn and Virat Kohli should have been amongst the standout
performers at the World Cup, but the reputations of two of the sport's
marquee fast bowlers and batsmen suffered over the six weeks. Steyn took
just 11 wickets in eight games and saved his worst to last, carted for
one for 76 in the semi-final loss to New Zealand and conceding the
match-clinching six to Grant Elliott in the final over.
Kohli, the swashbuckling batting superstar of India with a Bollywood
actress for a girlfriend, made 107 in the opener against Pakistan but
failed to get beyond 46 in his seven other innings. He made just one off
13 balls in the semi-final loss to Australia.