England go top of the table, ahead of Australia on run-rate. It was a pretty brutal performance, with Eoin Morgan hitting a world-record 17 sixes before Jofra Archer and Mark Wood dominated the bowling attack. England were ruthless, a truly intimidating team from bowlers and batsmen alike. Based on today’s performance Archer and Wood could easily be the tournaments leading wicket-takers.
Eoin Morgan was probably the player of the game for me with a close second and third coming from really solid performances from Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow. I think Afghanistan probably put in one of their best performances at the crease but England just kept firing them down there, even if a few strayed towards the helmets. I think it’s fair to say the bowling attack look like they could threaten any of the big teams.
England have been pretty steady up to this point with an early win in the opening game against South Africa and despite losing to Pakistan, came back against Bangladesh with a really strong win and yesterday's game puts them in a great place to take this all the way. They will need to keep putting in the performances like this though.
It’s hard not to comment on the rain that has plagued the World Cup already; it’s not something anyone can do anything about and unfortunately, it seems to be the thing that people are talking about most. The postponement of the India Vs. New Zealand Match on Thursday was the fourth to be abandoned and the third to be called off without a ball being bowled, making this the highest number of washed-out matches in a World Cup - two in 1992 and 2003.
The game between India and Pakistan set the world alight with over a billion people tuning in, 700,000 ticket requests and noise that could be heard across the North of England. It’s a shame that from a cricket point of view the result was dampened (excuse the pun) by the fact that half the stadium had left after rain came and the restart required Pakistan to get 136 runs from 30 balls; a pretty unlikely score to chase even by Pakistan's standards. Such a shame that it wasn’t the high intensity finish we have come to expect from these teams.
That being said the World Cup continues on, if slightly delayed.
The Cricket powerhouses are sticking to form with Australia and England securing their semi-final spots and New Zealand and India not far behind in securing the third and fourth spot.
For me though, each team has their ones to watch and any team that reaches the semi-finals will be looking to their players to perform. I have had a look at the top four teams and their key players:
Jasprit Bumrah (India) is so accurate and fast that any team looking to get a result from India will need to be equally brilliant against him and pretty stealy in determination. At only 25, Jasprit is a menace at the crease, with 85mph straight and fast balls hurtling towards the wickets at the opposite end of the crease.
Bumrah will also be keen to make amends for his errors in the 2017 Champions League Final where a no-ball gave opener Fahar Zaman a lifeline that would see him make an additional 97 runs and Pakistan win the tournament.
Jos Buttler (England) is one of the most feared English batsmen. His strike rate (119.57) is well ahead of any other Englishman. He averages more than 40 runs per innings. He has hit 117 sixes in 108 innings. Only Eoin Morgan (189 in 207 innings) has hit more.
Jos is the most calculating of batsmen assessing risk, run-chases and opponents. He calculates every option and ensures he delivers through his unrelenting practice regime.
David Warner (Australia) relishes proving himself with bat in hand, over and over and over again. At the age of 32, he is so experienced and astute that this World Cup could be his swansong: the biggest stage with all eyes on him.
He recently topped the runs list at the IPL with 9 scores over 50 including one century and continuously dominates in the ODIs where he consistently hits centuries.
Kane Williamson (New Zealand) is New Zealand’s greatest batsman but he comes without any form of ego. At the crease, he is the embodiment of a professional athlete; calm, confident in his own abilities, hardworking and reliable. It’s not just his batting, he is dependable in the outfield with unrivalled technique. People suggest he slips under opposition radar but surely that can’t happen this time round.
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