posted on 2019-06-26 11:28:58
posted by Michael Harrison
Before the tournament started, there were so many predictions regarding it being a fun-fest and batsmen hammering truckload of runs. It was touted to be a bowler's nightmare with all those flat surfaces that were on view during England's domestic ODI tournament and the England-Pakistan ODI series. However, one man, who had done the little feat of lifting the World Cup twice, felt otherwise.
Clive Lloyd went on to predict that this will be a tournament for the all-rounders and expected the multi-dimensional men across all teams to make a mark. We're into second half of the World Cup now and the West Indian's words ring true. Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has had an unreal campaign so far, topping the run charts currently and also having 10 wickets to his name.
Arguably the best all-rounder in the world, Shakib has been the biggest source of strength for his team who are fighting hard for a spot in the semifinal. If Shakib's performances have been jaw-dropping, Stokes has also stunned many with his temperament and fighting attitude. More than the runs he's scored so far, it's the match situation that has to be considered, as he has often produced the tough runs.
The other thing with Stokes and Shakib is that the nobody expected to be the best batsman of their respective sides before the tournament started. Maybe because they are all-rounders and at times, individual skills get under-rated at times. For Stokes, it was due to the plethora of batting ammunition that England have, which made him understated to an extent while Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim have been more reliable for Bangladesh.
All that has changed, with these two taking centerstage, courtesy some amazing performances. West Indies' duo of Andre Russell and Carlos Brathwaite have also made their mark in the tournament. The former had been injury-hit for a major part but yet produced a few breezy cameos and more importantly, conjured some really hostile spells with the ball. Inevitably, he got ruled out of the tournament last week but he did have his moments although Russell didn't quite produce that many impactful knocks.
Brathwaite had endured a torrid time in the tournament and evoked a lot of loath from all quarters. That was until he set Old Trafford ablaze on June 22 with arguably the best century of the World Cup. In an almost superman-like effort, the big man entertainer and thrilled the crowd before falling tantalizingly close to the target. The entertainment he provided was definitely one for the ages.
Speaking of the other all-rounders, Mohammad Hafeez has had a fine campaign so far, producing some vital contributions with bat and ball, as Pakistan continue to scrap for a place in the final four. His bowling hasn't been needed that often but Hafeez has added some real value in the Pakistan middle order at that all-important number four spot.
India's Hardik Pandya has also been in good rhythm, producing those quick cameos at the back end of the innings and also being quite effective with the ball in hand. He's yet to totally hit the ground running but has done his best in the limited opportunities that he's been called upon. While on the topic, it's criminal not to mention Mohammad Nabi who has been sensational for Afghanistan in this World Cup.
He's performed admirably with the ball, rubbishing the notion that finger spin is done and has been pivotal to his side's bowling fortunes. With the bat, he showed the stuff that he's made of, when he compiled that breath-taking fifty against India at Southamption on a very tricky surface. If only he had got some support at the other end, he could have achieved the unthinkable.
South Africa's Chris Morris is the other all-rounder who has had a good campaign but it's been more with the ball. He's bowled at top pace and breathed fire in his spells but the batting hasn't quite been upto the mark as he would have liked. New Zealand's duo of James Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme have also been brilliant, adding so much depth and balance to the New Zealand outfit that's yet to lose a game in the World Cup.
All in all, it's indeed been the all-rounders who have been buzzing in the 2019 World Cup and Lloyd will be one happy man on seeing all this, that's for sure. There's a certain flair about multi-dimensional cricketers after all and we can't help but get influenced by their charisma. With Shakib and Stokes leading the way, the department is in safe hands as far as international cricket is concerned.