The league stages of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 are over, and have provided for some memorable knocks. Whether it was Kumar Sangakkara’s four consecutive centuries, the record-breaking tons by Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers, or the resurgence of one Mahmudullah, the tournament has had a plenty to offer with the bat. Amit Banerjee takes a look at five of the most memorable innings so far in the cricketing extravaganza.
Before the start of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, many an expert had believed the tournament to be one in which the bowlers would have a slight advantage over the batsmen, given the nature of the pitches and the conditions of most venues in Australia and New Zealand (fast, bouncy pitches with the wind supporting for some swing bowling). The mega event, however, has witnessed several records being broken in terms of batting performances, with the likes of AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, and Brendon McCullum tearing the opposition bowlers apart with no mercy. It is but a sign of the evolution that has taken place in the sport since the rise of the Twenty20 format.
Following are five of the top knocks in the tournament so far, arranged in chronological order:
1. Shikhar Dhawan’s 137, India vs South Africa at Melbourne: India were in an upbeat mood following their convincing victory against Pakistan, where they put up a stellar performance with the bat, and managing to bowl the Pakistanis out for a 76-run win. They had to put up a similar performance against the Proteas, who were the tougher side on paper with their famed bowling trio of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.
India lost Rohit Sharma for a duck with just nine runs on board. The dashing opener from Delhi, however, was ready to go a step ahead of the half-century that he had posted in the previous match. Dhawan took on the pacers head-on, smashing 16 boundaries and two sixes in a well-paced and calculated innings. His knock helped guide India to 261 for two before a flurry of wickets restricted India to 307 for seven. Not only was it his career-best knock, but it also turned out to be a match-winning one: the target put a constant pressure on the Proteas, who collapsed to their first-ever defeat at the hands of the Men-In-Blue in World Cup cricket
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