ICC World Cup 2019: Unsung hero from each team in the tournament
These players performed to the best of their ability but it was either overshadowed by some strong performances or some poor shows which didn't support their innings.
Published - Jul 15, 2019 11:05 am | Updated - Jul 15, 2019 11:05 am
The World Cup 2019 is possibly one of the best you’d ever come across. Great thrillers, brilliant humdingers, one-sided contests – it has witnessed it all. Different players rose up to the occasion and played some fabulous cricket. They lit up the tournament with their heroics and it was all a treat to watch. Also, some of the top cricketers disappointed badly and nothing seemed to have gone their way.
There were a few cricketers who brought up mediocre, decent performances in the tournament. But amidst all this, there were also a few players who largely went unnoticed. They performed to the best of their ability but it was either dominated by some strong performances or some poor shows. Thus, these players ended up being the unsung hero for their respective teams.
Here is the unsung hero for each of the ten teams in the World Cup 2019
1. Rahmat Shah | Afghanistan
It is tough to pick an unsung hero from the Afghanistan team. The side hasn’t performed really well and thus there are quite a few options for this pick. The likes of Hashmatullah Shahidi, Guldadin Naib, Najibullah Zadran amongst a few others were the considerations. But Rahmat Shah, of all the options, was picked given his contributions in different games.
Shah, possibly, hasn’t gained as much attention as some of the other players. He went about his work quite silently and did his job really well when compared to some of the other players. The right-hander scored 254 runs in 9 games at an average of 28. However, his strike rate of 65 was the factor which didn’t really highlight his performances. He got off to good starts in most of the games but went past the 50-run mark only once.
2. Jason Holder | Windies
From the Windies team, Jason Holder is one of those players who did a recent job. Although his performances weren’t as impactful, the all-rounder tried to make his mark whenever possible. Had he been a little more consistent, Holder could have well won his team a few games almost single-handedly.
Despite not being one of the most gifted batsmen, he applied himself beautifully and there were instances where he played really well down the order. Holder scored 170 runs at a strike rate of 109 which his great for a utility player like him. He even picked up 8 wickets at an economy rate under six which was decent enough. Holder also made some really smart captaincy moves.
3. Mushfiqur Rahim | Bangladesh
Shakib Al Hasan played a different level of cricket in the World Cup 2019. The all-rounder was unstoppable with the bat and has scored in excess of 600 runs. While he deserves all the praise for his efforts, Mushfiqur Rahim has also done a really good job batting at number four.
Even though he wasn’t as consistent as Shakib, Mushfiqur played some really important knocks and put his class on display. He is amongst the leading run-scorers in the tournament and his average was over 52. Mushfiqur scored 367 runs at a strike rate of 93 and even hit a couple of half-centuries and a century. However, Bangladesh might have been in a much better position had he performed at a more consistent basis.
4. Rassie van der Dussen | South Africa
South Africa experimented quite a bit with the batting order in the tournament. While playing a tournament of this magnitude, they were expected to have certain plans in place and give their best players an opportunity to express themselves. This uncertainty about the batting order affected Rassie van der Dussen up to a certain extent.
Dussen is usually at his best when he gets to bat at number three or four. But due to the combinations they went ahead with, he was slotted down to number five. It isn’t easy for any batsman to excel at a different position than what he is used to. Yet, he took up the challenge and played some really good cricket. He batted in 6 innings and scored 311 runs at an average of over 62 and a strike rate of 90.
5. Dimuth Karunaratne | Sri Lanka
After a long while, Dimuth Karunaratne was picked in the Sri Lanka ODI team. Moreover, his responsibility got increased when he was also named the captain. The team was going through a terrible phase in limited-overs cricket before he took over. The situation was such that there were hardly any expectations on the Sri Lankan team.
Yet, the left-hander took up the challenge and brought the best out of his players. He was one of the best players with the bat and did really well in the testing conditions. In 7 games, he scored 222 runs at an average of 37. Moreover, the team won three games against him including the one against England which is quite an achievement.
6. Imad Wasim | Pakistan
There weren’t a lot of expectations on Imad Wasim in the World Cup 2019. He was also termed ‘Railu Katta [meaning: someone who doesn’t create any impact]’. Imad also did not have the opportunity to in all the matches in the tournament. But whenever he got his chance, he seized it and brought out decent performances.
He scored 162 runs in only 5 innings at an average of 54 and a strike rate of 118.24. His efforts also won his team the game against Afghanistan where he remained unbeaten on 49 in a tricky chase. Imad opened the bowling for Pakistan at times and was quite economical throughout. He bowled tight lines and lengths which stopped the run flow.
7. James Neesham | New Zealand
James Neesham had a terrific World Cup 2019. It was really unfortunate to see him on the losing side despite him putting in his everything. Neesham punched above his weight quite literally and got his team out of tricky situations many times. For someone who wasn’t even in the contention to make it into the World Cup squad a year and a half ago, this performance was quite special.
The Kiwi all-rounder registered his highest ODI score of 97* in this tournament. In 8 innings, he scored 232 runs at an average of 33 and adapted to different situations really well. He also picked up 15 wickets at an economy rate of under 6. Neesham was asked to bowl the tough overs a few times and responded extremely well. He even picked up a five-wicket haul and was truly the unsung hero for his team.
8. Joe Root | England
England is a team full of big hitters. All of them can change the course of a game with their power-hitting and ability. In such an environment, it is quite easy to get carried away and try something different. But Joe Root didn’t commit such errors and backed his natural game which made his quite successful.
He played proper cricket shots and yet played so effectively scoring at a good strike rate. Many of you might be surprised but Joe Root was the leading run-scorer for England in the tournament. He scored 556 runs in 11 games at an average close to 62 and a strike rate of nearly 90. Root also hit three centuries and two half-centuries in the tournament.
9. Alex Carey | Australia
At the end of the tournament, quite a few of you might be of the opinion that Australia didn’t make the best use of Alex Carey. In most of the games, he batted after the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis. Thus, he didn’t have an opportunity to face too many deliveries. But there were a few games when the top-order collapsed badly.
Those were the instances where Carey showed to the world how good a cricketer he is. He displayed a great sense of composure and maturity. Carey scored some valuable runs for his team and was undoubtedly the unsung hero for Australia. He mustered 375 runs at an average of 62.50 and a strike rate over 100. In the future, Australia will surely use him up the order and extract the best out of him.
10. KL Rahul | India
It wasn’t easy to be KL Rahul in the World Cup 2019. At first, he was named the reserve opener and many thought he wouldn’t get a game unless one of the openers in injured. Then in the warm-up game against Bangladesh, he was given an opportunity to bat at number four. He made the necessary adjustments to his game and got a century in that match.
Thus, he became the front-runner for the number four spot and played a few games there. But then again, Shikhar Dhawan got injured and he was promoted to open the innings. It isn’t easy to make the mental and technical adjustments so many times and Rahul has passed the test with flying colours. He scored 361 runs at an average of 45 including a century which makes him the unsung hero for India in the World Cup.