World Cup 2015 March 15, 2015

McCullum's leap of faith, Taylor's long walk goodbye

ESPNcricinfo's correspondents at the World Cup pick their best moments from the fourth week of matches

See ball, fling self at ball: Brendon McCullum's fielding mantra © Getty Images

Andrew McGlashan: The brilliance and insanity of being McCullum
New Zealand v Bangladesh, Hamilton, March 13
There were gasps. Then people held their breath. Brendon McCullum had charged down a ball towards the boundary - it has become one of his trademarks for the tournament, and is a dynamic sight. Few people eat up the ground like he can. He wasn't going to reach it, but then put in one final mighty dive. The hang-time was incredible. The still images just needed a cape superimposed. Then he thudded to the ground. Surely not? Not in a group match of, largely, little significance to New Zealand. He lifted himself up, checked all limbs were still in position. People started to breathe again. He needed some tape on his palm, but that was the limit of the damage. All's well that ends well. McCullum's attitude is infectious, but was this worth it?

Andy Zaltzman: Vettori ends his sixlessness
New Zealand v Bangladesh, Hamilton, March 13
This World Cup has been replete with players doing things they have not done before, or not done for a long time. Daniel Vettori had hardly taken any wickets in ODIs since December 2010 - 15 in his previous 27 games, interspersed with lengthy absences. He has taken 13 in six during the tournament. In the match before this anti-splurge of inactivity began, Vettori took 3 for 32 against Bangladesh, the last time he had taken three wickets for less than 50 until this tournament. That was also the last match in which Vettori the batsman had cleared the boundary ropes. In Hamilton, on Friday, also against Bangladesh, with New Zealand stumbling towards their target amid a curious collection of careless thwipes, and still needing 17 off 13 with three wickets left, Vettori ended his four and a half years of sixlessness with an inside-out peach over deep extra cover. New Zealand's oldest, most experienced player still has it then.

Jarrod Kimber: Test venue, house, home
Sri Lanka v Scotland, Hobart, March 11
The bathroom at the Bellerive Oval press box has a shower. It looks more like a hotel bathroom than a press box toilet. When you come out of the toilet, on the left there is a sign that says "Private Residence, No Admittance". This is the home of the maintenance and facilities supervisor of the ground. After Sri Lanka beat Scotland, the private residence door opened, out came a normal-looking man. For someone reason I thought he would he some grizzly, gnarled-up old man, but he was just a guy, a normal middle-aged guy. Carrying a Sri Lanka flag. I asked him if he was the guy living in there - I might have asked with a bit too much excitement, as he seemed a put off by my question. But how often to you meet a man who lives in a Test venue?

The crowd gives Brendan Taylor a standing ovation in his last match for Zimbabwe © Getty Images

Sharda Ugra: Brendan Taylor's fitting farewell
India v Zimbabwe, Auckland, March 14
The match pitted the big bucks of cricket against the no-bucks, the world's richest and largest cricket nation, in terms of supporter numbers, against a side that has fights every day for its relevance and survival. The retirement of Brendan Taylor, former Zimbabwe captain and their most experienced ODI player, however, served to bring together the best things that the game stands for. The crowd, which certainly sounded like more than 90% Indian, warmed to Taylor's innings. When he reached his century and punched his fist into the air, the applause was thunderous. When he was out for 138, the Indians on and off the field gave him a farewell as if he were one of their own. As he walked off, a few Indian fielders ran over to shake his hand. Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, one from a fielding position, another breaking away from the team group, patting Taylor on the back, saying goodbye and well played. Taylor was not the only one "overwhelmed" by the crowd's response and "moved" by the fielders' reactions. He said, "They didn't have to do that. They're very established players, it was a very nice touch." Oh, but they did, we did. This was "spirit of cricket" risen above platitude.

George Dobell: Moores the pity
Bangladesh v England, Adelaide, March 9
In the final moments of England's defeat at the hands of Bangladesh - as it became clear that the team was slipping to a new low and all the high hopes, hard work and brave talk would come to nothing, Peter Moores became embroiled in a heated exchange with the reserve umpire, Ranmore Martinesz. Moores, the England coach, is normally a mild-manned fellow. Always calm, always in control. But he, looking drawn, tired and grey, was unhappy at the decision of Simon Fry, the TV umpire, to adjudge Chris Jordan run out after replays provided inconclusive evidence as to whether his bat had bounced into the air as he dived for his ground. Whatever the rights or wrongs of the decision - and in reality, it probably made little difference - to see the usually controlled Moores wagging his finger and berating the perfectly innocent Matinesz, gave an insight into the frustration, the desperation and the pain within the England camp.

Devashish Fuloria: Tamim's tangle
New Zealand v Bangladesh, Hamilton, March 13
Trent Boult has been making the ball dance for the last few years, but in Hamilton, his swing left Tamim Iqbal inadvertently in a pose more fitting of a ballet dancer than a batsman. To Tamim's credit, he remained positive against the swinging ball despite it seldom hitting the middle of the bat, sometimes missing it altogether. But then one landed just back of length, swerved away, opening up Tamim. His front foot was down the pitch, but hips were parallel to the crease. His left toe on the pitch, but the ankle turned outwards, the body in perfect balance. Full marks for the graceful pose but unfortunately, the bat wasn't in the line of the ball. The edge flew to slips and Tamim was cha-chaing his way back to the pavilion.

A shoulder to lean on: Glenn Maxwell celebrates his maiden ODI hundred with Shane Watson © Getty Images

Nikita Bastian: The big, big bash
Pakistan v South Africa, Auckland, March 7
One of the most intriguing sights on the cricket field, personally speaking at least, is when one fast bowler has a go at another when he's at his most vulnerable: as the tailender with bat in hand. Add to that scenario sheer physical presence, in Morne Morkel and Mohammad Irfan, two Goliaths of world cricket, and you can't help but feel that twinge of excitement at the impending contest. And the pair did not disappoint when they faced off at Eden Park last Saturday. With Pakistan looking for a competitive total, Irfan faced up to Morkel in the 47th over, the bat reaching just a little higher than his knees with him in his stance. What does Morkel do? Sends one buzzing past Irfan's ears of course, forcing the seven-footer to hurriedly duck. Visibly annoyed, Irfan backed away to have a mighty swipe at the next one, a length delivery, and missed, before french-cutting a yorker for a single. Unfortunately, Pakistan lost their final wicket the next ball, and that was the end of that.

Brydon Coverdale: Williams keeps walking
Ireland v Zimbabwe, Hobart, March 7
It was a case of walk and don't look back for Sean Williams at Bellerive Oval, where confusion reigned when he was caught in the deep by Ireland's John Mooney. With Zimbabwe 32 runs away from a potential victory and Williams four runs from a maiden ODI hundred, he crunched the ball out to deep midwicket only to see Mooney position his feet deliberately just inside the boundary and take the catch. Mooney turned around to inspect his foot position and then cheered. The umpires wanted to check the legality of the catch but it seemed as though Williams had walked off before their deliberations were complete. Nobody seemed to know what was going on as replays continued on the big screen - and showed what may or may not have been contact between foot and boundary - even as the next batsman took position. Whatever the case, Williams was gone, and Ireland went on to win.

Daniel Brettig: Maxwell, Watson embrace
Australia v Sri Lanka, Sydney, March 8
In isolation, Glenn Maxwell's hundred against Sri Lanka was arresting enough. Coming in with a decent platform set by Michael Clarke and Steven Smith, Maxwell teed off with devastating effect, consummating his promise as one of the world's most destructive batsmen with his first century for Australia in any format. But his partnership with Shane Watson told another tale - the older man had been dropped from the team and then reinstated in the space of a week, and found new direction coming in at No. 6 rather than his more customary first drop. Even through this personal trial Watson had shown himself to be a fine team man by spending time with Maxwell, who has battled various personal problems this summer, most notably his struggle with the emotional mess wrought by the death of Phillip Hughes. So when Maxwell's hundred came up, the pair lingered in their celebratory embrace, as Maxwell shed a tear or two. Not only was this innings an achievement in itself, but the partnership that made it possible looked a new beginning for both Maxwell and Watson.

Dinesh Chandimal was forced off the field because of a hamstring injury © Getty Images

Andrew Fernando: A World Cup dream cut short
Australia v Sri Lanka, Sydney, March 8
Dinesh Chandimal had not been in the XI for the first two matches. Sri Lanka didn't lose enough wickets for him to bat in the next two. When his first ever World Cup innings finally began, gone was the scramble-minded plodder that had been his limited-overs avatar for much of the past 18 months. Returned was the blinding homespun talent that had seen him marked out as a future star four years ago.

But he is luckless. Here, he was playing the one-day innings of his life, setting Sri Lanka on track for a famous chase, but just as his fifty beckoned, his right hamstring decided to snap. For a while Chandimal refused to accept his fate. He hobbled between the stumps to complete Sri Lanka's quickest World Cup fifty at the time, pleaded with Angelo Mathews to be allowed to stay on the field despite the injury. Even when Mathews told him, in no uncertain terms, that he was to leave, Chandimal just turned around and took guard for another ball. He would limp through for one more single before finally accepting his fate. Sri Lanka would lose that match. His World Cup dream, for now, was ended.

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