ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features
World Cup 2011 review
The team of the tournament
We asked our staff to pick their best World Cup XI and unsurprisingly, players from India and Sri Lanka dominated the list
April 5, 2011
Sachin Tendulkar 482 runs at 53.55
There were murmurs wondering whether he should quit the game after India's nightmarish campaign in 2007, but Tendulkar erased memories of that disaster with a World Cup victory before his adoring home fans. His innings were filled with sumptuous strokes, and centuries in key matches of the league phase. A delightful half-century set up the chase against Australia in the quarters, before an uncharacteristically scratchy 85 made him Man of the Match in the semi-final against Pakistan. Even the 18 in the final had a signature straight drive and some lovely carves through cover.
Tillakaratne Dilshan 500 runs at 62.50, eight wickets at 15.75
The highest run-getter in the tournament was his usual explosive presence at the top of the Sri Lankan batting order, and his offspin plugged the scoring at the start of the innings. It will be hard for him to top the all-round effort against Zimbabwe - 144 with the bat, and 4 for 4 with the ball. There was also the century in the quarter-finals that swept England aside, and a controlled 73 in the semi-final against New Zealand.
Kumar Sangakkara 465 runs at 93
Sri Lanka's charismatic captain had a great time with the bat, besides being his usual reliable self behind the stumps. Coming in at No. 3, he was on hand to steady the innings in the rare event of the tournament's most prolific opening pair, Dilshan and Upul Tharanga, failing. His consistency through the tournament is highlighted by the lowest score he was dismissed for in the World Cup - 48, and that too after stabilising the innings in the final.
Jonathan Trott 422 runs at 60.28
For someone who was widely considered unsuited to the demands of limited-overs cricket, Trott has done all he can to silence the critics. He became the quickest to 1000 runs in the one-day format, his average remains a stratospheric 55.65 after 25 matches and there were five half-centuries and a 47 in the World Cup. His batting form remained one of the few certainties in England's thrill-a-minute campaign, in which the team's performances veered from amateurish to brilliant.
AB de Villiers 353 runs at 88.25
Though injuries sidelined him from a few matches, de Villiers showed his class in the World Cup. He began the tournament with a couple of centuries - a flawless one against West Indies after the loss of two early wickets, and a powerful one against Netherlands. On a tricky track against New Zealand in the quarter-finals, he was batting like a dream, caressing boundaries while the rest flailed about, before a suicidal attempt for a single ended his innings, after which South Africa crumbled.
Yuvraj Singh 362 runs at 90.50, 15 wickets at 25.13
A few months ago, Yuvraj was talking about how 2010 was his worst year in international cricket, and was struggling to keep his place in the national team. Now he has a Man-of-the-Series award in the one-day World Cup, to go with his decisive performance in the 2007 World Twenty20 triumph. It was a transformation which coach Gary Kirsten called "as good a turnaround I have seen in world sport". Not only did Yuvraj re-discover his touch with the bat, his left-arm spin proved so effective that he was frequently called on to bowl a full 10 overs. He walked off with a record-equalling four Man-of-the-Match awards.
Shahid Afridi 21 wickets at 12.85
The crowds may love Afridi's manic batting, but it was with his legspin that he was devastating in the World Cup. There were five-fors against two Associate nations, though his best performance in the league phase came against Sri Lanka when his variations confounded four top-order batsmen to hand Pakistan victory. The other high-voltage performance was in the quarterfinals, when his four wickets helped shoot out West Indies for 112. Besides the tournament-high 21 wickets, he also pulled off the difficult task of keeping the Pakistan team united.
Graeme Swann 12 wickets at 25.75
Like England, Swann had an eventful World Cup. A listless performance with the ball against India was redeemed with a calm nine-ball 15 to earn a tie. His three-wicket burst seemed to have killed Ireland's chances before a bludgeoning Kevin O'Brien made it a day to forget for England. His crafty bowling set up the prospect of victory against South Africa when all seemed lost, but he couldn't pull it off again when Bangladesh were conjuring a lower-order fightback. The magic was back against West Indies as his late strikes set up a tense victory to keep England alive in the competition.
Dale Steyn 12 wickets at 16
He's been undisputedly the best fast bowler in Tests for several years now, but there remained questions whether he could hit similar heights in limited-overs. At the World Cup, Steyn showed he can. He repeatedly showcased his mastery over the weapons necessary for success in the death overs of the one-day game - the yorker, the slower ball and the bouncer - and mostly relied on his accurate legcutters with the new ball. There's been no drop in pace as well, making him one of the most complete quick bowlers in operation. His headlining performance was against India, a five-for sparking a collapse from 267 for 1 to 296 all out.
Zaheer Khan 21 wickets at 18.76
The pace may no longer be there, but Zaheer has more than adequately replaced that with plenty of guile. India's best bowler with the new ball and the old one was called on whenever the team was in trouble, and he invariably responded. There were no five-fors, but he provided breakthroughs in every match to finish top of the wicket charts with Afridi. The league match against England showed how much the team needed him: as Andrew Strauss and Co were marching towards the target of 339, his burst of reverse-swing produced three wickets to turn a seemingly hopeless match a contest.
Malinga 13 wickets at 20.76
The injuries are piling up for the man with cricket's most unorthodox action, and he doesn't expect to play in the next World Cup though he's still only 27. That didn't stop him from making a massive impact for the second World Cup in a row. Kenya's batsmen were bamboozled by his inswinging toe-crushers as he nabbed 6 for 38 including a hat-trick. There were big performances in the big games too - three strikes in the semi-final against New Zealand, and two crowd-silencing early blows against India in the final.
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