It's been the World Cup of the yorker, and we love it

The defining delivery of the tournament has had some superb purveyors this year, who have used it to deadly effect

In this World Cup, a yorker has claimed a wicket once every 11.2 deliveries, as opposed to once every 26.4 deliveries in the 2015 edition  •  Getty Images

In this World Cup, a yorker has claimed a wicket once every 11.2 deliveries, as opposed to once every 26.4 deliveries in the 2015 edition  •  Getty Images

They know it's coming, you know it's coming, the commentators know, as do thousands in the stands. A deep drumbeat resounds in collective minds, going faster and faster and faster. A bowler on a warpath to the crease, wind rushing by. A vortex of limbs, a slightly angled arm and a diagonal seam. In response, a raised bat, late on the shot, despite prior knowledge. It dips. Then it tails.
Bails still in mid-air, bat dropped in despair. An eruption. A firework. A howl of joy.
The yorker.
Is there a greater sight in this sport? In any sport? Zing stumps and bails might be immovable when wimpy top-of-off-stump deliveries make contact, but there's no way they are not outright exploding in all their flashing red glory for an on-target yorker.
In a way, light-up woodwork does not seem like celebration enough. There should be a thunderous yorker klaxon, a blast of technicolour confetti, and lightning in the skies whenever a bowler sends bails flying with this ball. Teams should have specific celebrations for yorker wickets. Tens of thousands of paying spectators should be simultaneously launched from spring-loaded seats, ten metres into the air, for the benefit of the television audience.
Nothing has defined the 2019 World Cup like the yorker. Not even, hard as it tried, bad weather. Everywhere you looked, almost every team had an outstanding purveyor of this stuff. Mitchell Starc phased one through alternate dimensions and right into poor Ben Stokes' unsuspecting off stump in a particularly high-profile entry into the great halls of yorkerdom. Lockie Ferguson roughed Faf du Plessis up with a bouncer at the throat before rattling his off stump - the old-school, sepia-tinted, one-two combo. Trent Boult, conjurer of swing, took an entire hat-trick worth of yorkers (one was technically a very low full-toss, but let's please not nitpick). Dawlat Zadran, Jason Holder, Stokes himself, Mohammed Saifuddin and even Bhuvneshwar Kumar all reaped wickets from the delivery, before Shaheen Afridi, the freshest fast-bowling phenomenon from Pakistan, the spiritual home of the yorker, did right by the tournament, and the craft, by signing off with a pair of imperious yorker wickets of his own.
But of course, it was someone else who delivered the most consequential deliveries of the World Cup. It was the prevailing granddaddy of the yorker who defibrillated this tournament, bringing it to gasping life when it seemed set on a long, lifeless trudge to the semi-finals, and what did he do it with but, of course, the yorker.
Offerings from the younger, faster bowlers might have been flashier, but Lasith Malinga's are the yorkers you want to grow old with. They are still quick enough when required, deliciously slow when you need them to be, dipping deviously, and reverse-swinging not from side to side but right into the ground, such is the force generated by his singular action. Out of bowlers who have taken wickets from bona-fide yorkers - ones that pitch exactly in the blockhole, and not a few inches further up or down - no one has more dismissals this tournament than Malinga's five.
This is a sublime resurgence, because thanks to T20 cricket, the yorker was very recently deemed to be going out of vogue. It is too high-risk a delivery, analysts said, because if a bowler even slightly under-pitches, a batsman merely sits deep in his crease and clobbers what is now a half-volley way down the ground. Other batsmen have learned to drill it through the off side. Yet more - the audacious ones - have begun to scoop it over their shoulders, to the fine-leg boundary.
In the 2015 World Cup, yorkers were hit for almost a run a ball, and yielded a wicket only once in every 26.4 deliveries, but this time they have been vastly more profitable for bowlers. The batting strike rate against the delivery at this World Cup has been 34% lower than it had been four years ago, and the yorker has brought a wicket at an astounding rate of once every 11.2 deliveries.
All this with the finest yorker bowler in existence yet to bowl a truly memorable one. Jasprit Bumrah has been slinging them down with the accuracy of some overpowered video-game freak, furious pace and all, but has only removed two batsmen with it. Perhaps batsmen are more wary against him. More likely, they have been lucky. Or is Bumrah saving his yorker wickets for the knockouts?
Whether this yorker wave is sustainable remains to be seen. Once data has been accrued across franchise T20 tournaments for another year or so, we'll know whether this World Cup has been a dazzling blip or the start of a long-term renaissance. What we know for sure, is that we have been in the midst of outstanding yorker bowlers, some of whose teams are still alive in this tournament. Starc is there, as are Boult and Ferguson, while Bumrah also lurks. It would only be right if Jofra Archer delivered a stupendous one of his own.
Bouncers are a spectacle too, but they risk bodily harm, and so you often sympathise with the assailed. Yorkers, more than any other fast-bowling delivery, bestow a sense of professional incompetence upon the defeated batsman. It's rebellious fun, because in an era of outsize ODI averages, an expanding repertoire of shots, and bats bigger than batting brains, batsmen are basically the Man.
Do you want to be on the side of the Man? No? To hell with those jerks. You've got to love a yorker.
With inputs from Gaurav Sundararaman

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf