<
>

Williamson's silk and steel or Rohit's pull?

Was Kane Williamson's century the performance of the week? Getty Images

The picks of the week from our travelling writers at the World Cup. Do your picks match theirs?

Favourite performance

Kane Williamson and that six against South Africa - he has done this before and so the nervelessness shouldn't surprise. Yet when this most genteel of cricketers shows such steel, I am always reminded about these lines about another cultured batsman: "The crocodile lives on in me - careful and camouflaged. When people talk about my 'humility', it smiles - and if you were to look deep into my eyes you would see all its teeth."
- Sharda Ugra

Hard to say other than watching Rohit Sharma's pulling power in action at Old Trafford. A display of most eligible batting.
- Alan Gardner

Kane Williamson sized up a difficult Edgbaston pitch and produced a performance that had everything - intelligence, determination, nerves, skill, aesthetics. Hit all the sixes you want, nothing pulls you into a match like a performance that ticks all these boxes.
- Andrew Fidel Fernando

Bangladesh chasing down 320-plus against West Indies in rollicking fashion, utterly mocking their one-dimensional bang-it-in bowling plan.
- Karthik Krishnaswamy

Willamson v South Africa. From the nicest of men and classiest of batsmen, this was an innings of steel and silk.
- Sambit Bal

Williamson. Can you imagine how much more insufferable this tournament would be without his soft hands?
- Sidharth Monga

Wow moment

Bal: Babar Azam b Kuldeep Yadav. Wristspinners haven't had the tournament I expected them to, but this was pure gold. The drift drawing the bat wide, and turn finding the stumps.

Krishnaswamy: Liton Das's inside-out drive against the turn off Chris Gayle. Yes, he hit three successive, eye-catching sixes off a far more dangerous bowler, Shannon Gabriel, but I'm a sucker for the wristy artistry of a good inside-out drive.

Monga: Lockie Ferguson's one-two to Faf du Pessis. Bouncer at 149kph, followed by 148kph to curve away late and beat the outside edge and take out the off stump.

Fernando: "Wow", but in a sarcastic way - finding out about the Sri Lanka manager's many complaints to the ICC. He, for sure, wouldn't be kicking up such a fuss if Sri Lanka were winning.

Gardner: Eoin Morgan's 17th six of the afternoon against Afghanistan - record-breaking brutality.

Ugra: Gulbadin Naib's six against Jofra Archer. Naib had come out to open for the first time in over a year, that too against bowling of the pace his best batsman was to say the Afghans had never faced earlier. Off Archer's fourth ball, Naib had slunk one down leg for a four, but when the fifth hit the slot, it was deposited 83 metres, over deep midwicket and into the outer perimeter. For the captain of the team who had conceded 198 in the last 15, this was response and resistance.

What surprised you?

Fernando: The speed with which England, India, Australia and New Zealand have imposed themselves as probable semi-finalists. Wasn't this World Cup format supposed to produce even contests and a riveting round robin, ICC?

Monga: We finally had a good match - New Zealand v South Africa

Bal: Rashid Khan being clobbered for over a hundred in nine overs. Surely, he has something up his sleeves, I kept on the thinking, and the sixes kept on coming. It might make him a better bowler.

Ugra: One sight and one sound of Old Trafford. The sight: A fridge fully stocked with champagne left unattended less than 48 hours after the start of the India v Pakistan match. Like someone asked, "Maybe that champagne wasn't good enough?" Or was the victory not quite so heady? The sound : Getting off at the Old Trafford tram station well before 9am and hearing a steel band playing from inside the wall. It was to make the Manchester sky feel somewhat sunnier instantly.

Gardner: The dismantling of Rashid Khan. A precipitous fall for Afghanistan's precocious legspinner.

Krishnaswamy: The Edgbaston pitch for New Zealand-South Africa. Tricky, two-paced, perfect for ODIs.

Best phase of play

Monga: Trent Boult - best bowler in the first Powerplay for a period of time now - not minding going for runs but keeping the ball up to draw any help from the wicket. He bowled Quinton de Kock with one that seamed in even though he did get hit for more boundaries than others. It was bold, it was precise, it was beautiful.

Bal: The last ten overs of New Zealand v South Africa. Spills and thrills, twists and turns, dot balls, tension, a World Cup campaign on the line, nerves, desperation, and that little dab from Williamson to third man

Fernando: Shakib Al Hasan and Liton Das hooking and pulling the West Indies attack into oblivion in Taunton.

Krishnaswamy: Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis vs Trent Boult and Matt Henry. Full lengths, swing, leaves outside off - how often do you see any of that in ODIs?

Tactical masterstroke

Krishnaswamy: It was inadvertent, but Vijay Shankar coming on in the middle of the over and swinging one into Imam-ul-Haq after Bhuvneshwar Kumar had swung everything away and beaten his outside edge three times in four balls.

Gardner: South Africa plugging Kane Williamson's release shot to third man was smart (though it couldn't stop the frictionless genius).

Fernando: South Africa spreading out their chokes over many little moments through their campaign, rather than saving it up for one major cataclysmic event, as is their usual tradition.

Facepalm moment

Bal: Sarfraz Ahmed inserting India. Just what was he thinking?

Krishnaswamy: Fakhar Zaman throwing to the wrong end when he had all the time in the world, with Rohit Sharma two-thirds of the way to being run out.

Gardner: Everything about South Africa's fielding at Edgbaston - unforgivable with their tournament on the line.

Monga: Andre Russell carrying on fielding with that limp. Actually Russell playing in the first place with that limp.

Fernando: The whole, unraveling Afghanistan campaign. I had such high hopes.