World Cup 2019: Team of group stage – Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni miss out, 4 Indians make the cut

July 7, 2019, Delhi

CricketICC World Cup


After 37 days, 45 matches – some great, some dull, some one-sided, some wash outs – the ICC World Cup 2019 got its four semi-finalists in India, Australia, England and New Zealand, who will fight it out for the silverware. Each of those teams advanced to the semi-finals riding on the back of some brilliant individual performances. What separated the top four teams from the rest was the supporting act played to perfection by the other members of the squad. Ask Shakib Al Hasan or Babar Azam and they will perhaps be able to explain the need of team performance better. Both Bangladesh and Pakistan were knocked out despite individual brilliance from the two.

Here is the World Cup XI of the 2019 edition of the tournament, selected purely based on performance and impact they had till the group stage.

Rohit Sharma
India’s Rohit Sharma celebrates after reaching his century during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between Sri Lanka and India at Headingley in Leeds, northern England, on July 6, 2019.

A no-brainer isn’t it? You cannot look beyond or for that matter of fact look anywhere else but Rohit Sharma. 5 centuries in 8 innings – the most in a single edition of a World cup – 647 runs at an average of 92, scored at a strike rate of 98.77. It is hard to think of any player who has had such a prolific run in a World Cup. Sachin Tendulkar surpassed all records by scoring 673 runs in 2003 World Cup and even if Rohit misfires in the knockout stages, he has high chances of toppling Tendulkar’s feat.

David Warner
Australia’s David Warner celebrates after scoring a century during the Cricket World Cup match between Australia and South Africa at Old Trafford in Manchester, Saturday, July 6, 2019.

Boos, boos and some more boos but to what effect? None. David Warner not only let his bat do the talking but also controlled the flow of words (read runs)coming out of it to such an extent that even his approach was questioned by many. But the dogged left-hander battled it out, curbed his natural instincts, tried to be the ‘senior’ in Australia’s batting line-up and amassed 638 runs with 3 hundreds and 3 fifties. Warner’s 166-run knocks against Bangladesh is still the highest individual score of this edition.

Shakib Al Hasan
Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between Bangladesh and India at Edgbaston in Birmingham, central England, on July 2, 2019.

Who’s the best No. 3 in ODIs? Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson or Joe Root? What if we say Shakib Al Hasan? The Bangladesh all-rounder showed what he could have achieved had the Bangladesh team management decided to send him up the order earlier. Better late than never, as they say. Shakib batted at No.3 in all of Bangladesh’s group stage matches and scored 606 runs with 2 hundreds and 5 fifties. He became the first cricketer to score 7 fifty+ scores in a World Cup. It doesn’t end there. He picked up 11 wickets with his crafty left-arm spin and choked the opponent in middle overs, becoming the only cricketer to score 500+ runs and pick up more than 10 wickets in a World Cup.

Kane Williamson (c)
ICC Cricket World Cup – England v New Zealand – Emirates Riverside, Chester-Le-Street, Britain – July 3, 2019 New Zealand’s Kane Williamson in ation Action Images

It’s never easy to choose between Williamson, Kohli and Root. Throw Babar Azam in the mix, the choice becomes even more difficult. But it’s in those difficult scenarios that Williamson has thrived in this World Cup and has made it as the No. 4 in our World Cup 2019 XI. Williamson has scored 481 runs in 7 innings in this World Cup and the majority of those have come when New Zealand were in a stifle after losing openers, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro early. He has also marshalled his troops incredibly well and will lead this illustrious side.

Ben Stokes
ICC Cricket World Cup – England v New Zealand – Emirates Riverside, Chester-Le-Street, Britain – July 3, 2019 England’s Ben Stokes in action

England needed runs they looked at Ben Stokes. England needed wickets, they first looked at Archer and then turned to Ben Stokes and he delivered more often than not. He made the No. 5 spot his own, scoring four consecutive 50+ scores in the group stages, pretty much carrying the England innings when Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan, and Jos Buttler did not get many. 381 runs and 7 wickets in 9 matches, Stokes performed the role of an all-rounder to perfection and not to forget the catches he took in the boundary line.

Hardik Pandya
India’s Hardik Pandya bowls during the Cricket World Cup match between India and Sri Lanka at Headingley in Leeds, England, Saturday, July 6, 2019.

If there is anyone who can give Ben Stokes a run for his money for the best seam-bowling all-rounder’s tag in this World Cup, it has to be India’s Hardik Pandya. Unlike Stokes, Pandya shone more with the ball than with the willow in his hand. He picked up 9 wickets in 8 matches and pretty much all of those 9 came when India needed a breakthrough. Pandya has been an unsung hero behind the Bumrahs and Shamis in India’s bowling unit. He hasn’t done too badly with the bat too. He has scored 194 runs in 8 innings at a strike rate touching 120, which is more than acceptable considering the position and situation he comes in to bat.

Alex Carey
ICC Cricket World Cup – Australia v South Africa – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – July 6, 2019 Australia’s Alex Carey in action Action

There was Jos Buttler, there was MS Dhoni, there was Mushfiqur Rahim and Tom Latham too but it was Australia’s young wicket-keeper batsman Alex Carey who surpassed them all by emerging as the best wicket-keeper batsman of World Cup 2019. Carey has so far scored 329 runs at a brisk pace and has kept very well to the likes of Starc and Lyon.

Mitchell Starc
ICC Cricket World Cup – Australia v South Africa – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – July 6, 2019 Australia’s Mitchell Starc in action

Wickets and Mitchell Starc have become somewhat synonymous in World cup cricket. The highest wicket-taker of the last edition of World Cup is miles ahead even in this edition. With 26 wickets, Starc equaled Glenn McGrath’s record for most wickets in a single edition of a World Cup

Jofra Archer
ICC Cricket World Cup – England v New Zealand – Emirates Riverside, Chester-Le-Street, Britain – July 3, 2019 England’s Jofra Archer celebrates taking the wicket of New Zealand’s Martin Guptill

Archer is perhaps the only bowler who has struck fear in the opposition’s mind. It was visible when they took guard against the Barbados-born fast bowler. He touched 150 km/h at will. Has been equally effective both with new and old ball. He has so far picked up 17 wickets in the tournament.

Jasprit Bumrah
ICC Cricket World Cup – Sri Lanka v India – Headingley, Leeds, Britain – July 6, 2019 India’s Jasprit Bumrah celebrates taking the wicket of Sri Lanka’s Kusal Perera

Is there a better death bowler than Jasprit Bumrah at the moment in world cricket? Most will answer in negative. Bumrah lived up to his billing and has pretty much single-handedly taken the burden of bowling the difficult overs for India. Bumrah has so far sneered 17 wickets and among the top bowlers, he has the best economy rate of only 4.48 in the tournament.

Yuzvendra Chahal
ICC Cricket World Cup – England v India – Edgbaston, Birmingham, Britain – June 30, 2019 India’s Yuzvendra Chahal in action

Spinners have not been able to leave a mark in this World Cup. But among them, India’s Yuzvendra Chahal has been a standout. Barring an off day against England, where he conceded 88 runs in 10 overs – Chahal has brilliant in the middle overs for India. He has picked up 11 wickets in 7 matches.

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