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The shortcomings of every team in CWC23 barring the perfect India

Last updated on 02 Nov 2023 | 04:37 PM
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The shortcomings of every team in CWC23 barring the perfect India

With 12 league games to go, we look back at which team has lagged behind in which department

The World Cup 2023 is at the business end of its league stage. More than 2/3rd of the round-robin games are done with a few teams already booking their tickets for the flight back home. Some other sides are in with a mathematical chance and others have one foot inside. With 12 games to go, which team has lagged behind in which department that has had or can have a decisive impact on their fortunes.

The piece does not include India. The Men in Blue have won each of their seven games without showing any chink in their armour. Instead they top various facets - best bowling average and economy overall, best batting average vs spin, best powerplay bowling average and a few more. 

*All stats until Match 33

England - a complete batting failure

England came into the World Cup with bowling as their weaker suit. However, the explosive nature of their batting line-up was supposed to cover up for their bowling frailties. None of that has transpired. 

The Three Lions’ top seven average 23 in this competition, the second lowest after Netherlands’ 22.8. In each of their last four innings, they have been bundled out under 35 overs. Joe Root urged the team to step up for the skipper but the batters have only embarrassed themselves more. 

Here is what happened next: On a good batting deck, England were bowled out for 156 after opting to bat first against the struggling bowling line up of Sri Lanka. Against India, England were 40/4 after the powerplay, playing one outrageous shot after the other. Chasing 230, they lost by 100 runs. 

There is nothing more to add here. The defending champions have simply crashed on all batting metrics. Their strike-rate numbers are alright but they matter little when they are not batting long enough. 

Sri Lanka - spin bowling

Sri Lanka’s batting has been on and off but the bowling has fallen off the radar. They have the worst economy (6.4) and bowling average (44.6) in the tournament. You may want cut them some slack given the injuries in their camp. Their fast bowlers are never fit and keep getting rotated in a big tournament. However, it is the absence of their key spinner that has hurt them the most this World Cup.

In the absence of Wanindu Hasaranga, Sri Lanka have the worst spin bowling average by a distance. The finger spinners, Maheesh Theekshana and Dunith Wellalage have picked only five wickets in 84.4 overs between them. The part-timers, Dhananjaya de Silva and Charith Asalanka have not struck at all. 

It is biting Sri Lanka hard. With Dilshan Madushanka striking early, they are not able to keep the pressure on with their spinners. Sri Lanka also have the worst economy and average in the death overs, a consequence of the opposition batters getting their eye in against the spinners. 

South Africa - death bowling

For South Africa to have a good World Cup, several things needed to go right. Their strong position on the points table tells you they have ticked those boxes. In the only caveat, Proteas death overs bowling is their concern. The numbers will not reflect that owing to their strong show in the first 10 overs and then from the spinners. 

However, thrice they have struggled to close out the innings on a good note. Their mammoth score batting first meant it was inconsequential against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka but the Netherlands knocked them down with over 100 runs in the last 10 overs of their innings. 

South Africa ticking other boxes means their death bowling has not always been tested. But that is one area where they need to fix before more relevant games. 

Australia - batting vs spin during overs 11 to 40

Picking up momentum in the tournament, Australia seem to be covering all bases. However, there is a chink in the middle-order. The five-time champions have trouble facing spin during over 11 - 40. 

Australia have the third-lowest batting average against spin in this phase (although much better than England and Netherlands) and the fourth-lowest strike rate. 

It does not look too bad but Australia have already undergone a few slumps while batting. On a challenging pitch against India, they slumped from 110/2 to 140/7. Against South Africa, the top order crippled and the rest of the batters threw in the towel. Even versus Pakistan, after hundreds from both openers, the innings fell apart once David Warner was out for 163. Post Warner’s dismissal, Australia scored only 42/5 in 43 balls. 

The problem remains unsolved despite Travis Head’s return. Glenn Maxwell has been recently ruled out from Australia’s next fixture and Mitchell Marsh has returned home due to personal reasons. There is a lot happening in Australia’s unsettled middle order at the moment. 

Pakistan - powerplay wickets

With a potent pace attack, Pakistan were supposed to wreak havoc in the powerplay. But the ball has not swung this tournament and Pakistan have bore the brunt of it. Before the win over Bangladesh, Shaheen Afridi managed only two new ball wickets in 24 overs for 138 runs. Haris Rauf has been rather disappointing, picking only one wicket in the powerplay, conceding at 9.4 runs per over. 

In the absence of Naseem Shah, their most economical powerplay bowler in the build-up of this World Cup, Pakistan have suffered to cut the runs and pick wickets. The Men in Green have been one of the best bowling units in the last 10 overs but it is turning out to be a resurrection too late. Given their poor spin bowling numbers, the lack of wickets upfront has hurt them dearly. 

New Zealand - fitness

A six-week long tournament can test teams on fitness standards. That misfortune has fallen on New Zealand. They started the tournament carrying two injured players - Kane Williamson and Tim Southee. Williamson returned for a game but received another blow through no fault of his own which ruled him out again. Lockie Ferguson missed the first game due to a strain. 

Southee has returned but things have started to get worse for the Kiwis. Matt Henry is set to be ruled out of the tournament with an injured hamstring. Ferguson is injured again. New Zealand started the tournament with Kyle Jamieson as a traveling reserve but sent him back. Now, with only a three-day gap between their game against South Africa and Pakistan, they have been forced to call him back. 

New Zealand have not struggled with their fifth bowling option. At a time when their campaign has hit a slump, those numbers can get worse, putting their campaign under threat. 

Afghanistan - pace bowling

The Afghan spinners have done alright in terms of keeping an eye on runs but have not received the support from pacers. Afghanistan pacers possess the third-worst bowling average (38.9) and the second-worst economy (6.6). They have the second-worst average (62.7) and the second-worst economy (5.9) in the powerplay. They rank the same in these metrics during the death overs - average 32, economy 9.8. 

Bangladesh and Netherlands - batting

Both sides languish in the bottom half of the table in terms of batting average. The Netherlands are at the bottom at only 21.6 runs per wicket. Bangladesh, a much more experienced side, are third-lowest after England and the Netherlands, losing wickets at 24 runs apiece. Their skipper Shakib Al Hasan has castigated the batting after each of their six defeats. 

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