The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 is halfway through and we have our favourites set. The league stage, which consists of 45 matches, has completed 24 matches as of October 25. While the World Cup has seen many sparkling performances, plenty of big names have been surprisingly poor. This has resulted in teams like England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka struggling to make their mark in the tournament. Here’s a look at the XI that has been well below expectations, thus not helping their side’s cause at all.
1. Temba Bavuma
South Africa’s Temba Bavuma has only played three of their five matches, missing out the other two games due to illness. Bavuma, however, has not been up to the mark and has not made it beyond the powerplay overs in any of the matches he has played. Bavuma has scored 59 runs in three matches and his strike-rate of 64.83 isn’t helping South Africa’s cause as well.
2. Jonny Bairstow
At the beginning of the tournament, fans would expect Jonny Bairstow to be one of the top five run-scorers, as the Englishman comes with such a reputation. However, he has been underwhelming so far in the tournament, scoring only 97 runs in four matches. Bairstow also has great experience of playing in Indian conditions and the numbers do not do justice to his ability.
3. Babar Azam
Pakistan’s World Cup campaign got off to a good start but totally lost track with three defeats on the trot. However, they are yet to get a meaningful contribution with the bat from their skipper Babar Azam. Currently ranked world No. 1 in ODIs, Babar Azam has scored 207 runs in six matches at an average of 34.50. This tally includes only one half-century and his struggles have reflected directly on the team’s performances.
4. Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler has been a key figure in England’s ODI World Cup and T20 World Cup triumphs, but in India, the skipper is struggling to make his mark. He has scored 87 runs in four matches, averaging 21.75. He got a few good starts but is yet to contribute with a trademark innings, which usually wins England matches by itself.
5. Najmul Hossain Shanto
Najmul Hossain Shanto is one of the more experienced players in Bangladesh, but the tournament so far has not been memorable for him. Shanto even captained the side in a couple of matches when Shakib Al Hasan missed out. However, in five matches, he has only scored 74 runs and comes in to bat at a crucial No. 3 or 4 position, which ultimately puts the side under pressure.
6. Liam Livingstone
England’s World Cup campaign has not been working wonders and it is largely because their star batters haven’t turned up. Liam Livingstone, who has good experience of playing in Indian conditions through IPL, has struggled to make his mark, scoring only 34 runs in three matches. He has picked up two wickets with the ball, but with him not firing with the bat, England have been falling short in the middle order.
7. Dhananjaya de Silva
Sri Lanka depend heavily on Dhananjaya de Silva as he is one of the few players who can contribute well with the bat and ball. Silva, however, is yet to pick up a wicket with the ball and has been expensive (economy – 6.73). With the bat, he hit 73 runs at a strike-rate of 74.48, which is far from the standard he operates in.
8. Shadab Khan
Pakistan’s star all-rounder Shadab Khan is struggling to make the most of the spinner-friendly conditions. He is yet to make a difference with the bat as well, forcing Babar Azam to drop him in the match against Australia. He scored 74 runs in four matches while picking up only two wickets at a bad average of 90.
9. Maheesh Theekshana
Maheesh Theekshana’s mystery spin was supposed to catch batters by surprise and give Sri Lanka the edge in the bowling attack. However, the off-spinner isn’t enjoying the best of tournaments, picking up only two wickets in four matches and averaging a poor 76 with the ball. With Sri Lanka being riddled with injuries, they desperately need him to return to form.
10. Mustafizur Rahman
Mustafizur Rahman is one of the best pacers on his day, but at the ICC World Cup 2023, he has been far from his best. The left-arm seamer picked up only two wickets in five matches and is averaging 119.50 with the ball. Mustafizur Rahman is the bowler captains go for at crucial times and with the pacer not being up to the mark, Bangladesh have struggled further.
11. Fazalhaq Farooqi
Afghanistan have had a terrific campaign so far, where they have already exceeded expectations. However, the side needs a lot more from their new ball bowler Fazalhaq Farooqi. Farooqi picked up two wickets in the tournament, which included a good new ball spell against England, but he has been far too inconsistent. Farooqi averages 79 in the tournament and his economy too is above six, which isn’t a good sign for Afghanistan.
*(Stats updated as of October 25)
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