The Group Stage - how did the six teams bundled out of the World Cup fare during the event?
After six weeks and 45 matches, the Group Stage of the 2019 World Cup is over and the Final Four has been finalised. The group of teams that advanced isn’t exactly a surprise, and the success or failure of their tournament will be determined over the coming days. For the remaining six teams, the World Cup is over for another four years, and each team will leave England with a different perspective on how they performed.
Afghanistan came into the World Cup as the least known cricketing nations of the ten competitors, having developed the sport in their country incredibly successfully over recent years. Qualifying was an achievement in itself, but with such a potent spin-bowling attack they seemed a chance to ruffle a few feathers as well. Unfortunately, they failed to do so, going through the event winless from nine games. In the early stages they seemed overwhelmed on the big stage, losing all of their first five games convincingly, but from then onwards they flicked a switch, matching it with some of the better teams at the tournament. It started when they kept India to just 224 in their sixth game before falling just 11 runs short in the chase, and after that they also went within two deliveries of defeating Pakistan and 23 runs of beating the Windies. They’ll be disappointed they couldn’t earn themselves a victory, but the second half of the tournament would have given the inexperienced Afghanistan team confidence moving forward.
Rating : 4.5/10
Bangladesh have been developing strongly as a cricketing nation for the past decade, and though they have stagnated a little in recent times they still had plenty of reason to believe they could compete with most teams at this event. They started promisingly, defeating the highly touted South African’s in their first game, and would go on to thump the West Indies in an impressive run chase and comfortably beat Afghanistan. They also came within 28 runs of India, two wickets of the Kiwis and put up 333 against Australia, proving their mettle against the best in the business. Shakib Al Hasan, for a long time one of the best all-rounders in the world, proved just how good he is and has a strong case for player of the tournament, notching up an incredible five 50s and two 100s from his eight innings to finish with an average of 86.57 and a strike rate of 96.03, while also snaring 11 wickets at 36.27.
Rating : 5.5/10
Pakistan had a bizarre tournament, and yet at the end of it missed the Final Four only on net run rate. Their event started off in the worst possible way as they were rolled for just 105 by the West Indies, a total which was chased down in just 13.4 overs. They followed that up by beating tournament favourites England. They settled a little after that, losing to Australia and India while beating the likes of Bangladesh and Afghanistan, but the inconsistencies were still evident. The win over Afghanistan came with just two balls remaining, and yet they managed to beat New Zealand by six wickets and South Africa by 49 runs. A little more consistency would presumably have been appreciated by fans, but considering their start to the World Cup they can be reasonably happy with how things went.
Rating : 6.5/10
Sri Lanka’s tournament wasn’t dissimilar to Pakistan’s, albeit they finished a few points back. The Lankans started off by getting belted, being bowled out for 136 against New Zealand and ultimately losing by 10 wickets with 33.5 overs to spare. They then beat Afghanistan, had a couple of washouts and lost comfortably to Australia, before beating England by 20 runs in a somewhat random result. They then got pummelled by nine wickets by South Africa, before doing a bit of pummelling themselves as they accumulated 338 runs against the West Indies on their way to a third victory of the World Cup. They ended up in sixth place with a 3-4 record, and while they could argue they were unlucky with two washouts against Bangladesh and Pakistan, even wins in these games wouldn’t have been enough to earn them a place in the Final Four.
Rating : 5.5/10
South Africa entered the World Cup expecting to be battling against New Zealand for the fourth spot in the Final Four, but they hardly put up a whimper from the beginning of the tournament. They were handed a tough start to the draw with games against India and England in their first three, but they were belted in both of them and also went down to Bangladesh in their second game. Their first victory didn’t come until they faced Afghanistan in their fifth game, and their only others came against first Sri Lanka and then Australia to finish off the tournament when it was all too late. The victory against Australia showed what they were capable of – unfortunately, in their ninth game of the Group Stage, all it served to do was prove that they had underperformed throughout the rest of the event in yet another disappointing World Cup campaign.
Rating : 2/10
The West Indies haven’t been much of a force in 50-over cricket for quite a while, but this team had the potential to do some damage at the tournament. At various points throughout, they certainly seemed like they were about to do just that, and yet they somehow managed only two wins and finished in ninth place in the standings. Their first win was impressive, coming on the second day of the World Cup when they chased down Pakistan’s 105 in just 13.4 overs. They didn’t win another until their last game, against Sri Lanka, but in between were a number of close losses. They fell just 15 runs short in their run chase against the Australian’s and just five runs short against New Zealand – both teams who will compete in the finals. But their consistency was lacking ; they were bowled out for 143 against India, saw England chase down their total with eight wickets and 16.5 overs in hand, and allowed Sri Lanka 338 runs and Bangladesh 322 in just 41.3 overs. The Windies have certainly improved and have a number of talented players on their team, but their inability to play at a high level every match cost them dearly. The tournament was one of mixed fortunes – on the one hand, many would argue it marked the return of the West Indies as a competent team on the world stage, while others will say they were haunted by the same problems they have had for years.
Rating : 5/10