Coach Gary Kirsten says he is the “Superman” of the team, a thumping endorsement for a cricketer who spent much of 2010 in the wilderness, searching for form and fitness. Yuvraj Singh timed his turnaround to perfection—he has been the fulcrum of the Indian campaign at the tournament, scoring crucial runs and picking up wickets regularly to establish himself as the team’s primary match winner. His sky-high batting average in the World Cup is also a consequence of the fact that he has remained unbeaten in three of the six innings he has played so far—taking India to victory with calm, responsible and intelligent run-scoring in the middle order.
Runs : 341
Highest score: 113
100s: 1 50s: 4
Captain M.S. Dhoni’s man for all seasons, Zaheer Khan has single-handedly made up for India’s otherwise under-performing bowling attack. Khan was given the ball every time a flourishing partnership had to be broken, or runs had to be stemmed. He obliged in both situations—bowling with the new ball and the old ball with equal panache. He snatched a tie from the jaws of defeat against England in the group stage, picking up two wickets from successive deliveries. He set up the win against West Indies, and more crucially, brought the powerful Australian juggernaut to a halt in the quarter-final.
Best bowling: 3/20
The batting genius with an insatiable thirst for runs and an inexhaustible passion for the game can do no wrong. Sachin Tendulkar’s 115-ball 120 against England in the league stage set the platform for the most thrilling game of the Cup so far. He followed that up with a flawless 101-ball 111 against South Africa in another edge-of-the-seat contest that saw him end up on the losing side. With 2,175 World Cup runs so far, he is the highest scorer in the history of the tournament by quite some margin—Ricky Ponting is second with 1,743 runs.
Runs : 379
Highest score: 120
100s: 2 50s: 1
At just 22, Tim Southee was perhaps the youngest bowler in the World Cup shouldering the responsibility of leading the attack. He did not disappoint, swinging the ball both ways and picking up crucial wickets to push the unfancied Kiwis all the way to the semi-final, before they lost to Sri Lanka. Former South African fast bowler and now New Zealand bowling coach Allan Donald says Southee “can become the world’s best swing bowler”. At this World Cup, he’s taken his first step in that direction.
Best bowling: 3/13
The most electric and aggressive of openers in any form of the game today, that doesn’t stop Tillakaratne Dilshan from notching up big scores consistently, and leading the scorer’s list in this World Cup. With a strike rate of almost 100, an average over 65, two double-century opening stands in the World Cup so far, and a match-winning 73 in the semi-final against New Zealand, what more can anyone want from a player? Wickets, of course. Dilshan’s deceptively simple off-spin got him seven of those in the tournament, one more than India’s strike bowler Harbhajan Singh. A complete One Day package.
Runs : 467
Highest score: 144
100s: 2 50s: 2
England’s heart-stopping World Cup campaign, thrilling and gritty in equal measure, was built around the rock-like presence of Jonathan Trott at No. 3 in the batting order. Trott’s five 50s in seven innings was perhaps the only consistent display from an England player in a topsy-turvy campaign that lit up the league stage of the World Cup. That he is No. 2 on the run-scoring charts at this World Cup without a single century is testament to his sheer doggedness in accumulating runs—a habit he acquired during England’s Ashes win in 2010-2011.
Runs : 422
Highest score: 92
Destructive batsman-turned-devastating bowler, the Pakistan captain has been in uncanny touch with the ball at the World Cup. Sharp turn, feisty bounce, two varieties of googlies, sliders, faster ones, straighter ones—Shahid Afridi’s devilish variety and crafty bowling brain have been the backbone of Pakistan’s campaign in the tournament. His five wickets for 16 runs against Kenya in the league stage are the best bowling figures for a spinner in any World Cup. His four-wicket haul sent West Indies crashing in the quarter-final. Additionally, he has succeeded in maintaining tight discipline in the Pakistan squad, a feat no less heroic than his ruthless bowling.
Best bowling: 5/16
*The statistics do not reflect the India- Pakistan semi-final on 30 March.