Tony Becca ON THE BOUNDARY
In winning the tournament for the third time, the same number as Australia, India recovered from losing their opening match to the West Indies when, after limiting India to 166 for eight, the West Indies eased to 167 for six in 47.1 overs.
From then onwards, while the West Indies topped the group by winning all three matches against India, Papua New Guinea, and Zimbabwe, to march into the quarter-finals undefeated, while the West Indies lost to New Zealand in the quarter-finals when they gave up 18 runs in the final over, and while the West Indies defeated Pakistan before losing the fifth-place play-off to England, India sailed through the tournament before defeating Australia in the final.
And India did so in fine style.
After winning the toss and sending Australia to bat on what appeared to be a nice, hard, bouncy pitch, India ripped Australia apart as wickets fell at two, eight, 38, 38, and 105 before limiting them to 225 for eight with captain William Bosisto scoring 87 not out.
Bosisto, in fact, batted six times throughout the tournament, was not out five times, scored 276 runs, and averaged 276.
Just as Australia were not the best team at the tournament, however, so was Bosisto not the best batsman.
That honour belonged to the captain of India, Unmukt Chand, an opening batsman who hit 111 not out out of 227 for four off 47.4 overs in the final, and who scored 246 runs and averaged only 49.2, despite hitting the highest ever in a World Cup final.
I did not see all the matches in the tournament, but I was able to see some of them, and from what I saw, the tournament was good, the action was good, some of the youngsters were brilliant, and India were the best team.
In fact, the West Indies may now be kicking themselves for finishing sixth, for losing to New Zealand and to England after beating India.
As it turned out, however, the West Indies were either lucky to get India before India had hit form or before Chand and their bowlers had run into form. Either that, or they were lucky on the day.
India were the best team. Neither the West Indies nor any other team had a batsman to compare with Chand, not even South Africa and Quentin de Kock, and neither did they possess a bowler to put alongside Sandeep Sharma, Ravikant Singh, and Hameet Singh.
India's fielding also was superb.
Chand is technically brilliant, he has all the shots, and as former Australian captain Ian Chappell said time and time again, he is ready for bigger things.
Put a batsman like that in the same side with a pacer like Sharma, who swings the ball in and out alarmingly, a fast bowler like Ravikant Singh, who swings the ball mostly away while bowling at a fair clip, a left-handed slow bowler like Hameet Singh, who is almost a reincarnation of Bishen Bedi, and a fielding team of such brilliance, and you have, along with the off-spin of Baba Aparajith, who batted at number three, a winning combination.
batting below expectations
While the bowling during the tournament was good, even though 15 centuries were scored, the batting was, generally speaking, below expectations, and especially so as far as the West Indies were concerned.
Most of the top batsmen going into the tournament performed against the weak teams, but not so the best of the bowlers.
Although Rahul Vishwakarma of Nepal, a slow left-arm bowler, grabbed six wickets for three runs off 6.2 overs against Papua New Guinea, and George Dockerell of Ireland, another slow left-armer, conceded a miserly eight runs off 10 overs while taking one wicket against Namibia, not so the successful bowlers.
Dockerell, a member of Ireland's senior World Cup team, conceded 26 runs off 10 overs against England, and a mere 10 runs off 10 overs while taking one wicket against Australia.
The best of the bowlers, however, in my opinion, apart from the Indians, were four tall and big youngsters. They were Gurinder Sandhu - an Australian fast-medium bowler, the English twins - fast bowlers Craig and Jamie Overton, and Reece Topley - a tall left-handed fast bowler from England who ended up with 19 wickets, the most in the tournament and the second best of all time.
Apart from Barbadian Kyle Mayers, who finished fourth among the wickets with 12 at an average of 11.93, and Ronsford Beaton of Montserrat and Guyana, who bowled with pace and finished in 27th position with eight wickets at an average of 20.12, the West Indies representatives, based on what I saw, performed moderately with none of them doing so brilliantly.
The possible exceptions were Mayers, Beaton, and Test player Barbadian Kraigg Brathwaite, who scored 213 runs and hit a top score of 70 not out for an average of 53.25.
With Anamul Haque of Bangladesh scoring 365 runs including two centuries, one against Pakistan and one against Sri Lanka for an average of 60.83, and with Babar Azam of Pakistan scoring 287 runs, including one century, at an average of 57.40, Brathwaithe finished 13th in the batting, Jon Campbell of Jamaica, who scored 165 runs, including one century, 105 versus England, at an average of 33.00, finished 32nd, and Sunil Ambris of St Vincent, who scored 131 runs at an average of 21.83, finished 43rd.
Of the bowlers, Jerome Jones of Barbados finished in 21st position with nine wickets at an average of 17.77, and Justin Greaves finished in 30th position with eight wickets at an average of 22.87.
Against those performances is the fact that Vishwakarma of lowly Nepal, with six wickets for three runs, and Javed Ahmadi of newcomers Afghanistan, with 134 off 111 deliveries, with 17 fours and four sixes, returned the best individual performances, statistically, during the tournament which included England. Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, and, of course, the West Indies.
It was great for them and disappointing for England, South Africa, and others like the West Indies, if not India.