sports gazette

Cricket World Cup 2015: Team of the tournament

Published: 30 Mar 2015

Australia were crowned World Champions on Sunday after beating co-hosts New Zealand in front of 93,000 spectators at the MCG.

The tournament has produced some phenomenal innings, majestic spells, huge scores and spectacular catches, but who deserves a place in the Sport Gazette’s team of the tournament?

1. Martin Guptill, New Zealand
547 runs @ 68.37 | SR 104.58 | Best: 237* v West Indies

After a patchy World Cup preparation, Martin Guptill struck form with a century against Bangladesh. The Black Caps opener followed that with a majestic and record-breaking 237 not out against the West Indies, which included 24 fours and 11 maximums. Guptill finished the competition as top scorer and confirmed his status as one of the best fielders in the world with four stunning catches.

2. Brendon McCullum, New Zealand - captain
328 runs @ 36.44 | SR 188.50 | Best: 77 v England

While New Zealand’s skipper failed to score a ton, he passed 50 four times playing an aggressive and explosive style of cricket. The 33-year-old hit the same number of sixes as the entire England team (17) and his attacking and innovative captaincy was both inspirational and integral to the Kiwis’ success on home soil.

3. Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka - wicket-keeper
541 runs @ 108.20 | SR 105.87 | Best: 117* v England

The Sri Lankan veteran missed out on finishing as top scorer by just six runs, despite having two fewer knocks than Guptill. This was the perfect farewell tournament for one of the modern greats, who bowed out of one-day cricket with four consecutive centuries. His unbeaten 117 against England was vintage Sangakkara.

4. Steve Smith, Australia
402 runs @ 67.00 | SR 91.75 | Best: 105 v India

The in-form batsman over the past 12 months didn’t disappoint at cricket’s pinnacle tournament. Smith was the only player to surpass 50 five times and became the first Australian to hit a World Cup semi-final century. The 25-year-old topped off a wonderful summer Down Under by hitting the winning runs against New Zealand.

5. AB de Villiers, South Africa
482 runs @ 96.40 | SR 144.31 | Best: 162* v West Indies

AB justified his reputation as the most dangerous batsman in ODI cricket with a series of devastating knocks. He struck the fastest 150 in one-day history from 64 balls against West Indies, before blasting fifties against Pakistan, UAE and New Zealand. The Proteas’ skipper was also at his energetic best in the field, and even excelled with the ball, picking up four rare wickets.

6. Glenn Maxwell, Australia
324 runs @ 64.80 | SR 182.02 | 6 wickets | Best: 102 v Sri Lanka

One month before the World Cup, the Australian selectors were questioning whether ‘The Big Show’ deserved a slot in the hosts’ squad. Fast-forward ten weeks and Maxwell has proved his doubters sensationally wrong. His 53-ball century against Sri Lanka contained an array of shots never seen before. Maxwell smashed two other fifties and picked up 6 valuable wickets.

7. Corey Anderson, New Zealand
231 runs @ 33.00 | SR 108.45 | 14 wickets | Best: 75 v Sri Lanka

Anderson was of the most reliable contributors in a well-oiled and efficient New Zealand team. He scored two fifties at faster than a run-a-ball, including a crucial 58 in the Kiwis’ semi-final win over South Africa. The 24-year-old also recorded a three-fer in that game, and only failed to pick up a wicket in two matches.

8. Mitchell Starc, Australia
22 wickets @ 10.18 | econ 3.50 | Best: 6/28 v New Zealand

The tournament’s stand-out bowler took a wicket every 17 balls and claimed at least two scalps a game. Starc’s economy rate of 3.50 would have been fantastic in any World Cup but, given the competition’s overall run-rate, it was a simply magnificent achievement. The left-arm quick bowled with pace, accuracy, aggression and incredible skill, and was rightly named player of the tournament.

9. Trent Boult, New Zealand
22 wickets @ 16.86 | econ 4.36 | Best: 5/27 v Australia

The only other genuine contender for player of the tournament also claimed 22 wickets. Boult was a prolific wicket-taker at the start and end of the innings and produced one of the great World Cup spells as he tore through Australia’s batting line-up on the way to a five-wicket haul. The 25-year-old paceman also bowled 14 maidens – twice as many as any other bowler.

10. Wahab Riaz, Pakistan
16 wickets @ 23.00 | econ 5.56 | Best: 2/54 v Australia

Wahab Riaz produced one of the most fearsome and impressive spells in World Cup history in the semi-finals against Australia. His figures only read 2/54, but it could have been so different if Pakistan had held onto their catches. The pace of Riaz also catalysed South Africa’s collapse in the group stage and a victory which ensured Pakistan’s progression to the quarter-final stage.

11. Imran Tahir, South Africa
15 wickets @ 21.53 | econ 4.23 | Best: 5/45 v West Indies

Imran Tahir and Daniel Vettori both claimed 15 wickets at the World Cup. The Kiwi was arguably the most consistent spinner during the tournament, but it was the leg-spinning South African who produced the most impressive spells of spin bowling. The veteran ripped through Sri Lanka’s middle-order in the quarter-final to set up a comfortable victory and, while wicket-less in the semi-final loss to New Zealand, Tahir was comfortably the most economical bowler in a high-scoring game.

Disagree with any of our selections? Let us know on Twitter @SportsGazette.

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