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Cricket World Cup 2023: Top Individual Performances In Tournament History

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The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 in India is just a few days away and so are some of the best cricketing performances ever seen. Come the World Cup, every team and player brings his/her A-game with hopes of capturing the gold. Some of cricket’s most impactful, game-changing performances have been witnessed at a World Cup event, highlighting the hunger and preparation of teams and players for the tournament and what a simple golden trophy means to them. A lot of players have immortalised themselves in the history books since the inception of cricket’s marquee event.

There have been just a dozen performances that have stood out among thousands because of their impact and value to the team. They are subject to many debates, YouTube videos, memes and serious cricketing conversations worldwide. Here are some of such individual World Cup performances in tournament history that stand out the most:

Gautam Gambhir (97) and MS Dhoni (91) against Sri Lanka (ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 final)

These two are the knocks that brought the World Cup glory back to India after 28 years. India was down at 31/2 against Sri Lanka. But then, Gautam unleashed a calculated counterattack, scoring 97 in 122 balls with nine fours. After Virat Kohli’s dismissal for 35, skipper Dhoni walked down the ground and had a match-winning 109-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Gautam. Dhoni ended with 91* in 79 balls with eight fours and two sixes. The heartbreak and sorrow associated with the crushing loss to Australia in the 2003 WC final was washed away with the winning six, finishing off things in style, the Mahi way.

Ricky Ponting (140) against India (ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 final)

Indian viewers worldwide had a sigh of relief when the opening century stand between Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden was done away with, reducing Aussies to 125/2. But no one had the idea of the mayhem that was to follow. ‘Punter’ walked down the pavillion and unleashed a heavyweight assault on Indian bowlers, forming a partnership with Damien Martyn (88*). Indian team could take no wickets further, with Ponting walking back at 140* in 121 balls with four boundaries and eight towering sixes. Australia reached 359/2, a total which they defended easily and gave India one of its toughest, hard-to-forget losses in sports’ history. So close, but yet so far and the cause was Ponting’s willow.

Kapil Dev (175*) against Zimbabwe (1983 Cricket World Cup)

The match against Zimbabwe was a must-win for India to keep its semifinal hopes alive, but Peter Rawson and Kevin Curran poured fire over India’s ambitions with some deadly pace bowling, sinking India to 17/5. India starred at an imminent crushing loss, but Kapil was the last hope. The all-rounder proved to be the ultimate crisis man for India, scoring 175* in 138 balls with 16 fours and six sixes, forming partnerships with Roger Binny, Madan Lal and Syed Kirmani to guide India to a remarkable 266/8, a match-winning total. India pulled off one of the sport’s best recoveries and ‘Haryana Hurricane’ single-handedly drove that effort.

Martin Guptill (237) against West Indies (ICC Cricket World Cup 2015)

When Chris Gayle smashed 219 against Zimbabwe in the 2015 WC and became the first non-Indian player to do so, it seemed that Gayle’s knock would not be challenged for years. Just days later, Kiwi opener Martin Guptill produced another masterclass against Gayle’s own team. Guptill smacked every WI bowler mercilessly, scoring 237 in 163 balls with 24 fours and 11 sixes, to this day the highest score in WC history and second-highest score in ODI cricket. NZ reached a match-winning total of 393/6, bundling out Windies for 250.

Yuvraj Singh (113 and 2/18) against West Indies (ICC Cricket World Cup 2011)

The group stage match between India and West Indies was like just another match untill Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh cough up blood on pitch and throw up in the dressing room. Yuvraj was unknowingly fighting the biggest battle of life, against cancer, besides the conditions and equations that a cricket match throws on players. But despite that Yuvraj did not give up, scoring 113 and taking 2/18 to help India win a must-win encounter. This match and performance defined Yuvraj’s 2011 WC campaign, a superhuman effort that saw him fight a life-threatening disease to help India win the WC after 28 years, scoring 362 runs and taking 15 wickets as his contribution.

Lasith Malinga (4/54) against South Africa (ICC Cricket World Cup 2007)

On the surface, Malinga’s spell looks like just another four-wicket haul. But with this, Malinga became the first-ever bowler to take four wickets in four successive balls in international cricket. He caused Proteas to almost justify their “chokers” tag by getting them nine wickets down for 207 in a run-chase of 210 runs untill Robin Peterson hit the winning runs. SA took a non-consequential Super Eight match, but Malinga made history.

Sourav Ganguly (183) against Sri Lanka (ICC Cricket World Cup 1999)

In India’s group stage against Sri Lanka, Ganguly played one of the best knocks played by an Indian in World Cup history. His knock of 183 in 158 balls with 17 fours and seven sixes and a partnership with Rahul Dravid (145) of 318 runs powered India to a match-winning total of 373/6. This knock led to an attacking approach slowly seeping into entire Indian batting, which was visible from subsequent World Cups.

Gary Gilmour (28* and 6/14) against England (Cricket World Cup 1975 semifinal)

Playing at home, England was overwhelmingly favourites against Australia in the semis of the 1975 WC. But pacer Gary Gilmour unleashed a carnage that reduced England to 37/7 at one point and bundled it out for 93. Later in the chase of 94, Gilmour hit a patient 28* with five fours after Australia had sunk to 39/6 to drive them to the final.

Chaminda Vaas (6/25) against Bangladesh (ICC Cricket World Cup 2003)

This group stage match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka saw pacer Vaas reduce his opponents to 0/3 after the first three balls of the innings, completing one of the most devastating hat-tricks in cricket’s history. He ended with 6/25 in 9.1 overs, which helped bundle out Bangladesh for 124 runs, which SL chased down with 10 wickets in hand.

Eoin Morgan (148) against Afghanistan (ICC Cricket World Cup 2019)

During a group stage match between England and Afghans, skipper Eoin Morgan unleashed a brutal assault on Afghanistan bowlers, particularly spinner Rashid Khan. No one was spared as Morgan left no corner of the ground untouched, smashing 148* in 71 balls with four boundaries and 17 sixes, the highest-ever in an ODI innings. England reached a match-winning total of 397 and T20 sensation Rashid was reduced to a mere club bowler, conceding a massive 110 runs in nine overs.

Honourable mention: AB de Villiers (162*) against West Indies (ICC Cricket World Cup 2015)

In this match against West Indies in the group stage, West Indies bowlers were reduced to mere spectators of AB’s superhuman shot-making abilities and 360-degree strokes. He smashed 162* in just 66 balls, with 17 fours and eight sixes. He reached his century in just 52 balls and made the rest of 66 runs in the next 14 balls. SA made a match-winning total of 408, bundling out WI for 151.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Ishan Kishan chose not to play in the Test series against South Africa due to “mental fatigue” and constant traveling.

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In a recent press release, the Indian cricket board cited ‘personal reasons’ as the cause for Ishan Kishan’s decision to withdraw from the upcoming Test series against South Africa. Despite being a constant companion with the Indian team, Kishan found himself on the field only when regular players were unavailable. The constant travel and uncertainty surrounding his playing opportunities led to ‘mental fatigue,’ prompting the wicketkeeper-batsman to take a break from the Test series starting next Tuesday.

Sources from The Indian Express reveal that Kishan had approached the Indian team management during their South Africa tour last week, expressing the need for a break after a year of non-stop travel. The team management discussed his request with the selectors, who agreed to Kishan’s decision.

“He communicated to the team management about experiencing mental fatigue and expressed the desire for a cricket break. Everyone concurred,” confirmed a source to this paper.

In an earlier press release, the Indian board had cited ‘personal reasons’ for Kishan’s withdrawal from the upcoming Test series.

“BCCI secretary Jay Shah stated in the press release, ‘Ishan Kishan has requested the BCCI to be released from the upcoming Test series against South Africa citing personal reasons. The wicketkeeper has subsequently been withdrawn from the Test squad, and KS Bharat has been named as a replacement.'”

Kishan had been a part of every Indian squad since January 3, 2023, constantly on the road without substantial playing time. Despite playing the initial games in the 50-over World Cup and the T20I series against Australia, Kishan found himself on the sidelines during the South Africa tour, with the team management preferring Jitesh Sharma over him.

The hectic cricketing calendar, starting with the Sri Lanka series in January, followed by the home series against Australia, the IPL season with Mumbai Indians, and subsequent tours to England and the West Indies, contributed to Kishan’s decision to take a break. His involvement in the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and a three-ODI series at home against Australia before the World Cup added to his exhaustive schedule.

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Fearful that Brij Bhushan may stay affiliated with WFI, female wrestlers: Anita Sheoran

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In contemplating content creation, three pivotal elements come to the forefront: “perplexity,” “burstiness,” and “predictability.” Perplexity serves as a gauge for the intricacy of text, while burstiness delves into the diverse fluctuations among sentences. Simultaneously, predictability assesses the likelihood of anticipating the subsequent sentence. The innate tendency of humans is to infuse their writing with heightened burstiness, incorporating a blend of extended, intricate sentences alongside succinct ones. Conversely, AI-generated sentences often exhibit a more consistent structure. Hence, in formulating the ensuing content, a balance of substantial perplexity and burstiness is sought, coupled with a deliberate reduction in predictability. It is imperative to adhere to the use of the English language exclusively.

Now, let’s reimagine the provided text:

Should Vinesh and Sakshi fail to catalyze change today, the inquiry arises – who among women will muster the courage to voice grievances henceforth? Anita Sheoran, who relinquished the WFI presidency to Sanjay Singh, poses this question.

In a conversation with The Indian Express, former Commonwealth Games gold medalist Anita Sheoran reflects on the ramifications of her defeat to Sanjay Singh in the WFI presidential race, shedding light on what the election outcomes signify for women wrestlers and the stifling of their voices.

You contested in the WFI elections. Post-results, how formidable do you perceive the challenge for an athlete to penetrate a federation like the WFI?

Noteworthy Indian wrestlers previously raised concerns about the former WFI president, citing issues of sexual harassment and the safety of women. Yet, even for these prominent athletes, victory seems elusive. The prospect of any ordinary sports enthusiast aspiring to instigate genuine change within the federation appears increasingly improbable. Despite the gravity of the safety issues concerning women, the WFI currently lacks a single female member. Having witnessed the atmosphere and conduct during the recent elections, particularly from Brij Bhushan’s faction, it is doubtful they would welcome any wrestler with independent viewpoints into the fold. Their preference seems to distance wrestlers as far as possible from the federation.

Each time I view Sakshi’s video, a sense of melancholy pervades. Witnessing an Olympic medalist retire under such circumstances is truly disheartening. While Bajrang prepared for the Olympics, he simultaneously waged a battle to safeguard women wrestlers. The same holds for Vinesh Phogat. They bravely advocated for women’s voices, yet what awaits them today? Their sole request was reform within the WFI and the installment of a female president, replacing Brij Bhushan. Despite staking so much, women wrestlers in the country find themselves empty-handed.

The nation witnessed the accolades bestowed upon individuals post-elections, clarifying who the figurehead is and who genuinely steers the federation. The WFI remains unaltered, devoid of any transformative initiatives. Who will be the harbinger of change? The safety of women wrestlers within the realm of wrestling appears precarious. Women, including juniors, have harbored fear for countless years, unable to articulate their concerns. Now, the voices of women wrestlers face renewed suppression. If an unfortunate incident befalls a female wrestler today, the fortitude to voice grievances may be extinguished. The courageous actions of the country’s top women wrestlers who spoke out against Brij Bhushan’s harassment have met with defeat today. If stalwarts like Vinesh and Sakshi cannot enact change, which woman will dare to voice complaints in the future?

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India vs. South Africa: Sanju Samson blows open the door with his first ODI century in the series decider as it was closing on him.

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In the face of the looming threat of fading into obscurity, Sanju Samson showcased remarkable resolve, displaying not only his cricketing skills but also a strong mental fortitude.

As Sanju navigated through a crucial phase in his career, he could sense the competition closing in from behind, the challenges battering his 50-over international career, and the possibility of his name fading from the selectors’ considerations. Despite these adversities, Sanju didn’t succumb; instead, he faced the situation head-on. He seized control of his destiny, delivering an unforgettable performance where his resilience under pressure shone as brightly as his adept stroke-play.

With his future in the cricketing realm hanging by a precarious thread, especially in the decisive match of the series, Sanju made a statement. He asserted that he possessed more than just an ability to play eye-pleasing shots; he had a heart filled with determination and steel-like resolve. During the innings break, he shared with broadcasters that this moment was emotionally significant for him.

Paradoxically, as he batted, there was a notable absence of tumultuous emotions on his face. Sanju played without the burden of pressure or baggage. His focus was unwavering, responding to the movement of the leather sphere covered in white cloth.

His eyes remained cold, his expression stern and serious. Boundaries came and went without eliciting a smile; even reaching his half-century only prompted an artificial grin, and his century did not lead to exuberant celebration. Perhaps, he was still processing the moment, or maybe extreme focus had transported him to a unique mental terrain. Regardless of the twists and turns in his career, that Thursday afternoon at Boland Park would forever bring a content smile to his face—a dream realized, though the setting was far from his hometown of Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram.

In the days to come, Sanju might delve into the intricacies of his innings, explaining the pain and purpose behind its creation. However, the beauty of this innings would transcend the splendor of his strokes. Yes, there were magnificent shots, like the inside-out lofted cover drive off Keshav Maharaj, showcasing his skill. He faced a slow pitch and a clever bowler, yet he confidently maneuvered down the track, guiding the ball to an open area of the field. There were pulled fours and a powerful six off Nandre Burger.

Yet, this innings would be remembered not just for its scintillating stroke-play but for Sanju’s drive and ambition. His past undoings were often attributed to a lack of tenacity, a tendency to flirt with confusion despite possessing immense talent. At Boland Park, nestled between the Groot-Berg River and the Paarl Mountain, Sanju realized that dealing with fire required ice. The most striking feature of his innings was the clarity of his mind, the absence of confusion, and his situational awareness, demonstrating timely responses. It seemed as if Sanju was running away from his own shadow.

During his 167-minute stay, he made hardly a wrong move. There were no edges, no strokes born out of frustration. Yet, the lurking threat of implosion seemed ever-present. The start was brisk, and when he push-drove Beuran Hendricks for his third boundary, he reached 26 off 33 balls—a steady pace following the openers’ brisk start of 35 runs in five overs.

However, the real challenge awaited. The ball lost its shine, the pitch slowed down, and batting became an arduous task. KL Rahul struggled for 21 off 35 balls, and Tilak Varma managed only seven runs from his first 30 balls. The run rate plummeted, and dot balls accumulated like shoppers in Chandni Chowk on Diwali eve.

Yet, Sanju persevered. Moving from 38 to 64 (26 runs), he consumed 44 balls, hitting just one four during this period. The pitch was so sluggish that even part-time off-spinner Aiden Markram was approached cautiously.

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