The 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup has been a competitive tournament with bowlers and batsmen showing their class in the mega event. The pitches in Australia and New Zealand have something for the bowlers, while the batsmen played their shots after seeing off some balls in their initial phase.
Now the competition has moved into the knock out stages, but the group stages witnessed bowlers like Mitchell Starc and Trent Boult tormenting batsman with their left arm bowling, while batsmen such as Kumar Sangakkara and AB de Villiers scored some huge runs for their respective sides.
Here is a list of the top three wicket takers and run getters in the group stages.
Top 3 Bowlers
Mitchell Starc – 16 wickets
The left arm bowler from Australia has been a great threat to opposition in the competition taking wickets with his neat line and length along with his pace and not to forget, his toe crushing yorkers as well.
The bowler has been very consistent for Australia. His best figure has to be his 'almost' match winning figures against New Zealand, where he finished with 6 wickets for 28 runs.His bowling average at 8.50 is phenomenal for the competition.
If the bowler maintains such form in the knock out stages as well, he could take more than 20 wickets in the competition.
Trent Boult – 15 wickets*
Trent Boult might not have been a well known figure in world cricket, but after his phenomenal performance during the World Cup, people have surely known him as the spear head of the New Zealand attack.
The Black caps' left arm fast bowler has only played 22 matches for New Zealand so far including the World Cup, but has been the main bowler in Brendon McCullum's side. He has taken wickets in all the matches and the team would be expecting much more from the left arm bowler in the knock out stages.
Playing in home conditions has been a major advantage for Boult, who knows the pitch on the back of his hands.
Mohammed Shammi – 15 wickets*
Anyone who predicted an Indian seamer to be in the three highest wicket takers in the group stages would have been a laughing stock, but Mohammed Shammi has overcome all odds to perform in the biggest cricket event.
The Indian bowler has been Dhoni's trump card and has taken wickets with the new as well as the old ball. After taking four wickets in the first game of the competition against Pakistan, Shammi has looked a world class bowler troubling batsmen with his tight line and length with good pace.
If India are to defend the title, Shammi needs to maintain his bowling form.
* Josh Davey from Scotland also needs to be mentioned in the bracket of the highest wicket takers, as the Scotland bowler also managed to take an impressive fifteen wickets (the same as Boult and Shammi) in the competition with an average of 20.73.
Top 3 Batsmen
Kumar Sangakkara – 496 runs
The elegant left-hander from Sri Lanka has carried the island nation on his shoulders for almost a decade now and this World Cup is no different as the batsman has been impressive with four centuries in a row.
His hundreds have not only come against Bangladesh and Scotland, but also against the might of Australia and England. His top score has been 117 not out against England.
Hence, the Lankan batsman would head into the quarter finals against the Proteas confident, and the African nation would consider Sangakkara's wicket a prized possession.
It would not be wrong to state that Lanka's fate depends on Sangakkara's performance in the remaining matches of the competition.
Brendan Taylor – 433 runs
The Zimbabwean's name on the list of highest run getters might have come in as a major surprise for most cricket fans, but like Sangakkara, Taylor has been a huge player with the bat for the African nation.
In all the matches he played, irrespective of the opponent, he looked in sublime form, though he was unfortunate to miss out on the starts, as he could have converted those into centuries. Still, Taylor scored two centuries against Ireland and India, back to back.
Those two centuries will be etched in the memories of Zimbabwean supporters, as it was his last innings for the national side.
AB de Villiers – 417 runs
The South African skipper was in such huge form prior to the World Cup that his name in the top three comes to us as no surprise. His performance against the West Indies was a jaw dropping one, where he scored an impressive 162 runs from 66 balls, which included 8 sixes and 17 fours.
Primarily, in all the innings, he dominated bowling attacks, though he also missed out on a century against UAE where he was dismissed for 99 runs.
Such has been the form of De Villers that South Africa are still considered one of the favourites despite losing two matches in the competition against India and Pakistan, but De Villiers needs to once again rise to the occasion. Will he? Only time will tell.