The ODI World Cup 2023 has commenced, and its first week has provided a glimpse of the excitement that awaits throughout the tournament. The opening week saw the action unfold with nine matches, where the batsmen took centre stage, as expected. However, the bowlers also made significant contributions in various spells.
Most of the venues for these early matches, including Delhi, Dharamshala, and Hyderabad, have traditionally been batting-friendly, offering minimal assistance to the bowlers. Nevertheless, the pacers have strived to exploit the early stages of the game when the ball is at its freshest, even with limited movement. In contrast, the spinners have capitalized on conditions that favour their craft.
Let’s delve into the top five standout bowling performances from the first week of the 2023 World Cup:
1. Mitchell Santner
Mitchell Santner, a left-arm spinner, has been a standout performer in the ongoing tournament. He compensates for a lack of extreme variations with subtle changes in pace and angle, proving effective in both of New Zealand’s matches.
After an impressive showing against England, where he wasn’t hit for a boundary, Santner claimed a five-wicket haul against the Netherlands, ending with figures of 5-59 and contributing to New Zealand’s convincing 99-run victory. His role in the World Cup is far from over, as New Zealand is set to play consecutive matches in Chennai against Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
2. Jasprit Bumrah
India’s pace spearhead, Jasprit Bumrah, displayed his prowess on a flat surface at the Arun Jaitley Stadium. His figures of 4-39 played a pivotal role in India’s win against Afghanistan, as he made early breakthroughs and dismantled the middle and lower order. His performance ensured that India could restrict Afghanistan to 272-8, which was chased down comfortably.
3. Bas De Leede:
Bas de Leede, an all-rounder for the Netherlands, lived up to expectations as one of the rising stars to watch. He played a significant role in the Netherlands’ strong performance against Pakistan, ending with figures of 4-62. De Leede’s notable delivery that castled Mohammad Rizwan was a highlight, and he also dismissed key players like Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, and Hasan Ali.
4. Ravindra Jadeja:
Ravindra Jadeja, the Indian all-rounder, showcased his spin mastery on a turning track at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai during India’s match against Australia. He dismissed Steve Smith with a brilliant delivery that shifted the momentum of the game. Jadeja further took the wickets of Marnus Labuschagne and Alex Carey, concluding with figures of 3-28 off 10 overs, including a couple of maiden overs.
5. Reece Topley:
Reece Topley, the left-arm pacer for England, made a significant impact in the World Cup league-stage match against Bangladesh after being on the bench in England’s opening game. Topley capitalized on the conditions in Dharamshala, causing trouble for the Bangladesh top order with both movement and bounce. He dismissed key batsmen like Tanzid Hasan, Najmul Shanto, and skipper Shakib Al Hasan with brilliant deliveries, ultimately finishing with figures of 4-43.
These performances have set the stage for an exciting tournament, with both batsmen and bowlers leaving their mark in the 2023 ODI World Cup’s opening week.