Top 5 takeaways after Week 1 of ICC Cricket World Cup 2023

Update: 2023-10-12 14:31 GMT
India's Hardik Pandya with teammates celebrates the wicket of Afghanistan batter Azmatullah Omarzai during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 match between India and Afghanistan, at Arun Jaitley Stadium, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist Lav)

HYDERABAD: Week 1 of the Cricket World Cup 2023 concluded on Wednesday after the 46-day cricketing extravaganza kicked off on October 5.

In the first week of the tournament, i.e., till October 11, nine matches were played with all teams having played at least one match. Here are the top five takeaways after week 1 of the tournament.

INDIAN STARS HIT THE GROUND RUNNING

In the first week, India played twice. On both occasions, India ended up victorious comfortably. This underlines India’s tag as the tournament favourites.

India’s first match was against the Aussies at the Chepauk (M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai). What a commanding show, chasing Australia’s 199 on a tricky wicket. The match against Afghanistan was on a batting track at the Arun Jaitley Cricket Stadium, Delhi. Another dominant show, India won with 8 wickets in hand and 15 overs to spare.

However high a bird may soar, it seeks its food on earth. It is true that Virat Kohli started this world cup with over 13,000 runs under his belt in ODI cricket, but he, like all mortals, started his league match innings against Australia and Afghanistan from scratch (0).

And what astonishing rewards followed – a solid 85 (116 balls) against Australia and 55 not out (56 balls) against Afghanistan. Similarly, Rohit Sharma, K.L. Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin have all shown fine form.

DIVERSE CONDITIONS ACROSS LENGTH AND BREADTH OF INDIA

The wicket at Dharamshala had pace, bounce and a bit of swing. Down south in Chennai, the ball gripped and turned. In Delhi, South Africa put up the highest score by a team in an innings of a world cup match (428/5).

The Ahmedabad wicket was true, flat but a tad bit on the slower side. Now, this is what variety is.

What is the playing combination that teams should go with? The answer lies in the soil.

This tournament will test every team’s ability to read the wicket and decide on matchday whether to go with an extra batter or a pacer or a spinner.

To add to this, dew is playing a part in the matches. Teams bowling second may have it a little harder if the ball gets wet. However, India is still experiencing hot conditions and teams bowling first are not getting as much swing as they would get bowling under lights in the evening. So that perhaps negates the affair of whether to bowl first or second.

ATTENDANCE

One negative question that has dogged this world cup is: Why are the stadiums not brimming to the rafters?

Well that question is not entirely appropriate. For instance, the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad has a capacity of 1,32,00 people. The first match of this tournament was played there and the tie recorded attendance of 47,518 people. That is no small number. The famed Lord’s Cricket Ground has a capacity of a little over 31,000. However, it is still being said that matches where India is not featuring are failing to draw crowds. Some have blamed the ticketing process for this, without much proof.

With many stadiums not having covered stands, many are avoiding the peak sun hours, even if they are attending the matches.

SPIN IT TO WIN IT

The early signs this world cup has thrown up is that the matches will be high scoring affairs, with the average innings totals around the 300-runs mark. On top of that, spinners will have a big say.

In fact, the quality of spinners that teams have will decide which teams advance in the tournament. As the tournament enters its final phase, the pitches will progressively assist spinners.

EARLY PREDICTIONS

India is the favourite. But as is said diamond cuts diamond and so there is no certainty if India will lift the trophy as long as other teams can match up to that high level. In the initial matches. New Zealand and Pakistan have looked very impressive. 

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