The ICC Cricket World Cup approaches with all of the 14 competing nations having now named their final squads all of the players will be entering their final preparation before showcasing their skills at the highest level of international one day cricket.
For any avid cricket supporter, the last three months have been an explosion of hard hitting, big scores, innovative shot-making, tumbling records and mouth-watering previews of what to expect at the 11th ICC Cricket World Cup.
As always with international cricket the stats don’t lie, and here is a quick breakdown of how the teams involved in the world cup have fired it up as they head for the southern hemisphere.
How the stats look since November 2014.
Since November 2014 there has been 55 completed ODI’s involving the 14 teams who are represented in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. In those 55 games, a team has recorded a score of 300+ runs on 14 occasions, including two scores of 400+ runs.
In addition to this individual performances have been particularly impressive with 44 scores of 100+ being recorded by batsmen, including the world record for the highest score in ODI’s being recorded by Rohit Sharma in November 2014, when he hit a massive 264 runs against Sri Lanka; whilst AB De Villiers broke the record for the fattest ever ODI hundred when he hit 149 from just 44 balls, with his 100 coming in just 31 balls, some five balls quicker than the previous record.
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With less than a week to go until the opening games of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, I will countdown the top ten batsmen who are currently in-form heading into the tournament.
10. James Taylor – England
Taylor has recently forced his way into the England ODI side after years of potential. Taylor at 25-years-old is now an accomplished batsman who has slotted well into England’s middle order. In Taylor’s last nine ODI games for England he has scored four half centuries, with a top score of 90. Whilst Taylor has yet to register his first ODI century, I would not bet against him overcoming that milestone during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015
9. Rohit Sharma – India
Rohit Sharma is a household name in India and fast becoming one of the most feared batsmen in world cricket, following his world record breaking ODI score of 264, made in November 2014. Whilst Sharma has been in and out of the India team of late, in his last three innings for India he has scored 411 runs, including two centuries. With Sharma now competing in his third ICC Cricket World Cup, India fans will be hoping that he can step up to the mark and help them re-gain the trophy.
8. Joe Root – England
For Joe Root this will be his first taste of the ICC Cricket World Cup, despite this Root is a mature batsman for his age of 24-years-old, and has become a trusted permanent fixture in the middle order for England. In Root’s last twelve ODI appearances he is averaging over 50, and has scored 469 runs including one century and three 50’s.
7. Kumar Sangakkara – Sri Lanka
Kumar Sangakkara comes into his fourth ICC Cricket World Cup being the second most experienced players in ODI cricket, and the third leading run scorer of all time in ODI cricket. Even into his 15th year as an international cricketer Sangakkara remains consistent and has upper his performances of late having scored 706 runs in his last 12 ODI’s for Sri Lanka. In his last 12 ODI appearances he is averaging over 70, and has hit two centuries and five 50’s, meaning that once again he is likely to be one of the top batsmen during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.
6. AB De Villiers – South Africa
AB De Villiers is the current captain on the South African one day side, and will be hoping to break South Africa’s ICC Cricket World Cup hoodoo, and lead them to their first ODI trophy. As a batsman AB De Villiers is one of the most revered and exciting in world cricket, and recent stats certainly agree with that opinion. In his last eight ODI’s for South Africa, AB has hit 569 runs at an average of 81. He has scored four 50’s, and broke the world record for the fastest ever ODI Hundred when he hit 149 off just 44 balls, against West Indies in Jan 2015, with his 100 coming off just 31 deliveries.
5. Ross Taylor – New Zealand
Ross Taylor has a reputation as a mercurial talent who has throughout his career failed to really reach his true potential. At the age of 30-years-old, Taylor may finally be playing at his peak. In Taylor’s last 13 ODI’s he has scored 585 runs at an average of over 65, including two centuries and four 50’s, of which two were scores in the 90’s. Playing in his third ICC Cricket World Cup, Taylor will hope to impress in front of his home support and take New Zealand deep into the tournament.
4. Hashim Amla – South Africa
For a long time now Hashim Amla has been at the top of world cricket in ODI’s. Amla may in time be considered as one of the greatest batsmen of all time, and as he has recently become the fastest player to reach 5,000 runs, as well as the fastest to reach 19 centuries many would be unable to deny his greatness. Amla’s recent form boasts 569 runs in just nine ODI’s at an average of over 81. He has hit three centuries and two 50’s during this period.
3. Steven Smith – Australia
Smith is currently riding the crest of a wave as part of Australia’s current rise in world cricket. 25-year-old Steve Smith began his career as an inconsistent all-rounder, in and out of the Australian ODI team; however in recent times Smith has established himself as one of the most consistent batsman in world cricket. In Smith’s last eight ODI’s he has scored 480 runs at an average of 80, scoring two centuries and two 50’s along the way. Smith will be hoping his current run of form lasts deep into the tournament as he will be hoping to help Australia snatch their fifth ICC Cricket World Cup trophy in front of their home support.
2. Tillakaratne Dilshan – Sri Lanka
At different stages throughout his career Tillakaratne Dilshan has been amongst the elite batsmen in world ODI cricket. His current form, however, may be some of his best having scored an incredible 929 runs in his last 19 ODI innings for Sri Lanka, at an average of 51, passing 100 on three occasions and scoring four 50’s. Dilshan made his name in ODI cricket as a pinch hitting, innovative, shot-making opener, yet in recent times has become a more consistent, trusted opening batsmen, setting platforms for Sri Lanka’s strong middle and low order. At the age of 38-years-old, Dilshan will be hoping that he can take Sri Lanka to their third ICC Cricket World Cup final in a row, and maybe that one step further.
1. Kane Williamson – New Zealand
Kane Williamson is without doubt currently the most in-form batsmen in world cricket. Williamson made a slow start to his international cricket career, but has always showed huge potential having made his ODI debut aged just 20-years-old. Williamson has however grown into his role at the top of the innings for New Zealand and has been an instrumental part of their current rise in ODI cricket. Williamson's own form as of late has been incredible, in his last 11 ODI innings he has scored a phenomenal 753 runs at an average of 75, including three centuries and four 50’s, two of which were scores of 90+. One of the most impressive aspects of Williamson's batting is his solidarity and ability to still score at just under a run-a-ball, making him the most impressive batsman to watch out for in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.