India skipper Rohit Sharma showcased his batting prowess on Wednesday, taking advantage of a flat and high-scoring pitch against Afghanistan. Although India managed to restrict Afghanistan to 272 for eight, they easily chased down the target. Leading up to the 2019 ICC Men’s ODI World Cup, there was speculation about it being a high-scoring tournament, given England’s success in producing batsman-friendly pitches. However, the tournament proved otherwise, with only 26 300-plus totals in 86 innings. As the tournament progressed, pitches slowed down significantly, and team totals in the knockout games fell below 250.
The 2023 World Cup, on the other hand, seems to be on a different trajectory. In the first week of matches, there have already been six 300-plus totals out of eight games. With the exception of Chennai, where spinners thrive, the other venues have favored batsmen. Notably, South Africa set a new record for the highest team score in the tournament’s history with 428/5 against Sri Lanka in New Delhi. The average team total in the current World Cup stands at around 272, compared to 225 in the first week of the 2019 edition.
Predicting the outcome of World Cups is always challenging, especially with the current format including ten teams and 45 league games before the knockout stage. Since the last World Cup, the game has evolved significantly with the addition of two T20 World Cups and two World Test Championships. This raises questions about the relevance of the 50-over format. However, teams have become more enterprising in their approach to ODIs.
Contrary to India’s reputation for preparing batting-friendly pitches, there were no discussions about record-breaking totals ahead of the 2023 World Cup. The scores in the first week suggest a different story. With several matches still to come, it wouldn’t be surprising if the trend of high-scoring games continues. Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad have long been known as batting-friendly venues, and Lucknow’s newly relaid pitches add another element of excitement to the South Africa versus Australia clash on Thursday.
One significant difference from the 2011 edition of the World Cup is that this tournament takes place at the beginning of the domestic season rather than during the peak of summer. The fresh pitches and favorable weather conditions contribute to the expectation of high-scoring games. Former India fielding coach R Sridhar believes the event will be a great spectacle for both TV viewers and spectators at the stadium, with a mix of matches dominated by the ball and others filled with thrilling battles between bat and ball.
While dew may come into play at times, the limited number of games played at each venue should minimize wear and tear on the pitches.
With 46 days and 48 games in the tournament, there is plenty of room for potential changes in the upcoming matches. However, for now, it appears that this World Cup has the potential to be one of the highest-scoring tournaments ever.
Express News Service
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