Get the app

ICC World Cup 2019 Tournament Review: Bat-First Advantage, NZ Best Bowling Unit & More

Nikhil Narain |July 17, 2019, 7:28 AM IST
ICC World Cup 2019 Tournament Review: Bat-First Advantage, NZ Best Bowling Unit & More

What an Epic Finish!

It was pulsating and nail biting and it is tragic that it had to end in a heart-break for one team and in ecstasy for the other.

England beat New Zealand on boundary count after a Tie and a Superover Tie in the final of the 2019 World Cup at Lord’s in what was by far the greatest final ever played in the tournament’s history and amongst the most thrilling cricket matches played in the sport’s history.

It was a fitting finale to what has been one of the most exciting World Cups in history.

After one and a half months and 48 matches the premier flagship tournament of cricket has a new winner.

England became 4th time lucky and their win completed one of the most remarkable transformations in the sport’s history – from not making the Quarter Final in the 2015 World Cup to being the winners in the 2019 edition – this mini-revolution of England’s was based on a policy of all-out aggression. Although it was their destructive batting which led the way, their bowling was also outstanding and they stepped it up when mattered.

England’s victory also meant that the hosts lifted the coveted trophy for the third time in a row.


The 2019 World Cup was also the most unpredictable and open one since 1996. Australia were favourites in 1999, 2003 and 2007 and won rather emphatically. The moolah was on India in 2011 and no one betted against Australia at home in 2015. England started favourites in 2019, stumbled and were almost ousted before making the semis but came back in fine style winning 4 matches in a row to win the tournament.

The second-half of the group stages saw the biggest upset of the competition – Sri Lanka beat England and also the resurgence of Pakistan - and this ensured that the suspense and the tension of qualifying for the knockouts remained till the very end – this made the tournament more exciting and unpredictable and any of the actual four semi-finalists or Pakistan could have lifted the trophy.

There were as many as 12 matches in this World Cup where the margin of victory was less than 25 runs or less than equal to three wickets. Add to that the final– ie 29.54% of the matches can be termed as close encounters.

If we compare this to the two previous editions the corresponding percentages are 16.67% (2015) and 12.5% (2011).


Batting first was a definite advantage in the 2019 World Cup. 28 of the 44 matches were won by the team who batted first – this percentage of 63.63 was the second-highest in the 12 editions of the World Cup after 1987 (70.37%). The corresponding percentage in 2015 was 50%.

Tournament Review Numbers1

The average score batting first in the tournament was 266.26 while the corresponding score in England between the 2015 and 2019 World Cups was 272.5 – 6 runs higher – the slowness of the pitches and the pressure of a world tournament being the two possible reasons for teams batting somewhat conservatively in this World Cup.

There was an increase in the overall run-rate from the 2007 World Cup (4.95) to 2011 (5.03). The increase was more significant from 2011 to 2015 (5.65). However, the run rate has actually fallen in this World Cup, even though marginally to 5.59.


New Zealand, like Australia in 2015, were the best bowling team in the 2019 World Cup – which suggests that the two most potent bowling units lifted the last two World Cups.

New Zealand’s bowling average of 27.86 is the lowest (best) in the 2019 World Cup. So is their strike rate of 34.1. Not only have they been effective in picking wickets but also in choking the opposition batsmen – their bowlers have been the most restrictive in this tournament conceding at an economy of just 4.89. Just for perspective, England has the second-best economy rate (5.11).

Tournament Review Numbers2

Lockie Ferguson was the second-highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 21 wickets from 9 matches at an average of 19.47 and strike rate of 23.9.

Three other New Zealand bowlers picked more than 10 wickets in the tournament.

Trent Boult picked up 17 at 28.17, Matt Henry bagged 14 at 28 while James Neesham got 15 at just 19.46.

As many as five New Zealand bowlers had an economy rate of less than 5 – Ferguson, Boult, Henry, Colin Grandhomme and Michael Santner – that is how disciplined they were with their line and length.

New Zealand did not reach 300 even once in the tournament and their batting average was seventh-lowest – yet they did as well as they did courtesy their splendid bowling attack.

England’s batting average of 39.21 was the second-highest in the tournament after India. They had 7 hundreds (same as India) and 17 fifty-plus scores in the tournament (maximum for any team). Their combined strike rate of 100.45 was the best in the World Cup.

Tournament Review Numbers3

Two English batsmen scored in excess of 400 (Jason Roy and Ben Stokes) and two in excess of 500 (Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow). Three of them averaged in excess of 60 and two between 40 and 50.

Bairstow and Roy put together 4 century partnerships in the tournament – the maximum by any pair in a World Cup.

Root was their highest scorer with 556 runs but England’s player of the series was Ben Stokes.

He scored tough runs under pressure (including in the final) and ended with an aggregate of 465 runs in 10 innings at an average of 66.42 – the highest for England in the World Cup. He was phenomenally consistent registering 5 fifties in the tournament.

England had the second-highest run rate in the first powerplay (5.01) after Sri Lanka (5.67) and the highest in the death overs (40-50) – 8.1.

The English bowlers complimented their batsmen and had the third-best batting average and strike rate in the tournament. They also had the second-best economy after New Zealand.

Jofra Archer was the third-highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 20 wickets in 11 matches at an average of 23.05 and economy of 4.57 – he was both the highest wicket-taker and most restrictive bowler for England.

Mark Wood picked 18 wickets while Chris Woakes also returned with 16.


Seven batsmen had an aggregate of 500-plus in the tournament. Rohit Sharma topped the run charts with 648 runs in just 9 innings at an average of 81 and strike rate of 98.33. This included 5 hundreds – the most in any single World Cup.

Kane Williamson, who was declared the Player of the Tournament, scored 578 runs at 82.57, including two fifties and two hundreds. New Zealand had the worst opening stand in the World Cup and it was Williamson who rescued them consistently and played the role of an anchor throughout the tournament.

Tournament Review Numbers4

Mitchell Starc was the highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 27 wickets from just 10 matches at an average of 18.59 and strike rate of 20.5. His exploits included two five-wicket and two four-wicket hauls. No bowler has picked more wickets in any single edition of the World Cup.

Shakib-Al-Hasan and Ben Stokes were the two outstanding all-rounders of the tournament. Shakib scored 606 runs at an average of 86.57 and also picked 11 wickets in the tournament. Stokes bagged 7 wickets to go with his 465 runs in the World Cup.

Related stories

Also Watch

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3778 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 6939 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 India 8099 261
5 Australia 5471 261
see more