New Zealand players celebrate after winning their World Cup match against the Netherlands. Image Credit: ANI

Dubai: Cricket is a game that is largely favouring batters these days. Over the years, due to the entertainment they provide with their power-hitting, the gentleman’s game is tilting more towards the batters. The modern bats and flat pitches makes a lethal combination for batters to launch the ball out of the park each time. They look like a gladiator with a bat in their hand waiting to throw a killer-blow to the bowlers.

A World Cup on the Indian pitches is nothing less than a dream for batters who target getting big scores at ease. In eight matches so far in this World Cup, a total 10 centuries have been scored with four coming in the thriller between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, which Babar Azam’s men won after chasing a big target of 345. Pakistan’s dependable Mohammad Rizwan continued his amazing run, scoring an unbeaten century despite being hampered by cramps and injury. Rizwan led the chase in the company of Abdullah Shafique, who’s playing his first World Cup match and ended his innings with a three-digit score.

Rizwan tops batting charts

Rizwan tops the batting charts with 199 runs from two matches, followed by Sri Lankan Kusal Mendis 198.

South Africa set a World Cup record by pummeling the Sri Lankan attack to score 428 for five with three batters — Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram — scoring centuries. Markram’s 106 came off just 54 balls that included 14 fours and three sixes, pushing the total past the 400-run mark.

When there is carnage all around with bowlers finding themselves at the mercy of the batters, five bowlers have stood out with their impressive performances so far in this week-old tournament.

Mitchell Santner

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Image Credit: Reuters

The wily left-arm spinner enjoys the challenge and as a spinner has a big heart. He is never afraid to flight the ball even though he knows that the batters will come after him. He lures them into errors with the subtle variation in pace and leads them slowly in the trap that he sets up for them. The several years he had spent with five-time Indian Premier League champions Chennai Super Kings has allowed him to understand the Indian conditions better. The Kiwi spinner has seven scalps so far in two matches to top the wicket-takers chart.

Reece Topley

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Image Credit: Reuters

He is tall and bowls fast. England left-arm pacer Topley, with a height of six-foot-seven-inch, gets the extra bounce and has the habit of making the batters dance with the fearsome yorkers. The 29-year-old pacer ripped through the Bangladesh attack on a good batting pitch at Dharamsala, finishing with figures of 4-43 despite the fast bowler having to shorten his run-up due to the ground conditions.

Ravindra Jadeja

Ravindra Jadeja
Image Credit: AFP

The Indian all-rounder bowled a dream spell to have the Australians in a spin. The left-arm spinner bowled a beauty to dismiss Steve Smith, who looked puzzled when the ball went past his defence to hit the top of the off-stump. Jadeja’s three wickets in quick succession pushed the Australians on the backfoot and ultimately were dismissed for a paltry 199 in Chennai.

Josh Hazlewood

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Image Credit: AFP

The lanky Australian pacer used his extensive knowledge about the pitch to bowl at the right areas to claim three wickets. He could have dealt a far severe blow had Mitchell Marsh held on to a simple catch offered by Virat Kohli when the Indian talisman was on 12. Eventually, Hazlewood, who had played many years for Chennai Super Kings before moving to Royal Challengers Bangalore, dismissed Kohli, but by that time the match was well and truly lost. The 32-year-old doesn’t hold a fiery pace, but bowls an incisive length, something similar to the Australia great Glenn McGrath, to not give enough elbow room for the batters to free their arms.

Matt Henry

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Image Credit: AFP

The fiery fast bowler has been one of key bowlers in this World Cup. Henry broke the back of the famed England batting line-up, dismissing Dawid Malan, Jos Buttler and Sam Curran. That show stopped the defending champions to score a big total on a good batting surface. Henry followed it up with another three-wicket spell against Netherlands. In the absence of Tim Southee, Henry has been taking the workload. With the veteran pacer set to return to New Zealand team, Henry could only get better.