Cricket World Player Of The Week - Steven Smith
Smith can hardly do anything wrong these days, has hardly done anything wrong the whole Australian summer.
While he started slow in the league stage, out of rhythm, the heir apparent had risen to the occasion, with three 50-plus scores in the three World Cup knockout games, quarter-final, semi-final and final.
The best of them came against India, when he bludgeoned the Indian pacers, who had so far troubled every opponent, for a 93-ball 105, studded with 11 fours and two sixes. While Smith was batting, Australia looked set for a score of over 350.
Smith continued the same form at the finals. Chasing a relatively modest target of 183, Smith ensured there are no blips, remaining unbeaten with a composed 56 off 71 balls, letting his skipper Michael Clarke play with freedom in his last ODI game. That was maturity at its best.
There were several other contenders too. Grant Elliott is the first in that list, top-scoring twice for New Zealand. Against Australia, in the final, Elliott was the only New Zealand batsman to cross half-century and his 83 off 82 balls was the reason New Zealand even made it to 183, the next highest being Ross Taylor’s 40, with who Elliott had put up a 111-run stand to steady the innings.
However Elliott will always be remembered for his semi-final innings against South Africa though, where he scored an unbeaten 84 off 73 balls to help New Zealand chase down 298. His six off Dale Steyn’s bowling in the penultimate ball of the match is one of the greatest World Cup memories.
Faf du Plessis’ 82, Corey Anderson’s 58 and three wickets with the ball and MorneMorkel’s 3-59 were some of the other notable performances to come from that spectacular game of cricket.
In the other semi-final, Umesh Yadav’s 4-72, although expensive, was a good performance considering it was he who ensured India was chasing 328 instead of 375 on the big day.
Clarke’s 74 in the World Cup final in just 72 balls was another notable performance but, the game will be remembered for the performance of Australian pacers.
James Faulkner ripped the New Zealand middle order apart with figures of 3-36 including a double strike in the 36th over that dented any hopes of a New Zealand late onslaught.
Mitchell Johnson’s figures of 3-30 barely tell the story of how he intimidated the top order with his zip and pace. Mitchell Starc also took 2-20 in eight overs, but drew first blood with Brendon McCullum’s wicket. All three bowlers have bowled spells that will be counted amongst the best of this World Cup.
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