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ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 Review: Highlights, Tops and Flops

After 46 days and 48 matches, huge totals, shock wins, heartbreaking losses, records and controversies, the Cricket World Cup ended on Sunday.

We look back at some of the Highlights, Tops and Flops from the 2023 tournament:

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- South Africa, Markram in fast lane –

The tournament was just two days old when South Africa's Aiden Markram smashed the fastest World Cup century off 49 balls against Sri Lanka in New Delhi.

His team also entered the record books with the highest ever tournament total of 428 in a 102-run win.

Markram's blitz bettered the 50 balls Ireland's Kevin O'Brien needed to hit a hundred against England in Bengaluru in 2011.

However, Markram said he "wouldn't be surprised" if his record was beaten by the end of the tournament. He was proved right by Glenn Maxwell just 18 days later.


- Pakistan's record chase – 

Mohammad Rizwan and Abdullah Shafique made centuries as Pakistan chased down the highest target in World Cup history to beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in Hyderabad.

Rizwan overcame leg cramps to score 131 not out while Shafique hit 113 as Pakistan overhauled their 345-run target.

Sri Lanka's imposing total of 344-9 was built around hundreds from Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama.


- Afghanistan, Netherlands make mark -

Afghanistan pulled off one of the greatest World Cup shocks when they defeated defending champions England by 69 runs in New Delhi.

Chasing 285 to win, after opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz had hit a blistering 80, England were bowled out for 215 with spinners Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan claiming three wickets each.

Eight days later in Chennai, Afghanistan chased down 283 to shock neighbours Pakistan with Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah and Gurbaz all scoring fifties.

In between, the Netherlands exploited South Africa's dislike of chasing by stunning the Proteas by 38 runs in what Dutch media described as "the miracle of Dharamsala".


- Record-breaker Maxwell -- part 1 –

Maxwell took Markram's fastest World Cup century record by hitting a 40-ball hundred in Australia's 309-run rout of the Netherlands at New Delhi.

Australia made 399-8 before the Dutch were dismissed for just 90 in 21 overs.

Maxwell's ton was also the fourth fastest century in all ODIs.

"That was crazy, a freak show, you've got no options as a bowler when someone is running as hot as that. It's the cleanest hitting you're going to see."

-- Australia skipper Pat Cummins on Glenn Maxwell hitting the World Cup's fastest hundred off 40 balls in the win over the Netherlands.


- Australia, New Zealand run festival -

Australia edged out New Zealand by just five runs in the highest-scoring World Cup game in history in Dharamsala.

Australia scored 388 as Travis Head top-scored with 109 and fellow opener David Warner made 81.

New Zealand battled hard with Rachin Ravindra making 116.

With a total of 771 runs, it was the highest scoring game at a World Cup, beating the 754 scored in South Africa's win against Sri Lanka earlier in the tournament.


- Record-breaker Maxwell -- part 2 –

Australia captain Pat Cummins described it as "the greatest one-day innings ever played" as Glenn Maxwell's stunning 201 not out guided Australia into the semi-finals in a sensational three-wicket victory over Afghanistan in Mumbai.

At 91-7, chasing 292, Australia were staring at defeat before Maxwell's 128-ball innings which featured 21 fours and 10 sixes as he became just the third batsman to score a World Cup double century.

He achieved the mark despite battling cramps and back spasms which meant he was reduced to hobbling pace while Afghanistan were left to rue Mujeeb Ur Rahman dropping a simple catch when Maxwell had made just 33.


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- King Kohli –

Virat Kohli scored a record 50th one-day international hundred in the semi-final win against New Zealand in Mumbai, hailing the landmark as being "like a dream".

Kohli, 35, reached his century -- his third of the tournament -- with a two off fast bowler Lockie Ferguson, having faced 106 balls, hitting eight fours and a six, to break the record of 49 ODI hundreds he had shared with Sachin Tendulkar.

He did so on his former India team-mate's home ground, with Tendulkar among those applauding at the Wankhede Stadium as Kohli bowed towards his childhood hero and fellow 2011 World Cup-winner.

"It feels like a dream. Too good to be true. Sachin was there in the stands, my hero. My life partner and all these fans at the Wankhede."

-- Virat Kohli paying tribute to Sachin Tendulkar and his wife Anushka Sharma watching his moment of history as he hit a record 50th ODI century.


- Head breaks billion hearts -

Opening batsman Travis Head hit 137 and took a spectacular catch to dismiss Rohit Sharma to steer Australia to a six-wicket win over India in the final for a sixth World Cup title.

India were dismissed for 240 before Australia reached their target with seven overs to spare in front of over 90,000 fans in Ahmedabad.

"That's huge, that's the pinnacle in cricket, winning a World Cup, especially here in India, and these are the moments you remember for the rest of your life," said skipper Pat Cummins.




Babar Azam's team came in with huge expectations and started with two victories before their campaign hit a wall in the shadow of right security which director of cricket Mickey Arthur branded as "stifling".

A loss to India and then Australia hit them hard, but it was their defeat to Afghanistan that hurt as pace ace Shaheen Shah Afridi looked out of sorts with 58 runs from his 10 overs and one wicket.

They slipped to their fourth loss in a heartbreaking one-wicket defeat to South Africa, a defeat Azam believed dented their semi-final hopes.

Fakhar Zaman's match-winning 126 not out against New Zealand was a rare highlight before the 1992 champions crashed out and Azam resigned as captain from all formats.

"Everyone is saying something different. He should be like this, or like that. If someone has to give me advice, everyone has my number. It is easy to give advice on TV. If you want to give me some advice, you can message me."

-- Pakistan captain Babar Azam on his team's doomed campaign.


Buttler and England

Jos Buttler came into the tournament as captain of one of the fancied teams out to defend their title but their campaign fizzled out early after just one win in the first seven matches.

Buttler failed to provide any inspiration as he flopped with the bat, managing just 138 runs from nine matches.

It was a rare failure for Buttler, who scored 269 in six matches when he led the team to their maiden T20 World Cup victory in 2021.

"Answers on a postcard."

-- England captain Jos Buttler looking for answers after the defending champions' dismal campaign.


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Spirit of Cricket 

Sri Lanka batsman Angelo Mathews became the first batsman in 146 years of international cricket to be given "timed out" in an ill-tempered match against Bangladesh.

Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan appealed after Mathews failed to take strike within the two-minute time limit when he came out to bat in New Delhi and was adjudged out.

Mathews branded Shakib "disgraceful" and the episode left the cricket world divided and the "spirit of cricket" debate reignited.

Ex-india batsman Gautam Gambhir called the act "absolutely pathetic".

India coach Rahul Dravid said "we won't do it" but "you can go and debate both the situations".

"I appealed and the umpire asked me if I was serious, whether I would take it back or not. I said no. If it is in the rules then it is out."

-- Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan on appealing to have Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews dismissed for being "timed out".


 India add to Sri Lanka woes

Mohammed Shami took five wickets as Sri Lanka were bowled out for just 55 as India secured a semi-final place with a colossal 302-run win in Mumbai.

Sri Lanka's woeful innings featured five noughts, with both their openers falling for golden ducks as they flopped in pursuit of 358.    

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