MANCHESTER: Six of the World Cup’s 10 teams are heading back home after missing out on the semi-finals following the conclusion of the group stage on Saturday. England, Australia, India and New Zealand still have their eyes on the prize, but here AFP Sport takes a look at five players who failed to live up to expectations:
Chris Gayle (West Indies)
Chris Gayle seldom fired for the West Indies in his eight innings as his side failed to make the last four. Gayle, 39, managed 242 runs including two fifties to end his World Cup career-he played in five editions of the 50-over tournament-on a disappointing note. The self-styled “universe boss” started with a 50 in his team’s opening win over Pakistan, but struggled to convert starts into big scores for most of the tournament. The one-time six-hitting machine faltered against pace and spin, but got a rousing send-off in his last game against Afghanistan, even making waves on Twitter with an ‘End of an era’ hashtag to mark his World Cup farewell. Gayle finished with 1,186 runs from 35 World Cup matches.
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
Rashid Khan came into the World Cup as cricket’s hottest property after catching the eye with his leg spinners for minnows Afghanistan. But the Twenty20 sensation, who played a leading role for many sides in franchise cricket across the globe, claimed only six wickets in nine games as the Afghans returned winless.
Skipper Gulbadin Naib defended his premier spinner, who is number one in the T20 rankings, after their final loss to West Indies, saying “he gives 100 percent but it’s bad luck”. But the 20-year-old Rashid, who made the world take notice of his art when he became the fastest to take 100 ODI wickets, in 44 matches, still has a long way to go.
Mashrafe Mortaza (Bangladesh)
Mashrafe Mortaza started the tournament by leading Bangladesh to a shock victory over South Africa as he became the country’s most successful ODI captain with four World Cup wins. But the 35-year-old struggled with his own form as the seamer claimed just one wicket from eight matches. The sting was missing from Mashrafe’s bowling as he seldom completed his quota of 10 overs, relying on the team’s other quicks to do the job. The end came with his team’s disappointing loss to Pakistan and Mashrafe signed off by saying: “We are extremely sorry that we couldn’t lend a helping hand to Shakib (Al Hasan) who batted, bowled and fielded very well in every match in this tournament.”
Hashim Amla (South Africa)
One of South Africa’s most dependable players in the last five years, Amla scored just 203 runs in his seven World Cup outings. The opener did hit two half-centuries but one came in a losing cause and the other was delivered in a consolation win after the Proteas had fallen out of the semi-finals race. Amla’s woes often put Faf du Plessis’ side in trouble in the first 10 overs and the rest of the batting did little to make up for it. He remains a cherished figure in South Africa though and when he scored an unbeaten 80 against Sri Lanka, veteran commentator Harsha Bhogle wrote on Twitter: “So happy to see Hashim Amla get runs. One of the greats of our era.”
Hasan Ali (Pakistan)
A lot was expected of the right-arm quick who had starred for Pakistan in his team’s 2017 Champions Trophy triumph in England. But the speedster disappointed after claiming just two wickets in four games and failing to check the flow of runs. He was dropped after returning figures of 1-84 in his nine overs in the team’s thrashing against arch rivals India. And the fastest bowler to take 50 wickets for Pakistan remained benched for the rest of the tournament. – AFP