As the dust settles on a frenetic World Cup 2023, here is ESPNcricinfo’s team of the tournament. It is based on Smart Stats, a metric that evaluates every batting and bowling performance in each game, taking into account match context (details below). The Impact Rating mentioned for a player is the sum of his batting and bowling ratings, and is averaged to a per-match value. No points are awarded for fielding or captaincy.
Travis Head missed the first half of the tournament with a hand injury, and played only six of Australia’s 11 matches, but what an impact he made in those matches. He started with a 67-ball 109 against New Zealandand then, after a few quiet games, struck form again when it mattered the most. On a difficult Eden Gardens pitch in the semi-finals, his 62 was more than twice the next-best in the innings, not to mention the two wickets he took. In the finalhis stunning catch to dismiss Rohit Sharma stopped India’s charge, before the century completely knocked them out. His two hundreds were among the eight most impactful batting performances of the tournament, and he became only the fourth player to be named the Player of the Match in both semi-final and final of a men’s ODI World Cup.
In nine out of 11 innings, Rohit Sharma scored at least 40; in eight of them he scored at over a run a ball, and his strike rate exceeded 150 on four of those occasions. Usually, it’s tough to combine run-scoring and quick-scoring, but Rohit managed it over the entire tournament: he was the second-highest run-getter, and among the 13 batters who made at least 400 runs, only Glenn Maxwell scored at a faster rate. His 401 runs in the first powerplay were a whopping 54% better than the next-best (David Warner’s 260), and he scored 58% of India’s total runs while he was at the crease. All these factors meant that despite scoring 168 fewer runs than Virat Kohli, his impact rating was only marginally lower.
Virat Kohli‘s World Cup was the stuff of dreams: nine 50-plus scores in 11 innings, including three hundreds, and an all-time-high tournament aggregate of 76592 more than Sachin Tendulkar’s previous record of 673. His 85 against Australia – from 2 for 3 – in India’s tournament opener set the tone, and there was no looking back. Much of the focus was on his individual milestones – the 49th ODI hundred followed by the 50th – but he scored briskly enough to make sure that his runs always helped the team’s cause. Kohli was the engine room of India’s batting line-up, and his prolific run-scoring ensured that India didn’t waste the starts Rohit provided.
With Kane Williamson unavailable for much of the tournament, New Zealand needed the other top-order batters to step up, and Daryl Mitchellalong with Rachin Ravindra, did that splendidly. In seven out of nine innings, Mitchell scored at over a run a ball, and his show of intent was vital in throwing bowlers off their lengths and allowing New Zealand to score briskly in the middle overs (11 to 40): their run rate of 6.47 in that phase was the best among all teams. Mitchell’s tally of 472 in the middle overs was second only to Kohli’s 576, and he got those runs at an excellent strike rate of 111.58. A huge factor in his success was his stats against spin: 234 runs at an average of 78 and a strike rate of 106.84.
No batter scored as many runs at No. 5 as KL Rahul did, and only Quinton de Kock (594) scored more runs as a wicketkeeper. Rahul’s ability was never in doubt, and if there were any questions about his temperament, he answered them quite emphatically over the course of this tournament. He started with an impeccable unbeaten 97 that helped India overcome a shocking start against Australia, when they had been reduced to 2 for 3. His ability to mould his batting according to the needs of the team is what stood out. He had a tough time as wicketkeeper in the final, but through most of the tournament he was tidy, sometimes even spectacular, behind the stumps. His DRS nous was an additional skill that the Impact Rating cannot quantify.
Glenn Maxwell provided the most enduring memory of this World Cup with that stunning knock against Afghanistan: in terms of impact numbers, the unbeaten 201 fetched 384.8 points, 141 more than the next best in the tournament. That innings turned a hopeless situation into a miracle victory for Australia, allowing them to keep their winning streak intact after defeats in the first two games. Maxwell scored another century in the tournament – a 44-ball 106 against Netherlands. Apart from that, he made extremely vital contributions with the ball, bowling 68.3 overs at an economy rate of 4.81. He took only six wickets, but his contribution with ball was worth far more than that as he often bowled the tough overs in the first powerplay. That included a key tenth over against India in the final where his dismissal of Rohit turned the game around after India’s frenetic start. Maxwell’s Impact Rating of 110.42 – 71.01 for batting, 39.41 for bowling – was the highest among all players in the tournament.
Ravindra Jadeja started the tournament with figures of 3 for 28 – including the wickets of Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschagne – in the first game against Australia, and continued that consistency with ball throughout. Only once did he concede more than 50 in a game, going for 63 in the semi-final against New Zealand. When conditions were helpful, he was more than a handful, as illustrated with 5 for 33 at Eden Gardens against South Africa. He also made a vital, unbeaten 39 against New Zealand in a tricky chase, and as always, was a livewire in the field.
jasprit bumrah‘s relentlessness was one of the key reasons for India’s dominance in the league phase of the World Cup. Among the 35 bowlers who bowled at least eight overs in the powerplay, none came close to the economy rate Bumrah achieved in that phase: 3.25. The next-best was Josh Hazlewood’s 4.19. He was equally lethal in the death overs, taking nine wickets at 11.66 and an economy rate of 5.00. Along with Mohammed Shami, he was the go-to bowler for Rohit, and the pressure he built up from one end helped add to the wickets tally of the other bowlers throughout the tournament.
In what was otherwise a dismal campaign for Sri Lanka, one of the few bright spots was the seam and swing of Dilshan Madushankawho finished as the third-highest wicket-taker in the tournament. Across World Cups, only Muthiah Muralidaran and Chaminda Vaas have taken more wickets in an edition for Sri Lanka than Madushanka’s 21 in this tournament. Four times he took three or more wickets – a feat bettered only by Adam Zampa in this tournament – while his nine wickets in the powerplays was the second-highest. Madhushanka was effective across phases and became the go-to bowler for his team, leading a depleted, injury-hit bowling line-up despite having played only six ODIs coming into this World Cup.
Australia’s fortunes mirrored Adam Zampa‘s: in the first two games, both of which Australia lost, Zampa returned figures of 1 for 123 in 18 overs. Through the rest of the tournament, he took 22 wickets from nine games at 17.81 and an economy rate of 5.02 as Australia swept the field to take the title. No bowler took more wickets than his 17 in the middle overs. Overall, the tournament’s next-highest wicket-takers among spinners were Jadeja and Mitchell Santner, with 16. Australia’s decision to go into a long tournament in India with just one specialist spinner was a huge gamble, but Zampa, and Maxwell, ensured it paid off.
The injury to Hardik Pandya in India’s fourth match seemed to be a huge blow to their chances, but from that setback emerged arguably India’s biggest weapon of the World Cup. Mohammed Shami brushed aside batting line-up after batting line-up to finish as the tournament’s leading wicket-taker. In fact, only Mitchell Starc (27) and Glenn McGrath (26) have taken more wickets than Shami’s 24 in a single World Cup. Shami’s strike rate was a stunning 12.2 balls per wicket, which was 36% better than the next-best (Gerald Coetzee’s 19). In the semi-final against New Zealand, Shami became only the fifth bowler to take a seven-wicket haul in World Cups, and his 7 for 57 fetched 168.6 impact points, the highest for a bowling performance in this tournament.
It’s cruel to leave out of the World Cup XI a player who struck four hundreds – more than any other batter in the tournament – but since most top performers were top-order batters, there was no choice but to make that tough decision. Head put in stunning performances in the knockout games and Rohit, with his intent and consistency, ensured he couldn’t be left out. That also meant there was no place for Ravindra, who won himself plenty of fans for his classy and effortless strokeplay which fetched 578 runs, including three hundreds.
S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats