ICC World Cup 2019: Players who can provide the 'X-Factor' for their team
ICC World Cup enters its 12th edition, and there will be lots of surprises in store for us this time around as well, as it has been over the last 11 editions.
While the consistent players play a significant role especially in a long tournament such as this, it is those 'X-factor' players who can have a significant say in the outcome.
An 'X-factor' player is the one that can turn around a contest when a game is in balance, a player that can clear the boundary when the game is on the line or bowl an inspiring spell to turn the game on its head when the opposition seems to be driving home the advantage.
So, that player wouldn’t necessarily be a guy like Virat Kohli, who is the leader of a team. The 'X-factor' would be his teammate, someone like Hardik Pandya. He doesn’t dominate in run-scoring or the wicket-taking charts, but when the game is on the line, he seemingly does whatever is needed to win the contest for the team. Whether it is hitting a mighty six, breaking a crucial partnership, or taking an exceptional catch on the field.
Mustafizur Rahman - Bangladesh
Bangladesh have never gone beyond the quarter-finals in World Cup history. Their success in ODIs recently have mostly been dependent upon Tamim Iqbal and Shakib-Al-Hasan. However, with the emergence of Mustafizur Rahman, Bangladesh have a robust fast-bowling option.
At any time in a match, captain Mashrafe Mortaza can throw the ball to Mustafizur, and he can create difficulties for any batsmen from his arsenal of many variations.
In the 40 ODI matches that the speedster from Bangladesh has played so far, he has managed to take 73 wickets at an economy rate of 4.58, which is excellent for a front-line pace bowler, especially in this day and age.
Akila Dananjaya - Sri Lanka
Akila Dananjaya has been one of the finds for the Lions in the last couple of years, in what has been a sorry state of affairs. Sri Lankan Cricket has nose-dived and hit rock-bottom in recent times, but Akila Dananjaya has been one of the shining lights.
He has picked up 46 wickets in 30 ODI matches at an economy of 5.1 and a strike-rate of 31.3. He has the skill of bowling off-spin, leg-spin, carrom ball and googly which makes him a tough bowler to face in any conditions.
If the Sri Lankans have a glimmer of hope in the World Cup this time, Dananjaya has to provide the 'X-factor' by bowling a few match-winning spells and turning the game in their favor.