After 46 days of non-stop exuberant cricketing action in the World Cup, the hosts, England were crowned as the World Champions for the first time in 44 years. They defeated New Zealand in the finals courtesy of the "boundary rule" when both the teams were tied on the same score in the super-over as well. And, by far, that match was one of the best matches in the history of World cricket.
Unlike other World Cups, this tournament had 10 teams in which every team had to play the other in the league stage. This not only opened up opportunities for the lower-ranked sides but ensured that the tournament was a treat for the fans.
Before the start of the World Cup, every team expected it to be a high-scoring tournament. But the extra pressure of being on the grandest stage of world cricket affected the fearless approach of the batsmen. In addition, bowlers in this World Cup performed successfully and prompted the best out of themselves. We witnessed that the bowlers who were using their skills and variations effectively were able to find success in defending their first innings score or restricting the opposition from the get-go throughout the competition.
In this article, we will look at three bowling performances in the World Cup which proved to be the main cause for their team's success.
Honourable mention: Mohammad Shami vs Afghanistan - 4 for 40
3. Shaheen Shah Afridi vs New Zealand - 3 for 28
Fresh from their last victory against South Africa at Lord's, Pakistan continued their winning run against New Zealand. In a string of matches that Pakistan needed to win to survive in the race for qualification, their performances were delivered with a passion and were spirited. After a delayed start due to rain, Williamson won the toss and elected to bat first. Mohammad Amir began the innings well, dismissing Guptill on his very first ball.
Sarfaraz Khan handed the ball to Shaheen Afridi in the 7th over and he delivered brilliantly for his side. Afridi's quick angled deliveries towards Munro nicked the outside edge of the bat and flew straight towards the first slip, where Haris Sohail made no mistake. New Zealand was in all sorts of trouble with 24-2 in 6.2 overs when Ross Taylor came out to steady the ship for the Kiwis.
Where Williamson was looking rock-solid in the middle facing the swift and rapid deliveries of the Pakistani pacers, Taylor was struggling on the other side. A few moments later another Afridi delivery nicked the outside edge of Taylor's willow. Sarfaraz took a blinder behind the stumps to send Taylor back for 3 runs. Shaheen Afridi was on fire, claiming 2 wickets in 3 overs despite leaking only 5 runs.
Afridi's fiery spell produced one more wicket for his side when he followed up his maiden over with another outside edge of the batsman and this time, the prey was Tom Latham. In a match where Babar Azam's 100 stole the limelight, it was the lively spell by Afridi which laid the foundation for his teams victory.
Shaheen Shah Afridi took a total of 16 wickets in the tournament in just 5 matches which he was part of.