Team of the 2007 World Cup

After a long tournament where Australia retained their title in dominating style, the 2007 World Cup has now passed into the annals of history.

Looking back at the 51 games, 16 nations and 240 players, which of the competitors stood out and made the Cricket Web 2007 World Cup Team of the Tournament?

Predictably the team is primarily made up from the finalists. The unbeaten and impressive Australians are rewarded with 5 places, in addition to the 12th man, and the dangerous Sri Lankans gain three positions.

The team is rounded out by three players that didn’t play in the final. For two of these players their performances throughout the tournament were of such a nature that makes their inclusion virtually automatic. However, there is one selection that may be controversial, but the reasons for that choice will be explained.

Maybe surprisingly, semi-finalists, South Africa, fail to merit a single inclusion. A player with the talents that Jacques Kallis possesses may be considered very unfortunate to be left out. However, throughout the Tournament South Africa were inconsistent. On paper, Graeme Smith and Kallis performed well but both failed in important games such as the loss to Bangladesh (this disaster lead South Africa to have to face a rampant Australia in the semi-final) and the semi-final itself where Australia dominated the Proteas.

Arguments could also be made that a number of high-flying players from the other 3 semi-finalists were unfortunate to miss the cut. Bowlers such as Shaun Tait, Chaminda Vaas, Nathan Bracken, Daniel Vettori and Shane Bond couldn’t have done much more than they did. All five had fantastic tournaments and contributed heavily to their team’s success. In the same regard, batsmen such as Sanath Jayasuriya and Michael Clarke may feel hard done by failing to make the final XI.

Anyway, enough about those that didn’t make the team and moving on to those that did.

AC Gilchrist (wkt) (Australia)
Games-11 Runs-453 HS-149 Average-45.30 SR-103.89 100s-1 50s-2
Can one innings catapult a player into the Team of The Tournament? Well the answer is a resounding yes if that innings is the highest score ever in a World Cup final, scored at a strike rate of 143.26 and it involved the dismantling of a very capable Sri Lankan attack. Squash ball or no squash ball, the innings by Adam Gilchrist in the final was one of the most memorable and destructive innings in World Cup (if not One Day International) history.

ML Hayden (Australia)
Games-11 Runs-659 HS-158 Average- 73.22 SR-101.07 100s-3 50s-1
Matthew Hayden took the 2007 Cricket World Cup by the scruff of the neck and never let go. Hayden finished the tournament as the clear leader in runs scored. Hayden’s 650 runs included 3 centuries, one of which was the fastest ever in World Cup history. The fastest hundred in World Cup history was an innings of intent as it came against a South Africa team that were ranked number 1 in the World pre-tournament. Hayden’s destruction of Shaun Pollock and the rest of the Protea attack gave Australia a clear psychological advantage over their closest rivals and effectively cleared the path of challengers for the rest of the Tournament.

RT Ponting (capt) (Australia)
Games-11 Runs-539 HS-113 Average-67.37 SR-95.39 100s-1 50s-4
Normal service continued for Ricky Ponting as he further added to his already impressive credentials as arguably the finest batsman in the World. There may not have been the drama and excitement of his innings in the 2003 final but in the 2007 World Cup Ponting ruthlessly piled up the runs as a batsman and victories as captain.

KP Pietersen (England)
Games-9 Runs-444 HS-104 Average-55.50 SR-81.100s-2 50s-3
Pietersen shone in the England team like a 100 watt bulb in a room full of candles. It wasn’t just that KP was England’s best player; it was that he was their only player of genuine ability and consistency. An already poor World Cup for England would have been nothing short of a national embarrassment without Pietersen. Many players would have crumbled under the pressure of being the primary scorer of runs for their team but Pietersen relished the role and scored two magnificent hundreds. For the few that doubted, Pietersen proved that he is one of the World’s premier One Day batsmen.

DPMD Jayawardene (Sri Lanka)
Games-11 Runs- 548 HS-115* Average-60.88 SR-85.09 100s-1 50s-4
Some players may be more famous, some players maybe more adventurous and some players maybe more glamorous but few, if any, batsmen are more important to their team than Mahela Jayawardene. Since taking over as captain of Sri Lanka, Jayawardene has lead from the front and nowhere was this more evident than in the semi-final against New Zealand. His 115 not out, scored at over a run a ball, saw his team into the final and gave Sri Lanka a chance of glory.

SB Styris (New Zealand)
Games-10 Runs-499 HS-111* Average-83.16 SR-83.44 100s-1 50s-4
Games-10 Wickets-9 BB-4/43 Average-26.88 Econ-4.24

Before the Tournament began Scott Styris would have been an unlikely candidate to be one of the top players. However, Styris delivered from the very first game with 87 not out against England when New Zealand had been in trouble and he finished the Tournament as the 4th highest run-scorer. During the World Cup, Styris played measured cricket under pressure and heavily contributed with both the bat and his useful medium pacers to New Zealand reaching the semi-final.

RN ten Doeschate (Netherlands)
Games-3 Runs-128 HS-70* Average-64.00 SR-86.48 100s-0 50s-2
Ten Doeschate is by far the most controversial choice in this Team of the World Cup given that he only played 3 games and the Netherlands only managed a single victory and that was against the disappointing Scots. However, in the context of Associate member performance he was outstanding with the bat (if disappointing with the ball). Ten Doeschate scored 2 fifties in three innings and showed the World what a talented player he was. In doing so, ten Doeschate took the mantle of the finest player from a non-Test playing nation from Steve Tikolo. Surrounded by little support, ten Doeschate made a statement to the world about his ability and hammered home the fact that not all the best players come from the ‘Big 8’ countries.

GB Hogg (Australia)
Games-11 Wickets-21 BB-4/27 Average-15.80 Econ-4.00
On wickets that suited his style of bowling, Brad Hogg mesmerized batsmen with his potent mix of chinaman and googlies. Batsmen played Hogg like it was an exam for a class they hadn’t attended. In the One Day game it is difficult for spinners to be aggressive and attack but Hogg regularly went passed the outside edge of a defensive shot and he made distinguished players such as Andrew Flintoff and Herschelle Gibbs look foolish. Hogg finished the 2007 World Cup as the 4th highest wicket-taker.

SL Malinga (Sri Lanka)
Games-8 Wickets-18 BB-4/54 Average-15.77 Econ-4.86
Distinctive and dangerous, despite missing 3 games through injury, Malinga was the breakout star of the 2007 World Cup. With his long, bleached, bushy hair and his unusual slingy, round-arm action, Malinga was the most instantly recognizable player in the tournament. However, he had cricketing substance as well. Malinga bowled at good pace, troubled virtually every batsman and his four wickets in four balls against South Africa almost rescued the game for Sri Lanka from an impossible position.

M Muralitharan (Sri Lanka)
Games-10 Wickets-23 BB-4/19 Average-15.26 Econ-4.14
As with Ponting, it was business as usual for Muralitharan in the 2007 World Cup. For someone who has been around for nearly 15 years it is a testament to his abilities that he can continue to confound and confuse opposition batsmen with such regularity. Only the genius of McGrath prevented Muralitharan finishing the Tournament as the leading wicket-taker and cricket fans around the world will be pleased by the news that he has pledged to continue playing.

GD McGrath (Australia)
Games-11 Wickets-26 BB-3/14 Average-13.73 Econ-4.41
The finest seam bowler of his generation bowed out at the top. McGrath finished the tournament as the leading wicket-taker and he will go down in the records as one of the greatest winners in cricket history. In the 2007 World Cup, as for the rest of his career, McGrath was a captain’s dream and a batsman’s worst nightmare. McGrath bowled with incredible accuracy whilst at the same time bowling wicket-taking balls. McGrath’s retirement will have lead to spontaneous rounds of applause and exhaled breaths of relief from batsmen across the globe.

12th Man- MJ Clarke
Games-11 Runs-436 HS-93* Average-87.20 SR-94.98 100s-0 50s-4
Michael Clarke could be considered unlucky not to make the final eleven for Team of the Tournament. However, Clarke is the near perfect 12th man or replacement. Clarke is a magnificent fielder, useful bowler with his left-arm orthodox spin and most importantly, as he further proved in the 2007 World Cup, a batsman of talent and production.

Player of the 2007 World Cup
The sentimental choice would be Glenn McGrath and there would be a great deal of cricketing merit in that decision as he finished as the clear leader in wickets taken. However, one man destroyed the dreams of the number one ranked nation and scored runs and hundreds in the Tournament at a rate that nobody else could come close to matching.

Cricket Web 2007 Cricket World Cup Player of the Tournament- Matthew Hayden

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