The rise of left-arm pacers in world cricket has been a success story since years now. What is impressive is that there is a pool of quality left-arm bowlers, who have seen their stocks rise in modern-day cricket. The ICC World Cup 2019 has seen these bowlers having a strong impact in England and Wales. Collectively, left-arm seamers have been brilliant to watch.
From Mitchell Starc to that of a Shaheen Afridi, the stock of left-arm pacers has mesmerized in the ongoing 2019 World Cup. One has witnessed so much variety and offerings from these pacers. They have somehow managed to add that extra bit in a team’s success. Several teams have that cushion when it comes to this option in the ranks.
That’s why the Indian management was really keen to find a promising left-arm pacer for the World Cup, but never quite managed to get hold of one. Barinder Sran, Jaydev Unadkat and then youngster Khaleel Ahmed were all tried and tested over time, but none caught the eye. Thanks to India’s real character in right-arm pacers, that has not allowed them to miss their counterparts.
Coming back to the World Cup, left-arm pacers have dominated the headlines. From fifers, hat-tricks to consistency, left-arm fast bowlers have been a real treat for everyone watching the game. Left-arm pacers are genuine talents and their variation and angles add to that extra advantage for a side. But not all have the charisma to be that natural player.
Left-arm fast bowlers bring in that X-factor in the world of cricket. Their unique bowling angle allows them to keep both right-handed as well as left-handed batsmen guessing. You add swing and bounce to it, the difficulties rise further.
Here we decode how left-arm fast bowlers took the 2019 World Cup by storm.
Pakistan’s three-man army looked solid and sorted
Pakistan may have missed out on a place in the semi-finals, but the Men in Green bowed out on a high after winning their last four games and finishing on 11 points. NRR played a difference in the end. One major positive for Team Pakistan was their three-man army that looked solid and sorted.
Mohammad Amir had a bright start to the tournament and kept his consistency level on. The celebrated Amir found his rhythm and form to dictate the show. He bowled intelligently and beat the best of batsmen to keep them on their toes. Amir success came in bowling on tight channels and letting the surface support him. He ended up with 17 scalps at a rate of 4.90.
The biggest highlight for Pakistan was the presence of Shaheen Afridi. The youngster was overlooked in the first part of the tournament – a decision that backfired for the side. But once he settled in, Afridi grew in confidence. With 16 scalps from just five matches, Afridi turned out to be highly successful. The lanky youngster mixed his variations and the extra pace that he generates, helped him outwitting batsmen.
Not to forget the supporting role of veteran Wahab Riaz. With a fractured finger in the latter part of the tourney, Wahab came out and bowled his heart out. He may have lost pace, but he still showed his impact with consistent line and lengths. Wahab ended up with 11 scalps. Altogether, the trio picked up 34 scalps between them.
Starc leads the show, Behrendorff supports him ably
Mitchell Starc has been the bowler of the tournament by miles and his consistency needs to be lauded. The Australian fast bowler has already raced to 26 scalps in the ongoing World Cup and is set to write his name in the record books further. With 48 World Cup scalps across two editions, Starc’s numbers are mind-blowing. Another wicket and he will be the top five wicket-taker of all-time in World Cup history.
Starc has been Australia’s prime force with the ball and is used to hunt teams down by skipper Aaron Finch. Whenever a game threatens to get pulled away from Australia, Starc comes in as that messiah to rescue to the side with key scalps. His planning and execution are unmatchable. That’s been the hallmark of his bowling.
Starc has been well supported by another quality left-armer Jason Behrendorff. He wasn’t looked at in the first few games, but since he came in, Behrendorff had brought bundles of spark and energy to this Australian line-up. With nine wickets from four games, the promising bowler has stayed true to his knack of picking up early scalps. He has a great ability and brings a certain sense of heat with the ball.
Boult and Fizz looked fine-tuned
Trent Boult is already an exceptional world-class figure and as expected, the Kiwi superstar has been on the money in CWC 19. With 17 wickets that included a hat-trick, Boult’s tryst with wickets continued to take a surge. His reverse-swinging yorkers have been a major delight. The full-length balls and general movement off the air with the swing he purchases makes him an ideal modern-day great.
He has already become New Zealand‘s most successful bowler in World Cup history. With 15 scalps in CWC 19, Boult is having an excellent second half of the campaign.
Bangladesh youngster Mustafizur Rahman or the Fizz was intelligent throughout the campaign. He shined with 20 wickets to his name and offered so much extra. One thing that separated Fizz from the rest was his ability to bowl those slower off-cutter bouncers. That was his theme at the death. It’s one variation that Fizz added to his arsenal and it worked.
With two fifers in the tournament, Fizz stole the show with his efforts. One factor that did hurt Fizz was conceding truckload of runs. He isn’t someone that gets a natural swing like a Boult. Perhaps that costed him slightly in terms of leaking runs. Fizz has some learning to do in terms of getting those in-swingers and accurate yorkers. But he has all the attributes to strike the chords.