The World Cup 2015 has seen many great innings © Getty Images
The World Cup 2015 has seen many great innings © Getty Images

Australia finished off ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, winning their fifth title in 11 attempts as they triumphed over New Zealand in the final at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Abhishek Mukherjee lists the top 10 innings of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

New Zealand’s eight-match unbeaten run came to a dead end as Australia trounced them by seven wickets in the final of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). New Zealand could not replicate their outstanding performance in the earlier stages, and put up what was probably their worst show of the tournament, going down to the side they had beaten on their way to the final. Top 10 batsmen in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

The World Cup witnessed 22,293 runs being scored off the bat — a whopping 307 more than the tally of ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. There were 38 hundreds scored (the first five editions of the World Cup had amounted to 35 hundreds between them); the first two World Cup double-hundreds were all scored in this edition; and runs were scored at a breakneck 89 runs per hundred balls (for no other edition the number had even reached 80). Top 10 bowlers in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

Of course, there have been innings throughout the tournament that will stand the test of time. Here is a list of the top ten:

10. David Miller 138 not out (92) vs Zimbabwe at Hamilton

Miller’s onslaught was the first great innings of the tournament. Miller had walked out at 67 for three, and when he lost AB de Villiers South Africa were reeling at 83 for four. Miller started cautiously in the company of JP Duminy, and when the pair put up 100 from 112 balls, it seemed South Africa would score somewhere in the 280-290 zone. Top 10 fielders in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

Miller’s 50 had come off 57 balls; the next hundred took a mere 24. Poor Solomon Mire had the misfortune to cross his way in the 48th over: he was taken for three fours and three sixes. By the time South Africa ran out of overs, they had put up an emphatic 339 for four. Top 10 wicketkeepers in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

9. Glenn Maxwell 102 (53) vs Sri Lanka at SCG

It was perhaps Maxwell’s outrageous performance that set the tone of the World Cup for Australia. Shane Watson (67 from 41 balls) was reduced to a spectator in a 160-run stand as Maxwell blazed away to his first One-Day International (ODI)  hundred. There was a phase when it seemed that Maxwell would go past Kevin O’Brien’s World Cup record of a 50-ball 100, but he missed it by one ball.

Surprisingly, it was one of Maxwell’s more effortless performances. The highlight was probably what Thisara Perera had thought a well-disguised slower delivery outside off: Maxwell picked it up early, and gave it the full humpty, dismissing it into the SCG stands with a thwacking blow. Sri Lanka never recovered.

8. Shaiman Anwar 106 (83) vs Ireland at The Gabba

Anwar scored 311 from six innings in the World Cup, which is perhaps the biggest testimony to how good he has been. His finest performance came against Ireland, when UAE were reduced to 78 for four, and later 131 for six.

Then Anwar took over. Amjad Javed provided him support, and Anwar started slowly, the first 43 balls fetching him a mere 34. Then he suddenly imploded, with an outrageous pulled six off George Dockrell. The oddest shot came against Kevin O’Brien: Anwar shuffled across before Kevin started his run-up, exposing all stumps; he tried to pull, the ball took the outside edge, and raced to the third-man fence. Unfazed, he pulled the next ball for four, and late-cut Kevin for three to bring up a 79-ball hundred. UAE reached 278 for nine.

7. Niall O’Brien 79 not out (60) vs West Indies at Nelson

After Lendl Simmons had pushed West Indies to 304, it was always going to be a tough ask for Ireland. William Porterfield helped Paul Stirling put up a solid opening stand; Stirling (92 from 84) and Ed Joyce (84 from 67) also batted with panache; but it was Niall who finished things off.

Ireland needed a mere 31 from 63 balls, but Jerome Taylor brought West Indies back into the match with a triple-blow, removing Joyce, Andy Balbirnie, and Gary Wilson. When Kevin O’Brien was run out Ireland still needed 14, but a composed Niall saw them home.

6. Brendan Taylor 138 (110) vs India at Eden Park

How do you bow out of international cricket? Taylor had almost pulled off a spectacular chase with a 91-ball 121 against Ireland (they lost by five runs, that too following a controversial catch that ended Sean Williams’ innings) in his penultimate innings; but in his last match he took things to another level.

Taylor looked like a man possessed: Zimbabwe were 33 for three, but Taylor seemed unfazed; he took on the fast bowlers; when Ravichandran Ashwin came along, he reverse-swept him for two fours in the same over; he hoisted Mohammed Shami for two sixes; and the 41st over witnessed him take 24 off a Ravindra Jadeja over. He scored 56 off the last 18 balls he faced; unfortunately, the effort ended in vain.

5. Brendon McCullum 77 (25) vs England at Wellington

Several New Zealand innings have been set up by McCullum’s onslaughts, but perhaps none as astonishing as the one against England. Nobody backed the tourists after they were skittled for 123, but what followed took even the most optimistic Kiwi supporter by surprise.

The second over from Stuart Broad went for 18; he was replaced by poor Steven Finn; Baz took him for 48 from 10 balls. By the time he was dismissed in the 43rd ball of the innings, New Zealand had already romped to 105.

4. AB de Villiers 162 not out (66) vs West Indies at SCG

De Villiers came into the tournament on the back of a 44-ball 149 against West Indies, and he ran into them again in the World Cup. He walked out at 146 for three in the 30th over; South Africa added 262 more after his arrival. De Villiers reached 19 from 18 balls; he added 143 from the next 48.

Poor Jason Holder conceded 64 from his last two overs and finished with 104 from 10 (his figures read 5-2-9-1 at one stage). De Villiers also scored the fastest ODI 150 — off a mere 64 balls.

3. Martin Guptill 237 (163) vs West Indies at Wellington

There were two double-hundreds in the tournament (the only ones in the history of the tournament), but Guptill’s was certainly the better of the two. The strokes were, for once, out of the MCC manual, but the West Indians could not stop the rampage. The first 50 came from 64 balls; the next 50 from 47; the next 50 from 23; the next 50 from 18; and the final 37 from 11. It was a comprehensive, clinical, planned assault that ended in a World Cup record.

2. Grant Elliott 84* (73) vs South Africa at Eden Park

Duckworth-Lewis had set New Zealand’s target to a steep 299 from 43 overs in the semi-final; despite the usual initial onslaught from McCullum, a mini-collapse reduced the hosts to 149 for four; they still needed 150 from 128 balls, and the South Africans were looking dangerous. There was Corey Anderson, but someone needed to guide the innings.

It was then that Elliott’s calm presence provided New Zealand with the reassurance they needed. Singles were not missed, boundaries were hit, and the pair added 103; however, there were still runs to be scored, and after the wicket of Luke Ronchi, New Zealand needed someone to score 30 from 17.

The target came down to 18 from eight before Elliott hit a four and a two. Vettori hit Dale Steyn for a four; but with four to score from two balls of Dale Steyn things got a bit tense, but Elliott calmly ended it all with a hoick over mid-wicket for six off the penultimate ball.

1. Samiullah Shenwari 96 (147) vs Scotland at Dunedin

It had to be Shenwari, for it was a lost cause. Seldom has World Cup cricket witnessed a seesaw chase to that extent: chasing 210 Afghanistan raced to 42 without loss and 85 for two before there was a collapse; Afghanistan were reduced to 97 for 7, and it was only a matter of time from there.

Shenwari had other ideas. Dawlat Zadran was the first to come to his support; he hung around as Shenwari kept the scorecard going; Shenwari and Dawlat added a crucial 35, but the asking rate kept creeping up.

Afghanistan needed 74 from 71 balls when Shenwari smashed Josh Davey over deep mid-wicket into the stands before cutting the next ball ferociously to the fence. The pressure eased, but once again the asking rate mounted. Shenwari slog-swept Majid Haq for another six, but Scotland seemed firm favourites when the target came down to 38 from 24.

Then Shenwari unleashed himself against Haq, smashing him for three sixes in four balls; he fell next ball, but it had been an incredible innings. The big men, Hamid Hassan and Shapoor Zadran, then finished things off in fading light with three balls to spare. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Complete Coverage

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here)