Debutants shone in their first appearances in the cricket World Cup as the 2015 event got off to an exciting start. Australian opener Aaron Finch led the way with a brilliant hundred. Glenn Maxwell joined in the run-spree, smashing a 30-ball half-century. Lanky English paceman Steven Finn rounded off the innings with a hat-trick, thereby bagging a five-wicket haul. This was the eighth hat-trick in the World Cup, with Malinga snatching two of them. Paceman Mitchell Marsh grabbed five wickets of his own, even as James Taylor battled it out in vain for England with an unbeaten 98. All this happened on the opening day even as these played soaked in the premier tournament for the first time.
When Mitchell Marsh walked on to the field, he completed the fourth combination of father and son to have played in the World Cup. Geoff Marsh was vice captain of the Aussie 1987 Cup-winning side. For New Zealand, Lance Cairns played in 1975, 1979 and 1983 and offspring Chris Cairns turned out in 1992, 1996, 1999 and 2003. Don Pringle appeared for East Africa in 1975 while his son Derek Pringle represented England in 1987 and 1992. English opener Chris Broad took the field for England in 1987; two decades later Stuart Broad emerged and is now turning out in his third World Cup. If Stuart Binny is selected in the playing eleven for India, he will emulate his father Roger who was leading wicket-taker when India wrested the title in 1983, and went on to play in the 1987 event as well.
Not to be outdone, South Africa’s David Miller hit a superb century of his own, and shared a record fifth-wicket partnership with Jean-Paul Duminy in all One-day Internationals, even as Zimbabwe put up a determined fight. Miller sent the spectators into a frenzy as he blasted 30 runs in an over.
In the needle encounter with Pakistan, as Virat Kohli carved out his second hundred in the World Cup to go with his maiden one on debut in 2011, Sohail Khan captured five Indian wickets. The complete list of bowlers who have had five-wicket returns on World Cup debut is Gary Gilmour, Dennis Lillee, Austin Codrington, Damien Fleming, Ravi Rampaul, Steven Finn, Mitchell Marsh and Sohail Khan. India’s Mohammad Shami had four scalps to show as he bowled for the first time in the showpiece event.
While Ireland were upstaging the West Indies in spectacular fashion, Lendl Simmons put up a sterling show with a fighting century. This completed a full complement of batsmen scoring hundreds on World Cup debut thus far comprising Glenn Turner, Dennis Amiss, Allan Lamb, Trevor Chappell, Geoff Marsh, Andy Flower, Nathan Astle, Gary Kirsten, Craig Wishart, Scott Styris, Andrew Symonds, Jeremy Bray, Virat Kohli, Aaron Finch, David Miller and Lendl Simmons.
World Cup debutants indeed made the first three days of the 2015 tournament memorable with bat as well as ball, leaving fans yearning for more exhilarating fare.
(For more updates on the cricket World Cup 2015 please see my other blog singhiv.wordpress.com too).