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06 March 201510:48

Can’t stop the big hitting in CWC ’15, a batsman’s paradise

The way the batsmen have scored runs in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, a lot of records will tumble by the time the tournament ends

Can’t stop the big hitting in CWC ’15, a batsman’s paradise - Cricket News

Chris Gayle smashed 215 off 147 balls and now holds the record for the highest individual score in World Cups.

When AB de Villiers was carting the West Indies bowling attack all around the Sydney Cricket Ground, Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien woke up from a nap and turned on the television.

Seeing the Proteas captain was rapidly approaching three figures, O’Brien sensed his record for fastest World Cup ton, set in 2011 off 50 balls against England, was under threat.

As it transpired, it took de Villiers a tardy 52 balls to reach his century and O’Brien’s record was safe.

Five days later, O’Brien was celebrating his birthday in Hobart when Glenn Maxwell got on a roll against Afghanistan. When the Australian all-rounder had plundered 88 off 39 only dismissal stood in his way of breaking the record – and indeed it did, as he looked to go over extra cover only to be caught by Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi.

“I was having a little afternoon nap and I woke up and (de Villiers) was on 78 off 41 or something like that and I thought ‘Oh no!’…thankfully he slowed up towards the end and didn’t quite make it!” O’Brien told Cricket Ireland after de Villiers’ knock.

The way batsmen are scoring at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, it might only be a matter of time before the Irishman’s record does fall.

Brendon McCullum had also looked a likely candidate in Wellington when he smashed the fastest World Cup fifty of all time, from 18 balls, before going out for 77 off 25.

Australia’s batsmen hit full stride at the WACA on Wednesday after struggling in Auckland, starting with David Warner who looked well on the way to breaking Chris Gayle’s record for highest individual World Cup score – set one week ago – before being dismissed for 178 off 133.

Australia itself broke the record for all-time highest team total at the World Cup when it scored 417-6, eclipsing the 413-5 set by India against Bermuda in 2007.

Of the five highest World Cup totals, three have been set in the last six days.

First was South Africa’s 408-5 against West Indies in Sydney, which was the second highest at the time.

The Proteas broke their own record against Ireland in Canberra on Tuesday, smashing 411-4.

Mammoth scores from Warner, Maxwell and Steve Smith (95) were enough for Australia to go even higher one day later.

Following the match, Australia captain Michael Clarke said he thought a couple of factors contributed to the high scores.

“I think the fact that you only have four fielders out instead of five fielders makes a massive difference, and I think the fact you've got two brand new balls means you're hitting a much harder cricket ball the whole way through your innings,” he said.

“I think Twenty20 cricket in general has helped a lot of players in regards to power, as in hitting fours and sixes, but also hitting balls to different areas.

I think Glenn Maxwell was a great example of that today. You've seen obviously Davey, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, they hit 360 degrees, and with only four fielders out with a hard white cricket ball, it's pretty sort of hard to stop those sort of guys on their day.”

Wickets in hand have been the key and the teams who have managed to make it to the final 10 overs with plenty in hand have thrived.

The average run rate in overs 41 to 50 during this tournament has been above 10, a big leap from 2011, when it was 7.64.

There have been 19 team totals above 300 so far, up from 17 for the entire 2011 tournament.

One day after Australia’s efforts in Perth, more records were broken in Nelson when Scotland posted its highest score against a full-member nation and Kyle Coetzer scored 156, the highest total by an Associate player in World Cups.

Clarke said he could not rule out a player one day scoring 300 in an ODI.

“I can guarantee you I cannot make 300 in a One-Day International but someone like (Warner) or Chris Gayle or AB de Villiers on a smaller ground, I think they possibly could,” he said.

“You'd probably have to open the batting, say you've got the full 50 overs. In this game at the moment, who knows. We're seeing so many different shots, different deliveries, so much power.

“I think, yeah, there's a handful of players around the world that probably could do it.”