As the dust settles on a frenetic World Cup 2023, here is ESPNcricinfo’s team of the tournament. It is based on Smart Stats, a metric that evaluates every batting and bowling performance in each game, taking into account match context (details below). The Impact Rating mentioned for a player is the sum of his batting and bowling ratings, and is averaged to a per-match value. No points are awarded for fielding or captaincy.
Inns: 6, Runs: 329, Ave: 54.83, SR: 127.51, Wkts: 2, Impact Rating: 100.97
Travis Head missed the first half of the tournament with a hand injury, and played only six of Australia’s 11 matches, but what an impact he made in those matches. He started with a 67-ball 109 against New Zealand, and then, after a few quiet games, struck form again when it mattered the most. On a difficult Eden Gardens pitch in the semi-finals, his 62 was more than twice the next-best in the innings, not to mention the two wickets he took. In the final, his stunning catch to dismiss Rohit Sharma stopped India’s charge, before the century completely knocked them out. His two hundreds were among the eight most impactful batting performances of the tournament, and he became only the fourth player to be named the Player of the Match in both semi-final and final of a men’s ODI World Cup.
Rohit Sharma (capt)
Inns: 11, Runs: 597, Ave: 54.27, SR: 125.94, Wkts: 1, Impact Rating: 72.39
In nine out of 11 innings, Rohit Sharma scored at least 40; in eight of them he scored at over a run a ball, and his strike rate exceeded 150 on four of those occasions. Usually, it’s tough to combine run-scoring and quick-scoring, but Rohit managed it over the entire tournament: he was the second-highest run-getter, and among the 13 batters who made at least 400 runs, only Glenn Maxwell scored at a faster rate. His 401 runs in the first powerplay were a whopping 54% better than the next-best (David Warner’s 260), and he scored 58% of India’s total runs while he was at the crease. All these factors meant that despite scoring 168 fewer runs than Virat Kohli, his impact rating was only marginally lower.
Inns: 11, Runs: 765, Ave: 95.62, SR: 90.31, Wkts: 1, Impact Rating: 73.14
Virat Kohli’s World Cup was the stuff of dreams: nine 50-plus scores in 11 innings, including three hundreds, and an all-time-high tournament aggregate of 765, 92 more than Sachin Tendulkar’s previous record of 673. His 85 against Australia – from 2 for 3 – in India’s tournament opener set the tone, and there was no looking back.
Inns: 9, Runs: 552, Ave: 69.00, SR: 111.06, Impact Rating: 67.94
With Kane Williamson unavailable for much of the tournament, New Zealand needed the other top-order batters to step up, and Daryl Mitchell, along with Rachin Ravindra, did that splendidly. In seven out of nine innings, Mitchell scored at over a run a ball, and his show of intent was vital in throwing bowlers off their lengths and allowing New Zealand to score briskly in the middle overs (11 to 40): their run rate of 6.47 in that phase was the best among all teams. Mitchell’s tally of 472 in the middle overs was second only to Kohli’s 576, and he got those runs at an excellent strike rate of 111.58. A huge factor in his success was his stats against spin: 234 runs at an average of 78 and a strike rate of 106.84.
KL Rahul (wk)
Inns: 10, Runs: 452, Ave: 75.33, SR: 90.76, Impact Rating: 43.61
No batter scored as many runs at No. 5 as KL Rahul did, and only Quinton de Kock (594) scored more runs as a wicketkeeper. Rahul’s ability was never in doubt, and if there were any questions about his temperament, he answered them quite emphatically over the course of this tournament. He started with an impeccable unbeaten 97 that helped India overcome a shocking start against Australia, when they had been reduced to 2 for 3. His ability to mould his batting according to the needs of the team is what stood out. He had a tough time as wicketkeeper in the final, but through most of the tournament he was tidy, sometimes even spectacular, behind the stumps. His DRS nous was an additional skill that the Impact Rating cannot quantify.
Inns: 9, Runs: 400, Ave: 66.66, SR: 150.37, Wkts: 6, ER: 4.81, Impact Rating: 110.42
Glenn Maxwell provided the most enduring memory of this World Cup with that stunning knock against Afghanistan: in terms of impact numbers, the unbeaten 201 fetched 384.8 points, 141 more than the next best in the tournament. That innings turned a hopeless situation into a miracle victory for Australia, allowing them to keep their winning streak intact after defeats in the first two games. Maxwell scored another century in the tournament – a 44-ball 106 against Netherlands. Apart from that, he made extremely vital contributions with the ball, bowling 68.3 overs at an economy rate of 4.81. He took only six wickets, but his contribution with ball was worth far more than that as he often bowled the tough overs in the first powerplay…