Flop XI of the 2023 ODI World Cup ft. Steve Smith and Haris Rauf 

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After a thrilling 45 days of intense matches, the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 reached its conclusion on Sunday (November 19) as Australia dominated Team India at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium. Despite entering the match as slight favorites, the Indian team consistently fell short during the final showdown, succumbing to a six-wicket defeat and concluding their remarkable journey in a heartrending manner.

Australia secured their sixth men’s ODI World Cup title, largely propelled by Travis Head’s brilliant 137 runs and Marnus Labuschagne’s unbeaten 58, leading a formidable fourth-wicket partnership of 192 runs. Virat Kohli’s dismay was evident upon receiving the “Player of the Tournament” award. Despite his exceptional performance—accumulating 765 runs at an astonishing average of 95.62, comprising six fifties and three hundreds—his disappointment was palpable in the wake of the loss.

While Kohli, Mohammed Shami, Rohit Sharma, David Warner, and Adam Zampa showcased stellar performances during the 2023 ODI World Cup, there were individuals who faced challenges and struggled on the field. Let’s explore the disappointing performances that formed the “Flop XI” of the 2023 ODI World Cup.

While most openers delivered commendably for their teams, Temba Bavuma and Kusal Perera failed to make an impact. Bavuma, in particular, received criticism for his lackluster form, significantly contrasting the impressive displays of other South African batters. Despite an average around 80 prior to the tournament, Bavuma managed a mere 145 runs at an average of 18.12 across eight innings, failing to secure a single half-century and causing early setbacks for South Africa.

Similarly, Kusal Perera’s underwhelming performance disappointed Sri Lankan fans. Expected to provide rapid starts, the 33-year-old only amassed 147 runs at a meager average of 21.28. Consequently, Sri Lanka opted to replace him with Dimuth Karunaratne for a couple of matches towards the tournament’s latter stages.

Surprisingly, renowned batters like Joe Root, Steve Smith, and Jos Buttler found themselves on this underperforming XI. These stellar players, considered vital for their respective teams due to their prowess against both spin and pace, failed to shine in the quadrennial event.

Despite being part of the modern-day ‘Fab 4’, Root and Smith were anticipated to score significantly. However, the 2023 ODI World Cup witnessed lackluster performances from both. Root managed 276 runs at an average of 30.66 across nine innings, with a strong start of 159 runs in his initial two games but only tallying 117 runs in the subsequent seven innings at a mere average of 16.17.

Smith, considered one of Australia’s key players, had a disappointing run, accumulating 302 runs at an average of 33.55 and a strike rate of 80.96. Despite these numbers, the majority of his runs—77 against the Netherlands and 63* against Bangladesh—came against relatively weaker opponents.

The batting line-up further includes wicket-keepers Tom Latham and Jos Buttler, both failing to make significant contributions with the bat. Latham managed 155 runs at an average of 25.83, scoring two fifties early in the tournament against the Netherlands and Afghanistan.

Buttler had an even more disappointing campaign, amassing only 138 runs at a poor average of 15.33 across nine innings, with his highest score of 43 coming in the opening game against New Zealand. The all-rounders, Iftikhar Ahmed and Moeen Ali, also fell short with their performances. Iftikhar struggled to make an impact both with the bat and ball, contributing only 142 runs at a strike rate of 115.44 and picking up four wickets in 48 overs.

Moeen Ali, known for his elegant left-handed batting and off-spin bowling, disappointed by scoring just 95 runs at an average of 15.83 in six innings and securing five wickets at an elevated bowling average of nearly 50. Completing the XI are pace bowlers Haris Rauf, Mark Wood, and Mustafizur Rahman. Rauf, in particular, faced challenges as Pakistan’s primary bowler in the absence of Naseem Shah. However, he struggled and conceded 533 runs while taking 16 wickets across nine innings, with an economy rate of 6.74—the highest among bowlers who bowled 70 overs or more.

Wood’s bowling failed to impress, managing only six wickets at an average of 58.16 and an economy rate of 6.46 across seven innings, whereas Mustafizur Rahman, despite being Bangladesh’s most experienced pacer, struggled to make an impact, securing just five wickets at an average of 79.60 and a strike rate of 78.8.

The “Flop XI” of the 2023 ODI World Cup: Temba Bavuma, Kusal Perera, Joe Root, Steve Smith, Tom Latham (wk), Jos Buttler, Iftikhar Ahmed, Moeen Ali, Haris Rauf, Mark Wood and Mustafizur Rahman

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