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Last Updated:  Thursday, 6 March, 2003, 12:48 GMT
World Cup stars shine bright
By Alex Trickett

Despite political and rain-related hiccups, Cricket World Cup 2003 has already served up tremendous entertainment, producing its share of larger-than-life heroes along the way.

Its batsmen have smashed the four fastest fifties in tournament history, while Australian pacemen Andy Bichel and Glenn McGrath have recorded rare seven wicket hauls.

But which XI impressed most during the group stages? And who is poised to star in the latter stages of the competition?

Sachin Tendulkar, India

CWC 2003 runs: 469
Average: 78.2
Highlight: 98 runs to inspire win v Pakistan

In one-day cricket or Test matches, the search for the world's best batsman begins and ends with Tendulkar.

The Little Master is relishing his new role as an opener and already has five 50s - in six innings - to his name.

A dazzling knock of 98 against Pakistan showed boundless spirit and class.

Herschelle Gibbs, South Africa

CWC 2003 runs: 384
Average: 96
Highlight: 143 runs against NZ

South Africa may have crumbled under the pressure of being hosts, but Gibbs did not.

He opened their innings with a rare combination of power and patience and capped a great World Cup with a beautifully-struck knock of 143 against New Zealand.

Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka (captain)

CWC 2003 runs: 269
Wickets: 5
Highlight: Splendid ton against NZ

Jayasuriya has led by example to help Sri Lanka qualify from a difficult group.

His country's leading run-scorer, the captain has shown control and awareness in his field management and has chipped in with some useful wickets.

He did not allow heads to drop after a humiliating defeat to Kenya and must now fancy his chances of a 1996 repeat.

Ramnaresh Sarwan, West Indies

CWC 2003 runs: 209
Average: 104.5
Highlight: Bravery in losing cause v SL

Not a name many were familiar with before the tournament, Sarwan gave Windies fans hope for the future with some considered middle-order batting.

He also showed great courage to defy doctors orders by rushing back from hospital to resume his innings in a losing effort against Sri Lanka.

John Davison, Canada

CWC 2003 runs: 226
Wickets: 10
Highlight: Fastest-ever WC ton

The tournament's top all-rounder to date gave tremendous entertainment to Canadians and neutrals alike and big scares to two Test nations.

Davison's century against the West Indies was nothing short of momentous, clubbing his team into contention while setting a record for the fastest World Cup ton.

His 75 against New Zealand was almost as impressive and he took 10 wickets for good measure.

Rahul Dravid, India (wicket-keeper)

CWC 2003 runs: 165
Average: 55.7
Highlight: Unbeaten knock v Pakistan

Already one of the world's premier Test batsmen, Dravid has been given the additional role of wicket-keeper at this World Cup and has performed admirably.

Despite the odd slip-up behind the stumps, he has been able to keep his batting focus, dropping down the order to marshal India to some big totals.

Andrew Flintoff, England

CWC 2003 runs: 156
Wickets: 7
Highlight: All-round heroics v India

Flintoff provided fire with bat and ball for a generally-flat England team.

His sparkling spell claimed two wickets for 15 runs against India, before an excellent knock of 64 provided the only batting resistance.

His display against Australia was also a credit.

Tim de Leede, Holland

CWC 2003 runs: 98
Wickets: 11
Highlight: Taking Tendulkar's wicket

The men in orange have been a revelation and De Leede has done well with bat and ball.

He returned figures of four for 35 against India, claiming the wickets of fellow World Cup all-stars Tendulkar and Dravid.

Also managed an unbeaten knock of 58.

Andy Bichel, Australia

CWC '03 wickets: 12
Average: 2.8
Highlight: Seven wickets v England

Bichel made the most of his chance to shine by demolishing the England top order in a brilliant spell at Port Elizabeth.

And he proved to be no mug with the bat either, chasing down a tough target with help from Michael Bevan.

Bichel is likely to be rewarded with a regular place in the Super Sixes following the injury to Jason Gillespie.

Chaminda Vaas, Sri Lanka

CWC '03 wickets: 16
Average: 9.9
Highlight: Hat-trick v Bangladesh

The tournament's leading wicket-taker has been one of its most consistent performers.

Vaas' line and length have troubled most batsmen he has faced and he will be a key weapon in the Super Sixes.

Memorably, he made history by taking a hat-trick with the first three balls of the game against Bangladesh.

Collins Obuya, Kenya

CWC '03 wickets: 9
Average: 21.1
Highlight: 5-24 in shock win over SL

The Kenyan bowlers have shared the wickets during their surprisingly successful World Cup campaign.

But Obuya starred in the key win over Sri Lanka that booked his country a place in the Super Sixes.

He will have the chance to shine again when he plays Tendulkar and company on Friday.

XI to watch in the Super Sixes:

Adam Gilchrist Australia (wicket-keeper)
Stephen Fleming New Zealand (captain)
Sachin Tendulkar India
Andy Flower Zimbabwe
Aravinda de Silva Sri Lanka
Ricky Ponting Australia
Yuvraj Singh India
Michael Bevan Australia
Muttiah Muralitharan Sri Lanka
Shane Bond New Zealand
Glenn McGrath Australia

Your best World Cup XI?
06 Mar 03 |  Sports Talk


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