Bairstow beats a shadow as Dhoni becomes one

ESPNcricinfo's travelling reporters pick the moments they remember from an action-packed Week 5 at the World Cup

Favourite performance

Jonny Bairstow is an extraordinary, complex character - the only man alive who is capable of picking a fight with a shadow and winning it. So when he went to war with England's "haters" on the eve of England's must-win contest with India and found himself embroiled in a slanging match with Michael Vaughan as a result, you somehow knew what was coming next. A furious, yet intelligent, flush-faced hundred put the match out of India's reach and stuck a metaphorical middle finger up at anyone who cared to take offence. - Andrew Miller

Imad Wasim. An unfairly maligned cricketer - even his prime minister hates him - showed his worth with an innings of composure against Afghanistan. - Karthik Krishnaswamy

Jonny Bairstow against India, especially the way he demolished Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, the "pillars" of Indian bowling according to Virat Kohli. Having picked the brains of VVS Laxman at Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL, where he played for the first time, Bairstow dominated the spinners, and his success was based as much on power as intelligence, as he kept punishing the spinners to the shorter 59-metre boundary. - Nagraj Gollapudi

Imad Wasim's innings v Afghanistan. - Mohammad Isam

Jonny Bairstow dispelling the angst of a tetchy week with his maiden World Cup hundred was hugely impressive, as was Avishka Fernando's innings against West Indies, adding a bit of batting sparkle to Sri Lanka's surprisingly productive tournament. - Alan Gardner

Wow moment

Mohammed Shami to Shai Hope. A 24-carat wowzer of precision and beauty causing breathlessness. Seam up, cutting in through the gate clipping the top of off. En garde, ye batsmen, said Shami, this is what I can do. It was in only his second World Cup match. There will be more where that came from. - Sharda Ugra

Miller: In a World Cup studded with stunning takes, Martin Guptill staked a claim for a podium place with a breathlessly brilliant one-handed catch at leg gully off Steven Smith. He was a mere 17 metres from the bat, yet launched himself high to his left to cling onto a stinging pull. Okay, he'd dropped two catches already, but fortunately Guptill didn't have time to think about this one.

Gardner: Virat Kohli missing out on a hundred yet again. England were ruing having dropped Rohit Sharma on 4 as India built steadily in their chase at Edgbaston, only for Kohli to throw them a bone when supremely well set by steering an innocuous Liam Plunkett delivery to backward point.

Krishnaswamy: A great shot for three, from KL Rahul. A back-of-a-length ball from Mashrafe Mortaza, delivered at an annoying angle and rising to an annoying height, cramping him for room on the back foot. But he times the turn of his wrists perfectly, and the ball runs away between mid-on and midwicket, and it would have been four if it hadn't been hit towards one of the longer boundaries at Edgbaston.

Gollapudi: Mohammed Shami uprooting Shai Hope's off stump with a nip backer. Describing the ball, Shami had a sweet smile, saying line and length are his strengths. The ball was seaming and cutting, and with variable bounce, he just needed to land it on the right spot. He did that on a straight seam. Hope lunged to play a drive, the ball cut through late, piercing that narrow divide between bat and pad to hit off stump. For one second you thought there was an inside edge, but it was clean bowled.

Best contest

Gardner: England's battle to get Jasprit Bumrah away in the last ten overs. Like trying to land a punch on a ghost.

Ugra: Sri Lanka v West Indies because to use that unhumblebrag observation, 'I wuz there.' To watch the crowds stream in (we've sold kidneys months ago to buy the bloody tickets, let's go) on a Monday morning for the first official dead rubber in CWC2019 between the two flakiest sides in the competition. By the end of the afternoon, the papare band was in full voice, Rihanna was in the house, and the West Indies nearly broke the record for the highest World Cup chase. The match could be the making of Nicholas Pooran. As the great Ian Bishop would say, 'Remember the name.'

Miller: When Pakistan are in one of those moods… cuffing at all comers like cornered tigers and playing with the purpose that comes when they feel the world is against them, Afghanistan are surely the last opponents they'd choose to face. A side that uses that exact same mindset to get the better of supposedly better prepared opponents, and with whom there is clearly no love lost, to judge by the mood in the stands. The obligation to play as favourites almost overwhelmed Pakistan, but that it didn't quite, set the stage for an utter humdinger.

Isam: Kohli v Jason Holder

Krishnaswamy: Sri Lanka-West Indies. The deadest rubber, but who cares: this was a contest that showed context isn't everything. If you love cricket, you shouldn't need external reasons to watch it or enjoy it. It wouldn't have "mattered" if Sri Lanka won or lost, but Angelo Mathews cared enough to risk life and limb and trundle in to bowl.

Gripping phase of play

Gollapudi: Rishabh Pant hitting three successive fours in the over after Mustafizur Rahman had picked two wickets in three balls. Talk about snatching momentum.

Krishnaswamy: Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli trusting their ability and just hanging in there against England, even while being frustrated by a sluggish pitch and disciplined bowling, knowing they could catch up later and keep India in the game.

Miller: It left every England fan sick with worry, but there was something supreme about the middle overs of India's run-chase at Edgbaston - a tournament on the line, nerves as taut as a high wire, two all-time great ODI batsmen in Rohit and Kohli pacing India's response. England were obliged to beat the best to get their tournament back on track, and with gritted teeth and focused minds, they did so.

Isam: Shakib Al Hasan bowling from the end with the shorter boundary against India at Edgbaston and conceding 41 off 10 overs.

Gardner: The final stages of Pakistan's chase against Afghanistan were stretched tight with nerves, Asghar Afghan's failure to locate a miscue from Imad Wasim was the decisive moment.


Ugra: That Fabian Allen can bat. Again, the Chester-le-Street dead rubber full of incident. When Allen turned up and began burning up a supposedly imposing and unreachable target (for West Indian batting anyway), a Sri Lankan journalist walked past Andrew Fidel Fernando and me muttering darkly, "Bowler. That's what Cricinfo player profile says he is - a bowler."

Isam: MS Dhoni v England.

Krishnaswamy: New Zealand fading so much after their unbeaten start and ending up as the team everyone wants to meet in the semi-finals.

Gollapudi: Virat Kohli failing to convert a solid start into a century against England. The king of chases has failed to make a ton in seven innings at this World Cup.

Miller: The speed with which the pitch at Chester-le-Street, for the England-New Zealand game, suddenly gave up the ghost and became a claggy graveyard for strokemakers. From 190 for 1 in the 30th over, England lost 111 for 7 in their next 20 to give New Zealand an apparent glimmer. And yet, in scenes that might have constituted a surprise earlier in the tournament, England resisted the urge to hit their way out of trouble, choosing instead to bat through the overs and trust that New Zealand would find it just as hard.

Gardner: New Zealand's sudden dip in form - the tournament was set up nicely for them but three bad performances in a row does not augur well for their (likely) semi-final.

Tactical masterstroke

Ugra: Angelo. Superman. Mathews. Telling his captain, let me handle this. Bowling his first ball in months. Months. Months. Taking the one wicket Sri Lanka needed to prevent egg-on-face, apocalypse-around-the-corner defeat. This was muscle memory showing off its stuff. This was ball of the century material, not the boring preparation, nets, training, overs upon overs. One ball in months gets the wicket it wants. Game over.

Gardner: Angelo Mathews putting his hand up to bowl the 48th over against West Indies, before floating up an old-school sucker ball to Nicholas Pooran. Genius.

Miller: Does it even count as a tactic if it has clearly been conjured up on the hoof, in a moment of "what could possibly go wrong" caution-to-the-wind flinging? Angelo Mathews hadn't bowled a single over in ODIs since December 2017 - and not even turned his arm over in the nets for eight months. But there was nothing wrong with his muscle memory when, with a rampant Nicholas Pooran in his sights and a match to be won and lost, he ambled up for his first delivery in yonks and bagged the scalp that sealed the match.

Krishnaswamy: England's death bowling to India at Edgbaston. After Hardik Pandya tore into Chris Woakes for one over, they didn't make a single mistake - setting their fields perfectly, bowling the perfect lines and lengths, never letting India attack the short boundary.

Gollapudi: Shami exposing Eoin Morgan's weakness against the short ball by pitching straight up a screaming, climbing short-pitched delivery, which the England captain played awkwardly to be caught easily.

Facepalm moment

Gardner: Dhoni dying a slow death against England. His approach was almost as baffling as the idea India needed to protect their net run-rate with games against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to come.

Miller: Gulbadin Naib's crazy self-confidence in the crunch moment of Pakistan's run-chase at Headingley. In a contest in which his spinners had gone at less than a run an over, and with 46 runs still needed from 30 balls, Afghanistan's captain somehow thought his soft-focus seamers would be the means to close out the game. As ESPNcricinfo's ball-by-ball commentary noted: "Gulbadin decides to bowl. Don't think that's the wisest thing. He has spin options. One expensive over and Pakistan will have this." Eighteen game-seizing runs later, the match had swung decisively.

Gollapudi: Skirmishes in the stands between fans during the Afghanistan-Pakistan contest.

Ugra: Not a good week for Shai Hope. The Dhoni stumping miss, with aeons of time to make up for the first fumble. With the batsman so far down the track that he could have been stumped twice. Had Dhoni been keeping, he would have had a cuppatea before stumping himself. Twice. That kind of time. That degree of facepalm.

Krishnaswamy: Ross Taylor knowing he shouldn't be running that second run against England, but he's started running and can't stop, so he keeps running, knowing what's about to happen.