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Thrilling World Cup has me glued to the screen

The Cricket World Cup is off and running with thrilling matches and individual performances alike.

Some teams' tactics have been impressive while others have left me bewildered, but the thrill of victory and agony of defeat has set this World Cup up for an exciting climb to the top four.

There have been many outstanding performances but let's name my top five.

In at number five is Lasith Malinga. This player with his performance on an average day would certainly come in at number one. Malinga fills this spot with stats of six for 38 against Kenya.

What makes these figures special is the fact that he got three wickets in three consecutive balls, two at the end of one over and a wicket on the very first ball of the next, making it a hat-trick.

The only thing that hindered this performance was that he was slightly costly giving up 38 runs off 7.4 overs. That aside it was definitely a first class performance by any standard.

In fourth spot there is the fast improving West Indies bowler Kemar Roach who also claimed a hat-trick against the Netherlands, claiming six wickets for 27 off 8.3 overs. At the tender age of 22 he is the future of West Indies fast bowling.

With figures like this in his first World Cup one can only wonder what the future holds for him and the West Indies. However, his big test will come when he faces much stiffer opposition.

My choice for number three is not so much one outstanding performance, but two. South African AB de Villiers has been the most consistent batsman thus far, having posted 134 against Netherlands and 107 not out against West Indies.

He is not a major household name like former South African Jonty Rhodes or Jacques Kallis but he has been consistently scoring runs for South Africa. If South Africa are to finally overcome their label of the team that almost won it, they will depend on him to continue his consistency with the bat.

Coming in at second as one of the most outstanding batting performances ever seen in the World Cup is non other than Virender Sehweg.

His innings of 175 runs off 140 balls against Bangladesh was dazzling, something you could watch over and over. He carved their bowlers to all sides of the field claiming fifteen fours and five sixes, calculating a strike rate of 125, which is phenomenal.

If I could name one flaw in Sehweg's performance it would be the fact that he didn't bat the overs out. Had he done this he would have been on par to be the second player in one-day history to score a double ton. Having said that, I believe that this performance by him will not stand alone, great news for India because if they are to lift the title he will have to play a major part.

In at number one is Ireland's Kevin O'Brien.

O'Brien's lethal innings against England destroyed and exploited every tactic they came up with. He scored the fastest hundred ever in cricket World Cup history, scoring 100 off 63 balls, hitting 13 fours and six sixes at a strike rate of an amazing 179.36.

For the non-cricket fans a normal or good batting strike rate is around 80 110, so to be close to a strike rate of 180 is very rare.

What made this innings even more special was that Ireland were 111 for five when he came in and the game seemed all but over. Even the commentators started to discuss their thoughts on the minnows, emphasising that they are very weak and don't belong in this competition.

Humble pie is what they ate after his innings even changing their tune to I guess this is why the minnows are here.

With a month of the World Cup still to come, the anticipation of what's to come will have me tuned in for every match.

I can't imagine anyone topping O'Brien's performance, but then again that is what I thought about Sehwag's performance. You can rest assured that there are many big names that are looking to add their names to the record books. This is what the World Cup should be about.

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Published March 04, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated March 04, 2011 at 9:07 am)

Thrilling World Cup has me glued to the screen

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