2023 ICC World Cup Qualifiers Team of the Tournament

Maheesh Theekshana was unstoppable with his deliveries in Zimbabwe

The ICC World Cup Qualifiers 2023 came to an end on Sunday with Sri Lanka topping the Super Six stages and winning the final without breaking a sweat. It comes as no surprise that their players dominate the Team of the Tournament with a few players from West Indies, Zimbabwe, the Netherlands, and Scotland. 

The team is opened by players from Sri Lanka with batters from Zimbabwe, Scotland, and West Indies following up. There is an all-rounder from the Netherlands with pacers from Zimbabwe and the Netherlands backing him up. The spinners from Sri Lanka complete this side which can give any full-member nation a run for their money. 

Before the main tournament starts in India, let’s look into the Team of the Tournament of the 2023 ICC World Cup Qualifiers. 

Top Order – Dimuth Karunaratne, Pathum Nissanka, and Sean Williams 

Known mainly for his heroics in Test cricket, Dimuth Karunaratne was asked to open for Sri Lanka as others failed to make the most of their opportunity. He started the tournament with a half-century each against UAE and Oman followed by a century against Ireland. He faltered in his next three matches before ending the tournament with an 83-run knock against West Indies.

In the matches where he didn’t play or score a fifty, Sri Lanka failed to cross the 250-run mark. Averaging 61.5 runs per match, Karunaratne was also good at running between the wickets – a skill extremely underrated in ODI cricket. He scored only 35 boundaries and not a single six off his 369 runs. 

Opening the innings with Karunaratne, Pathum Nissanka scored two centuries and two half-centuries in the tournament. Although he scored 417 runs which is more than Karunaratne’s tally, it came at the expense of having played one more match. 

Like Karunaratne, Nissanka also didn’t strike a single six in the tournament and showed his class with glorious drives through the off side and pulls through the leg side. Nissanka’s centuries against Zimbabwe and West Indies late in the tournament helped Sri Lanka pick up comfortable wins against them. 

Batting at No.3 is Zimbabwe’s Sean Williams. The fierce 36-year old scored 600 runs in the tournament from seven games with three centuries and two half-centuries to his name. Moreover, he did so at a strike rate of 139.21 which is also the tournament highest for any batter. 

Middle Order – Brandon McMullen, Shai Hope, Bas de Leede, and Nicholas Pooran

Brandon McMullen is lethal both with the bat and the ball

Scotland’s Brandon McMullen had two centuries to his name and averaged 56 runs from 7 games. At times, it looked like he was carrying the team on his shoulders as the rest of his teammates failed to share the load. McMullen also features in the list of the top 10 wicket-takers in the tournament with 13 scalps from 7 games. 

Shai Hope also displayed his batting prowess in the tournament with sublime stroke playing. While Pooran went with all guns blazing, Hope anchored the innings with singles and boundaries. With 342 runs off 353 deliveries, the West Indies wicket-keeper is marginally behind the tally of Pooran’s 350. 

Snatching a win from the jaws of defeat against Scotland with a figure of 5-52 and a knock of 123 runs off 92 deliveries, the Netherlands’ Bas de Leede finds himself on the list as one of the all-rounders. De Leede’s variation in pace troubled the batters as he ended the tournament as the Netherlands’ highest wicket-taker with 15 wickets from 7 games.

Nicholas Pooran is known for his fearless batting and ended the tournament with the second-highest strike rate for players having notched more than 300 runs. The left-hander also hit the most number of sixes (16) in the tournament. 

The only West Indies batter to score two centuries, he hit 6 of the maximums against the Netherlands in a single match as he helped his side post a total of 374. The other century came against Nepal which saw him stitch a partnership of 216 runs for the fourth wicket with Shai Hope. 

Bowlers – Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Logan van Beek, and Richard Ngarava 

Hasaranga was the highest wicket-taker in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers 2023

Finishing the tournament as the highest wicket-taker, Wanindu Hasaranga’s googlies troubled the tailenders a lot. He ended up with 22 wickets from 7 matches and will be eager to translate his form in the ICC World Cup in India. 

Hasaranga’s best outing came against UAE in the opening match where he took 6 wickets. In the next games against Oman and Ireland, he scalped five wickets each and continued his wicket-taking form throughout the tournament. 

After the opposition survived the early jitters, Maheesh Theekshana crumbled the middle and lower order with his deliveries. He had 21 wickets from 8 matches and kept his economy at only 4.03 runs per over. 

Theekshana’s four-wicket hauls against West Indies, Zimbabwe, and the Netherlands were necessary to enforce a collapse that helped Sri Lanka keep intact its record of bowling out their opposition in all the matches. 

Logan van Beek was the Netherlands’ go-to pacer in the tournament with six maiden overs to his name and 14 wickets. Two of those 14 wickets came in the super-over win over West Indies which also saw him smack 30 runs with the bat. The win kept the door ajar for the Netherlands for a World Cup spot and the win over Scotland and Zimbabwe sealed it. Zimbabwe’s Richard Ngarava was the highest wicket-taker for his nation with 14 wickets from 7 games. He would have liked to add more to his tally as the hosts fell behind in the bowling department against the other sides.