The 2022 World Cup was easily one of the best and most competitive editions in recent times. There were plenty of standout performers across all teams but only 11 can ultimately make it to the Team of the Tournament.
Reflecting the competitive nature of the tournament, players from as many as four teams made our XI, with Australia having the maximum representation with five players. Here’s our Team of the Tournament for the World Cup 2022 (picked by Akash Ghosh, Kalyani Mangale, Mohit Shah, Rupesh Kumar, and Shajin Mohanan S):
- Alyssa Healy (WK), Australia (9 innings, 509 runs, average 56.55, strike rate 103.66, two 100s, two 50s)
As has been the case in Australia’s two latest World Cup wins, the 2018 and 2020 T20 World Cups, Alyssa Healy was front and centre of their charge to the title in New Zealand. Healy was unstoppable in the knockouts and was the Player of the Match in the semi-final as well as the final. She also registered the highest score in a World Cup final with her 170 against England and also broke the record for the most runs in a single edition of the World Cup, going past New Zealand great Debbie Hockley.
- Rachael Haynes, Australia (9 innings, 497 runs, average 62.12, strike rate 82.55, one 100, three 50s)
The rock at the top of the Australian order, vice-captain Haynes has been a pillar of support to captain Meg Lanning over the years and the captain credited her after the final as one of the key drivers of the team’s culture. Haynes’ tactical acumen has been a huge strength for Australia over the years and her ability to neutralize the oppositions’ best bowlers, be it Sophie Ecclestone or Hayley Matthews, played a crucial role in Australia’s unbeaten run through the tournament. Just like in the 2013 edition, Haynes was amongst the top run getters for Australia.
- Meg Lanning (C), Australia (9 innings, 394 runs, average 56.28, strike rate 88.73, one 100, two 50s)
Lanning expertly managed a team that was full of big names and stars and her hugely successful partnership with Matthew Mott delivered yet another title for the team. Lanning was at her best yet again in chases as she was the pivot in two of the three highest successful chases in World Cup history, scoring a hundred against South Africa and falling just short of one against India. She was ruthless in the selection and her in-game captaincy was almost always on the money. She also put on a big partnership with Haynes in Australia’s very first match of the tournament against England to rescue them from a tricky situation.
- Natalie Sciver, England (9 innings, 436 runs, average 72.66, strike rate 92.96, two 100s, one 50)
Even though her bowling was not as penetrative as it has been in the past, Sciver makes this team on the back of her batting numbers alone and as a more than handy sixth-bowling option. Her singlehanded shows in the opener and in the final gave Australia plenty of headaches, she is afterall a player who always seems to reserve her best for the World Champions. Sciver only took four wickets but she played a crucial role as England’s fifth bowler in the matches where they played seven batters and her ability to score at a run a ball at will has few peers in the game.
- Beth Mooney, Australia (9 innings, 330 runs, average 110, strike rate 100.91, two 50s)
Mooney’s crisis aversion abilities are probably the best in the game and she dug Australia out of more than one precarious situation over the course of the tournament, be it stabilizing the innings against Bangladesh or upping the ante in the semis and final after the big opening partnership in both those matches. She took her usual share of spectacular catches and was dynamic in the field. Her ability to bat anywhere in the top six and field in the hotspots makes her a unique player, not to forget that she’s more than a competent wicketkeeper too.
- Harmanpreet Kaur, India (7 innings, 318 runs, average 53, strike rate 91.64, one 100, two 50s)
There were a few questions about Harmanpreet’s place in the side in the lead-up to the tournament but she was India’s best player in the World Cup, yet again stepping up in the biggest tournament as she is wont to do. She scored a dominant century against West Indies and was India’s best batter in their loss against New Zealand and arguably the player of the match in the loss against South Africa that knocked India out of the tournament. She also ended up with five catches, the most by an Indian fielder in this edition, and her energy and attitude in the field were exemplary in what was a difficult campaign for India.
- Marizanne Kapp, South Africa (8 innings, 203 runs, average 40.60, strike rate 92.27; 12 wickets, bowling average 26.25, economy rate 4.73)
Had it not been for Alyssa Healy’s centuries in the semis and final, Kapp almost certainly would have been a shoo-in for the Player of the Tournament award. With the ball, she was lethal and the beginning and end of the innings, her final overs bowling being a particular standout. She also did her best to fill in for her wife Dane van Niekerk’s absence by being South Africa’s designated finisher as well as a middle-order enforcer. Her bowling partnership with Shabnim Ismail made the team’s Powerplay and death bowling the best in the tournament and her calm head helped the team in plenty of clutch situations.
- Sophie Ecclestone, England (9 innings, 21 wickets, average 15.61, economy rate 3.83)
Ecclestone had a tough beginning and end to the tournament against the world champions Australia but she was incredible in the seven matches in between, returning figures of 65.3-12-180-20 in those for an average below 10 and an economy rate below three. She also picked up four three-wicket hauls and a six-wicket haul in the semi-final to record the best figures by an England bowler at the World Cup. She enjoyed the extra bounce in the New Zealand pitches and her high release point and quick pace meant that all teams other than Australia found her impossible to get away.
- Alana King, Australia (9 innings, 12 wickets, average 24.50, economy rate 4.52)
Had both Georgia Wareham and Sophie Molineux been fit, King would have struggled to make it to Australia’s squad of 15 for the tournament, let alone their playing XI. However, she was one of the stars of the tournament and the best wrist spinner in action as she controlled the middle overs beautifully for Australia, an area that they sometimes struggled in during the 2017 edition. Lanning turned to her almost every time Australia wanted a breakthrough and her impressive display also saw her win a central contract for the 2022-23 season.
- Shabnim Ismail, South Africa (7 innings, 14 wickets, average 17.50, economy rate 4.02)
Other bowlers may have more variations or guile, but when it comes to sheer pace with controlled aggression and hostility, Ismail is a cut above the rest. Ismail was frugal both in the Powerplay and at the end, with her well-directed bouncers leaving even the best batters in plenty of trouble. Her final overs combination of bouncers and yorkers turned the complexion of more than one game. She also showed bouncebackability as she managed to make a spirited comeback after being hit out of the attack by the young Shafali Verma in the match against India.
- Ayabonga Khaka, South Africa (7 innings, 12 wickets, average 28.08, economy rate 5.01)
The leading wicket-taker in ODIs over the last World Cup cycle, Khaka made a blistering start to the tournament and went past 100 wickets in ODIs too. Khaka was the leading wicket-taker for much of the World Cup and her ability to control the middle overs as well bowl at the death will be crucial in the team that has world-class opening bowlers and spinners. Khaka’s intelligent variations and a gamut of slower balls have confounded the best and her understanding with Ismail and Kapp makes this a fearsome pack attack.
Honourable mentions: Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Jess Jonassen, and Lea Tahuhu.