The league stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 drew to a close on Saturday with India, Australia, England and New Zealand moving forward to the semi-finals. India finished top of the points table after Australia were beaten by South Africa. With that result, and India's win over Sri Lanka, Virat Kohli and Co swapped place with Australia in the top two. In the knockouts, India will face New Zealand at Old Trafford on 9 July and Australia would square off against their Ashes rivals England at Edgbaston a day later.
Despite plenty of runs being scored by teams on flat surfaces in England, there have been some standout bowling spells at the extravaganza as well. A look at the top bowling efforts from the league stage:
Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka vs England)
With Sri Lanka making a poor start to the tournament and a weak side to worsen things, they were given little chance of beating England. Coming into the match, England had thrashed Afghanistan and posted defiant wins over Bangladesh and West Indies.
In comparison, Sri Lanka were unfortunate to see two matches washed out and two big defeats against New Zealand and Australia.
Their chances of making an impact didn't improve after they scored just 233 runs. But that is when Lasith Malinga turned the game around. He started by sending Jonny Bairstow back for a golden duck and made things tougher with the wicket of the other opener James Vince. He then got the big wickets of Joe Root and Jos Buttler to puncture England's batting completely. He finished with 4/34 from 10 overs and Sri Lanka went on to win by 20 runs. The 35-year-old picked up 13 wickets from seven matches in his final World Cup.
Jasprit Bumrah (India vs Afghanistan)
India didn't enjoy the greatest of days with the bat against Afghanistan. On a tricky surface, they were further affected by the lowest ranked team at the 10-team tournament. Bar Aftab Alam, all other Afghan bowlers proved economical with two wickets each for Gulbadin Naib and Mohammad Nabi. Virat Kohli and Kedar Jadhav scored half centuries to take India to 224 while batting first.
In reply, Afghanistan were going strong until Jasprit Bumrah picked up two wickets - Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi - in one over to send two set batsmen into the pavillion. Even as Mohammed Shami stole the limelight with a last over hat-trick, it was Bumrah's spell which turned the tide in India's favour. He's picked 17 wickets from nine matches at an economy rate of 4.48 to justify his usefulness in taking wickets and containing runs.
Mitchell Starc (Australia vs New Zealand)
Mitchell Starc has been impeccable for Australia in the World Cup. With 26 wickets from nine matches, he posted his best figures of 5/26 against neighbours New Zealand. His 26 wickets has equalled legendary Glenn McGrath's record of most wickets in a single edition.
Batting first at Lord's, only five Aussie batsmen reached double digits with fifties for Usman Khawaja and Alex Carey. Trent Boult picked up four wickets to stop Australia at 243.
With New Zealand chasing 244 runs to win, Starc picked up two wickets in the middle to send Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson and Tom Latham back. He then denied any hopes by running through the tail in Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi and Lockie Ferguson.
Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan vs Bangladesh)
Shaheen Afridi had already highlighted his talent and abilities. But he took it up a notch on the grand scale for the world to notice. Enough for Pakistan legend and former seamer Wasim Akram to say, "Definitely, Shaheen is one for the future, a beacon of light for the next generation of fast bowlers."
The teenager recorded Pakistan's best-ever World Cup bowling figures with a spell of 6/35 in Pakistan's win over Bangladesh. He became the youngest player to take a five-wicket haul at the World Cup at 19 years and 90 days.
In a must-win game and plenty of luck required to make the semis, Pakistan batted first and scored 315 runs with century from Imam-ul-Haq and 96 from Babar Azam.
With their batting total falling short of the required mark, Pakistan were already out of contention but looked to go out on a high. Enter Shaheen. The left-arm seamer got the big wicket of Shakib Al Hasan to go with an early scalp of Tamim Iqbal. He also sent set Liton Das and Mahmudullah back to the pavillion. With win looking improbable, Shaheen picked two wickets of the lower order to get the job done.
Shaheen finished the tournament with 16 wickets in five games.
Jofra Archer (England vs South Africa)
Jofra Archer had come into the England squad after playing few games against Pakistan but enough promise to make an impact. And he delivered in the first match itself. With varying pace and bounce on display, he made life difficult for multiple teams in the league stage - including India. With three-wicket hauls in five matches out of nine, Archer boasts of 17 wickets from the early part of the tournament.
In the tournament opener against South Africa, Archer dismantled the Proteas middle order with wickets of Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen. His final numbers: 3/27 in seven overs.
Mohammad Amir (Pakistan vs Australia)
Besides Shaheen, another Pakistani seamer in Mohammad Amir recorded one of the best bowling figures of the group stage. His 5/30 against Australia wasn't good enough for the win in the end but it was pivotal in containing the once-flying Australian batting.
With Aaron Finch and David Warner at the top, Australia were off to a flier with 146 runs coming from 22 overs. Amir then got rid of Finch for a welcome breakthrough. The seamer then ensured no late flourish with wickets of Shaun Marsh, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Starc to see Australia go from 288/7 to 307 all out.
Mitchell Starc (Australia vs England)
Starc improved on his World Cup tally with a four-wicket spell against Ashes rivals England at Lord's. In what promised to be a cracker, Australia's bowlers - Jason Behrendorff (5/44) and Starc (4/43) - made it into a big mismatch in the 64 run win.
With Australia batting first, Finch scored a century with a fifty from Warner at the top. In the end, Australia scored 285/7 to hand England a stiff target.
Behrendorff and Starc shared nine wickets between them with Marcus Stoinis the other to take a wicket. With Behrendorff getting rid of Vince, Starc joined in with wickets of Root and Eoin Morgan. With no one in support, Ben Stokes took it upon himself before Starc bowled him out and end England's chances for good.
Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan vs Pakistan)
Afghanistan's slender and heartbreaking defeat to Pakistan was dominated by crowd trouble and Naib's decision to bring himself to bowl in the 46th over. The decision proved costly as he went for easy runs and made Pakistan's chase of 228 runs much easier.
But Pakistan were not always going to get it so easily. It was Mohammad Nabi who kept Pakistan under check. With the wickets of Imam-ul-Haq and Azam in a space of nine balls, Pakistan were wobbling at 81/3. Additionally, figures of 2/23 ensured an economic outlay as well. But it was all for nought in the end as Afghanistan finished the tournament without a win.